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That Good Ole Baylor (Time)Line: The 45 Year History of One of Baylor's Proudest Traditions

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports



The Line is one of my favorite Baylor traditions. I ran every game my freshman year (2013) and saw every home game in 2014 and the Baylor Line is no doubt special. So special that it's been imitated (looking at you UTSA). Unfortunately, not a whole lot of people know about the history of the Baylor Line and how it came to be. I don't know much about how it came to be either. But I've done a wee bit of research through some past editions of the Baylor Lariat and found a few very interesting pieces from throughout the years. I'll be placing them below and dropping in some historical tidbits I've found other places in the interwebs that I couldn't find articles for. The images and articles are not my own. Enjoy, y'all,

1970

The Baylor Line started in 1970 as a spirit organization exclusively for men...Freshmen can join the Baylor Line or Sideline, two groups created to promote spirit and inspire the team. The Baylor Line is an organization for freshmen men formed in 1970 and sponsored by the Baylor Chamber of Commerce. Members of The Baylor Line arrive early at each game wearing their jerseys and circle the field to fire up Baylor fans. As the team comes on the field, the freshmen form a line for the team to run through. Line members also are responsible for the traditional card section at halftime during home games and the Homecoming bonfire.

1971

The Sideline, chartered in 1971, is a freshmen women's spirit organization sponsored by the service organization, Angel Flight. "The purpose is to help get spirit and keep it going," Haysal Coleman, 1986 sponsor, said. "It helps the girls feel they're helping." The members of The Sideline sit in the card section at the football games, make the banner that the alumni run through and have football buddies. Membership is open to all freshmen women. "The number of girls fluctuates, but we usually have around 300," Coleman, a senior from Humble, said. Dues are about $18. The jersey is $9 and the remaining $9 goes into the organization's account. Meetings are every other week in the fall and are run by the sponsor, who is a member of Angel Flight. Other officers include a decorations chairman, banner chariman and homecoming chairman. Coleman said that as a member, she "learned more about the football system and met some of the players." She also said that being in The Sideline was rewarding because the committees teach members organizational skills. Another group that works closely with The Sideline is the Baylor Line. The Baylor Line, chartered in 1970, is a freshman men's spirit organization. The Baylor Line holds a meeting in the beginning of the fall semester at which they select a president and buy T-shirts. This organization also sits in the card section at the football games. At the beginning of each game, the Baylor football team runs onto the field through two lines made up of Baylor Line members. "The yell leaders wanted us to be noisy and help lead cheers," Mike Salley, a Baylor Line member said.

1974

To lower classmen, the Baylor Line means a spirit club. The club for freshmen men was chartered in 1970 and is sponsored by the head yell leader. It was organized to support the original Baylor Line, the football team. With a current membership of 250, meeting twice weekly in preparation for Homecoming, the club is especially visible. The members, with their fellow classmates, organize and man the barricades, build and ignite the bonfire with the eternal flame and decorate the stadium with huge signs supporting the Bears. "The Baylor Line" seems to be all encompassing and to run in a cycle. It means a football game with the stands full of Baylor fans glowing with the hope of victory; it means standing and singing at the top of your lungs, with moist eyes at every pep rally and football game; it means reading about your favorite professor who finally moved into a new office or discovering that your freshman boyfriend just became a father for the third time; and it means yells, signs, barricades, Aggie sticks, and lots of tired but excited freshmen who are just beginning to learn about "That Good Old Baylor Line."

Little bit of beef between the Lariat and the Baylor Line in 1984. Good Stuff.

