Aggie Spirit 101 opens with a good old Texas A&M University “Howdy!” from author Barry Bauerschlag. A second generation Aggie, the author spent 40 years as a pastor and now serves as a volunteer chaplain to Aggie students. His book effectively blends school spirit and spiritual issues as he explains the Aggie traditions and compares them to biblical principles.
Aggie Spirit 101 might be described as a handbook for new students and could also be used for group study. At the same time, the book borders on memoir as the author shares personal stories and includes pages of family photos related to the Aggie experience.
The book is organized into eight main chapters, each ending with discussion questions. For example, Chapter 3, “Christian Hospitality and ‘Howdy,’” explains that freshmen (“fish”) are expected to get to know everyone in their dorm. Bauerschlag writes: “This traditional ritual was called ‘whipping out.’ We would whip out our right hand, and as we firmly shook hands, tell the other person our name.” He provides scripture supporting hospitality to honor God, such as, “Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God” (Romans 15:7). Discussion questions revolve around hospitality in both personal and spiritual realms.
The last part of Aggie Spirit 101 begins with an Afterword, which introduces a section of songs and annotates a list of appendices, A-Q. These appendices include prayers, meeting formats, Christian parenting, Aggie recipes, etc. Unfortunately, the appendices themselves are not in the order described in the Afterword, and while the last appendix speaks of the Aggie memorial poem, “The Last Corps Trip,” which Bauerschlag indicates will follow, it’s missing from the page in what seems to be a typographical glitch.
With the exception of such issues, the book is well written and organized, as Bauerschlag skillfully combines Aggie traditions with biblical teaching. Overall, Aggie Spirit 101 is bound to please students, alumni, and sports fans of Texas A&M.
Also available in hardcover.