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A SOFT CALL...HEARD CLEARLY
Aggies can Muster as 2, 10 or 10,000--
but the strength of this tradition remains the same
by Will Johnson
12th Man Productions
Just before August camp of 2013, Terry Price gathered his defensive linemen for a cookout at his College Station home.
He’s done this on several occasions.
By Aggie definition, this is a Muster -- when two or more students, or former students, gather to enjoy one another and swap stories. But, this get-together was much different.
Only a day prior, the group had learned of the passing of teammate Polo Manukainiu from a car accident.
- DL Julien Obioha
“It was a tough day when it happened. It’s still a tough day,” said Price on that July evening in his backyard. “You think about it all the time. It’s a solemn reminder to enjoy the time you can with each other.”
“He was a big part of the family,” teammate Alonzo Williams said from the Price residence. “He always kept a smile on his face, and always brought joy to people. This is a time everybody needs to be together so everyone can comfort each other.”
On Monday, Aggies around the world will gather and remember those who have passed. Musters will take place in-state, across the US and even in foreign countries. This cherished tradition gives the 12th Man an opportunity to celebrate the lives of their fellow Aggies. The Roll Call will be read, and families will answer ‘here’ for their Aggie, knowing his or her spirit always remains with this University.
Polo’s name will be read on campus, at the Reed Arena Muster, the largest gathering of them all.
“Texas A&M is one of a kind with its traditions,” defensive lineman Julien Obioha said. “Muster is just another way that this University is so great. A lot of universities don’t do that. Muster is another great tradition we have, and it gives us another way to honor Polo.”
Unfortunately, Polo isn’t the only recent passing the football program has had to endure. Joey Villavisencio, also from a car accident, left the Aggies far too soon. Luke Joeckel lost a friend and teammate, and recently gave high praise for this event that tributes the fallen.
“That’s probably A&M’s greatest tradition, giving respect to those we’ve just lost,” says Joeckel. “Those people made such an impact on so many people’s lives, and the honor you give back to them means a lot to their families, and those that were close to them.”
The saying asks Aggies to “softly call the Muster”. Yet this tradition speaks volumes about this University.
It clearly states that the life of every Aggie is cherished by his or her fellow students, even after they are gone.
The code on this campus says “Aggies don’t lie, cheat or steal”.
They don’t forget either.
Time passes. Students become former students. Many move on to careers and lives outside of College Station.
But the bonds and spirit of Texas A&M never fade.
No matter if it’s a backyard barbecue, or thousands in an arena, Aggie Muster makes sure of that.