While most of us were enjoying leftover turkey sandwiches on Saturday, the Baylor Bears made turkeys out of the Longhorns, dashing Texas' hopes of a return to the Cotton Bowl with a stunning 24-10 victory. The Bears played with intensity and persistence that was not seen in earlier games this year. Instead of letting a fourth-quarter lead slip away through their fingertips, their determination held strong and allowed them to finally come away with a decisive victory over a nationally-ranked team. The Bears deserve to be congratulated time and time again, for they played throughout the season without the traditional student support. Baylor students have not been known for their undying support of their team: Attending the games has been more of a social commitment instead of a commitment to supporting the Bears. Complaints have been directed at the Baylor Line for being unorganized this season; they lack the usual fervor for the team. Their absence is understandable for the Texas game, but where was the Line at our 75th Homecoming? The word is they were too dressed up to run out on the field. "(In) our Homecoming game, even though the guys were all dressed up with their dates and all, we brought the jerseys and changed before the game, ran around the field like always, then changed out of the jerseys," Todd Klempnauer, a Fort Worth senior and 1981 president of the Baylor Line, said recently. The freshman spirit was again questionable during the building of the bonfire. At first it appeared they were going to stop five feet short of the bonfire pole. When it was mentioned that they were supposed to build up to the top, if not over, the freshmen revamped their thinking and added a few feet to the bonfire. But it still fell short of traditional expectations. "If they are not fired up for Homecoming their freshmen year, then where are they going to be three years down the road?" Klempnauer asked. This editorial is not directed only at the freshmen, for they cannot be expected to maintain their level of excitement throughout the year, but in the Baylor Line's case: where was the guidance from the Chamber of Commerce, which supervises the Line? The obvious lack of organization began with Chamber, for the freshmen have only Chamber to provide the "traditional expectations." No members of the Chamber were available for comment, nor was the president of the Baylor Line. Klempnauer mentioned that as men's fall rush begins, the interest in the Line falls aside; students are more interested in making a good impression on the fraternity of their choice, instead of following through with their earlier commitment. But the bottom line is this: Tradition is tradition, and it can only be tradition when people have ^^^^^^^™""~^^— a commitment to it. The Baylor Line is just one of Baylor's many traditions, and the obvious lack of spirit should bother not only the faculty and the alumni who sit across the field, and who have questioned the spirit of the Line, but also the students who make their home here for four years. Some day we will graduate, return and look for the old familiar sights. The Baylor Line, along with the Yell Leaders, the band, the players, the students, have a commitment to carry through Baylor traditions — the rasponsibility is ours. If the Baylor community does not show an interest in continuity of Baylor spirit now — this year — where will the traditions be "down the road"? Baylor students take pride in their school and its customs, or they did until recently. This is not to question their spirit, but more to question their commitment. The responsibility rests with this year's freshman class. It is they who will pass on the traditions to the next freshman class, who will then pass them on to the next incoming class. Baylor students say they have pride in their school —- The Lariat challenges them to carry on that pride, and be a better example than this year's Baylor Line

Response from a Baylor Line Member:

Since no member of this year's Baylor Line was given a say in the Nov. 27 one-sided Lariat editorial concerning the so-called "lack of spirit" of the Baylor Line and the freshman class, I would like to voice my opinion now. First of all, how could The Lariat fail to reach Scott Gann, the Baylor Line president, or any one of 54 Baylor Chamber of Commerce members for comment? This raises the question of the competency and reporting abilities of The Lariat reporters. Such one-sided reporting is a disgrace to Baylor. The editorial portrayed the Baylor Line as lacking in spirit and letting down on traditions. That seems odd to me, because the Line participated in every tradition possible and even started a new tradition — the Baylor Line assembling as a spirit-leading group at the on-campus pep rallies. How can the Line be criticized when our role models, the upperclassmen, show less support and participation in spirit activities than the freshman class itself? The article also blames this year's Line as the sudden break in the trend of wonderful spirit generated in the years past. If so, why was Todd Klempnauer, the '81 Line president, quoted instead of a more recent president? In regard to The Lariat's opinion of how the Baylor Line tried to cop out on building the bonfire all the way to the top of the pole, Scott Gann, the Baylor Line president, was appalled. "Of course it appeared that we were going to quit five feet from the top, when we were unfinished and still working like busy beavers with undying fervor," Gann said. "Anyone who attended the bonfire ceremony knew the wood went all the way to the pig's dangling tongue, which was even higher than the top of the pole." This is just another example of a group finding a scapegoat in which to blame their problems on. It is clear that the Baylor Line and Chamber of Commerce are not the only cause of Baylor's lack of spirit, if there indeed is a lack. I would hope that in the future, the critics of Baylor's spirit and participation could place the blame on a more appropriate group — the whole student body, instead of just a few organizations. I wonder if the editor of The Lariat ever attended any of this year's all-campus pep rallies. David Moore Business Administration, '88

This isn't exactly Line related but too interesting not to put here. Tidbit about the Golden Wave Band and a cold game in 1991.

