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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
A&M System’s Title IX director suspended after supporting Biden's Title IX changes
Nicholas Gutteridge, Managing Editor • May 23, 2024
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Texas A&M pitcher Evan Aschenbeck (53) reacts after throwing the final strike out during Texas A&M’s game against Mississippi State on Saturday, March 23, 2024, at Olsen Field. (Chris Swann/ The Battalion)
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Beekeeper Shelby Dittman scoops bees back into their hive during a visit on Friday, April 5, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
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Shalina Sabih, Sports Writer • May 1, 2024

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Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Maroon and burnt orange: clashing or complementary?

The+Main+Building+at+the+University+of+Texas%2C+lit+orange+at+night.
via tower.utexas.edu

The Main Building at the University of Texas, lit orange at night.

As every former student of Texas A&M University will attest, it can be hard not to reminisce about one’s time as a student in Aggieland with fond memories and heartfelt sentimentality. Most often, these moments of reflection are easy to anticipate before they actually bubble to the surface. Other times, however, they hit you out of nowhere — like when you’re sitting on a cold metal bench in the pouring rain, deep in the heart of Longhorn territory.
For the latter half of my all-too-short tenure at A&M, I had the amazing privilege of serving as a sports editor for The Battalion. During my time managing what has recently been deemed the best Sports Section in the country, I covered events that most fans of the maroon and white only dream of attending, including the hiring of an eventual College World Series-semifinalist coach, the storming of Kyle Field after an upset over then-No. 1 Alabama Football and the introduction of NIL to the already-hectic world of collegiate athletics. But before that, however, I spent a semester covering my first true love: the Fightin’ Texas Aggie soccer team and its historic run to the NCAA Tournament Elite 8 in the spring of 2021. My first-ever story published in any newspaper was a recap of the team’s 1-0 exhibition victory over North Texas, and head coach G Gurrieri and his squad have held a special place in my heart ever since.
So, when it was announced that the Aggies would kick off their 2022 NCAA Tournament run against the No. 16 Texas Longhorns, I was ecstatic. After all, what loud and proud A&M graduate wouldn’t leap at the opportunity to saw Varsity’s horns off—and in Austin, no less?
Well, there’s a catch, and as much as I’d like to avoid disclosing this part of my background and identity in fear of crucifixion for treason at the hands of Old Army purists, I suppose journalistic standards of honesty and ethics require me to disclose everything: the good, the bad and the ugly.
A few months ago, I moved to Austin and began pursuing my J.D. at The University of Texas School of Law. While I was initially terrified at the thought of being a speck of maroon lost in a sea of burnt orange, I ultimately took the leap of faith, and I have yet to look back.
Which brings me back to today — right now — on the aforementioned cold, metal bench in the aforementioned pouring rain, deep in the heart of the aforementioned Longhorn territory. But instead of wearing nothing but Aggie gear, like most of you readers probably assumed, I’m repping two different schools. My A&M hat and Aggie Ring, paired with my Longhorn sweatshirt, certainly make for a peculiar sight. It’s this duality, the dichotomous joining of two rival allegiances, that triggered such an emotional response within myself so as to prompt the writing of this article.
For the first time since starting my academic career at A&M all those years ago, I’m acutely aware of another fanbase beyond the 12th Man. On the north end of Mike A. Myers Stadium, Aggies filled the stands with a chorus of self-led yells, faithfully standing until the clock hit zero. Opposite the College Station faithful, a hometown crowd bolstered by echoes of The Eyes of Texas cheered on the ultimate winners of the evening. Though different in their school colors, traditions and mascots, there’s a case to be made that maybe — maybe — the two crowds aren’t so different.
I’m thankful to be in a position today where I can learn from both sides.
Now, that’s not to say that it doesn’t hurt, as an Aggie fan, to see my “first true love” end their season with a 3-1 loss and a 9-7-5 record. If I had it my way, A&M would beat Texas in the NCAA Championship in December, preferably in a high-stakes, penalty-kick shootout after a slugfest-filled double overtime. But since that didn’t happen this time around, I’m forced to use the Aggies’ loss as an opportunity for an introspective look into who I am, where I’m going and how A&M set me on that path.
So yes, I’m one of the loudest and proudest A&M graduates west of the Brazos River. But I’m also a Longhorn and newfound resident of the Forty Acres. My hope is that, one day, I fall as deeply in love with Austin and the University of Texas as I did with College Station and A&M. Until then, however, I’m going to keep looking for both the similarities and the differences between the clashing universities. Who knows, maybe the rivals could learn a thing or two from each other as well.
And the next time the two schools play each other in any sport under the sun? You can bet your Aggie Ring that I’ll be there, cheering loudly for both sides.
Editor’s Note: Ryan Faulkner, Class of 2023, is a Texas A&M Former Student and a former sports editor for The Battalion. He is now a member of The University of Texas School of Law Class of 2025.

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