September 3, 2008
Written by Cory ChandlerEvery football game, they're out there on the field, as much a part of pregame ceremonies as the Goin' Band, the Masked Rider and maybe the team itself. Jonathan Merritt, serving his second term as president of the Saddle Tramps, talks about what it's like to form a bell circle in the middle of the field and get a stadium full of fans screaming for the game. When do we start running? After the Masked Rider is off, we wait for every team member to clear the tunnel. You can't see all that well because of the smoke and chaos down there, but once we think that everyone's gone, we just take off. We get our thing going. Running out there in front of 50,000-plus, there's nothing you can compare it to - nothing like it in the world. The energy: once we form the circle, it's amazing. You're feeding off the guy next to you; you're feeding off the fans - 50,000 people in the stands and our goal is to get them screaming with us. You're a little nervous for that first Go, Tech, Go - you want to make sure you're on cue. But once the crowd gets involved, it's just, wow ... you're all jazzed up and the rest of the chants are so easy. You're ready to go. It's a high like you don't feel again until the end of the game - until we win. Absolute excitement: that's the only way I can describe it. See, when you're in the stands, you can hear the people next to you, maybe the people around you. But down on the field, you can hear the crowd from all angles. It's so loud. Just amazing. Each time, I'm overwhelmed with a sense of pride for the university; just knowing you're a part of that - maybe in the smallest way - but you're a part of it, you have such a tie to Texas Tech. What's your story? Contact Cory Chandler Photo by Artie Limmer.