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“I’ll tell you something else: The Aggies are going to kick the ever living shit out of that other A&M from Prairie View on the football field this Saturday.”

Timothy Hurst/ The Eagle
Timothy Hurst/ The Eagle

John Swarthmore, Texas A&M Class of 1965

Trash-talking has always been an integral part of the game when teams at all levels of competition face each other.  It doesn’t matter what type of business venture or athletic event the participants partake in; trash-talking has developed into a genre of its own.  I can’t exactly pinpoint where it all began, but I can assume it goes back to prehistoric man and his homeboys.

As soon as Homo sapiens discovered that another species of man (the Neanderthals) existed on this planet, talking shit evolved from grunts and moans to lyrically tuned insults and literary fisticuffs.  Crawling around on all fours in the caves of the Caucasus Mountains in Northwest Europe was a motley crew of “Flintstones” who had not quite evolved into Homo erectus, the scientific term for early humans who stood upright and walked on two feet.  They weren’t invited to any of the trash-talking festivities because they had not yet become “human”.  They were still considered hominids or “animals”. Over a period of time, trash-talking incorporated “guidelines”.  Some were official, others unofficial. It wasn’t cool to talk trash about other people’s mommas, children, and pastors.  Nor was it common practice to criticize the government or the president.  I guess our founding fathers knew what they were doing when they slipped that “freedom of speech” thingy into the Constitution knowing that in other countries you could end up dead, castrated, or have your tongued ripped out of yo mouth.  Thank God we don’t have to worry about that now.  Many people are guilty of crossing those lines…

A few days before Prairie View A&M University and Texas A&M University met in a historic football game,  a 1965 graduate of TAMU decided he would take a trash-talking swipe at our football team AND our award winning “Marching Storm” Band.  Here is what he said:

“I’ll tell you something else: The Aggies are going to kick the ever living shit out of that other A&M from Prairie View on the football field this Saturday.” What I’m worried about is this godless music that we may be forced to listen to at halftime. Sit down? Hell, I’m gonna leave the county and return for the 4th quarter. Musically speaking, pop-music died right after The Ballad of the Green Berets was released. Right then and there. That’s as edgy as any band needs to get.”

You know what we don’t need on a football field? Dancing. Period. I don’t care if you have these so-called drum-majors hootin and a hollerin up a storm, drawing attention to themselves like they’re even playing an instrument. For God’s sake, the band just stands and jiggles their bodies to the music behind them like they’re having some kind of seizure. First time I saw it, I almost called the paramedics.   It’s like their so-called band doesn’t understand precision. It’s like music to them is evolving. I don’t believe in evolution in any sense of the word, so what these people are doing is blasphemy, pure and simple. Marching isn’t some field-party, it’s war.  Don’t get me started on cheerleaders.”

  When I first read this, I said to myself that this had to be satire.  Why would a 1965 graduate of the oldest institution of higher learning in Texas diss the second oldest institution of higher learning in Texas days before they would meet on the football field for the first time EVER in the 140 year history of both universities?  I understand trash talk.  I understand talking shit.  What I don’t understand, however, is how a seventy year old man can fix his lips to come after a HBCU, its football team, and its band. He doesn’t know us LIKE THAT.   Then, it suddenly hit me!  We’re still waiting for this Neanderthal to evolve. 

Timothy Hurst / The Eagle


Defeating our football team wasn’t hard.  TAMU reportedly had 95 players on scholarship on their sidelines.  In contrast, PVAMU only had 60.  I can go into all of the advantages that a humongous school like theirs could have on our tiny HBCU, but I won’t waste my time. Nor, will I go ballistic on his satirical ass because I don’t want to embarrass a sister school of the Texas A&M University System.  Let me tell you why:

Many of the PVAMU faithful travelled up Highway 6 to Kyle Field for the first time ever.  We didn’t know what to expect once we got there.  It wasn’t that long ago when African-American graduates of Texas A&M were known as “Naggies” (Nigger-Aggies) by “regular” Aggies who didn’t want to address us as a true part of their “family”.   A few years back, a fraternity on the College Station campus poked fun at the Dr. Martin Luther King holiday by inviting members and the public over for “fried chicken”, “watermelon”, and “Kool-Aid”; the type of shit that black folk don’t find funny.   Therefore, we weren’t sure if Mr. Swarthmore’s article was just good ole trash-talking or a by-product of Texas A&M’s past.  

As it turned out, our football team lost badly, but our band performed well.  The PVAMU faithful expected both.  We weren’t looking through maroon-colored glasses.  But unlike Mr. Swarthmore, the rest of the TAMU faithful treated us kindly.  They were extremely polite and many of them stayed and talked with us for long periods after the game.  They made us feel like a part of the System Family.  We really enjoyed ourselves in spite of the ass-whupping they gave our team.  Needless to say, we have 500,000 reasons to return again next year.  We’ll be a lot better…

In closing, each year archaeologists and other scientists happen to stumble upon ancient relics of the past.  Every now and then they realize that some things have little value and should remain buried.  John Swarthmore, TAMU class of 1965, is a prime example of one of them.

God bless, goodnight, and keep yo  families together.