The grunts of the football team, the roar of the crowd, the shrill blast of a referee's whistle, and the Baylor University Golden Wave Band...singing. Tha t is correct, the Baylor band singing. As the temperature dropped from 29 to 15 degrees during last week's Arkansas game, many band members found it impossible even to hold their instruments by the fourth quarter. Thus, instead of playing the traditional fight songs, they sang them. "We knew it was going to be cold in Arkansas, " said Rich Cook, a junior baritone player from Colorado, "but we did not know that it was going to be freezing and snowing until we got there." Most of the band members traveled to Arkansas without gloves or other protection from the cold, while some borrowed the blankets from the beds of the hotel rooms where they stayed. Some college bands, such as Arkansas, have thin , white gloves as part of their uniforms, but the Baylor band does not because games are usually played in warm weather where the gloves would be hot and sweaty. One of the main problems caused by the cold weather was that the brass instruments began to freeze. The trombone slides were frozen and would not move. The trumpets, whose three valves enable more than four notes to be played, were frozen and could not be pressed down to change notes. Some band members conducted scientific experiments and concluded that it takes a brass instrument approximately 7 minute s to freeze in 15 degree weather. "The instruments were frozen, nobody could play, so we sang," said Drum Major Craig Murray. Another reason for singing was the fear of placing the cold mouthpiece of the instrument to one's mout h and creating a "popsicle effect". This effect occurs when a cold item, often a popsicle or any metal object, is placed to a person's tongue or lips and it becomes attached and hard to remove without stripping a layer of skin and causing excruciating pain. A third reason the band sang was the fact that after halftime, few members desired to touch their instruments. Like the postman, the Baylor band marches through all kinds of weather, and for the Arkansas game, that meant holding a cold, brass object with bare hands for about 12 minutes in 15 degree weather. All came off the field in pain, several in tears, as fingers already numbed by the cold began to stiffen an d become un - movable. After several members returned to the metal bleachers from either the first aid station or the snack bar, the band's enthusiasm remained undaunted as they sang such spirit tunes as "The Saints " and cheered in support of the team. As the game concluded , the band again picked up their instruments and played "Saint's Fight " and "That Good Old Baylor Line" as the green and gold uniforms stood out boldly against the snow-white background.

1993

When sponsors of the freshman organization Sidelines returned to Baylor this fall, they were surprised to discover the organization had been dissolved over the summer without their knowledge. Sidelines, an organization traditionally comprised of females, supports the Baylor football team. Freshmen adopt football players and show support for the team by undertaking projects such as decorating the locker rooms and cafeterias and making things for players. Over the summer, the Student Activities Board decided to dissolve the organization unless it was rechartered as a coed group. But Eileen Martinez, co-chairwoman of Sidelines, said she did not realize the organization had been cut. Martinez, a sophomore from San Antonio, said, "Sidelines was supposed to be dissolved, but we never knew." In fact, both Martinez and co-chairwoman Susan Dea, a Southlake sophomore, continued to plan and publicize the first fall meeting. When they realized Sidelines had been dissolved, they decided to re-charter the organization according to Student Activity Board guidelines. But by then most students had heard that Sidelines no longer existed. "I think it's a great chance to meet new people. It is also a good way to cheer-on the Bears." Jennifer Sinclair Collinsville Freshman Dea said, "We had about 10 girls at the first meeting — down from 300 last year." She said most of the girls that traditionally join Sidelines had gone to The Baylor Line meeting. "Right now we have about 30 that come," she added. Desiree McConnell, a Houston fresh- ______ _ man and president of Sidelines, said the primary difference between Sidelines and The Baylor Line is that Sidelines has more direct contact with the football players, whereas The Baylor Line is mostly a spirit organization, having most of its contact at the games. Jennifer Sinclair, a freshman from Collinsville, said she has enjoyed being in Sidelines. "I think it's a great chance to meet new people. I came from a small town and knew no one before coming here. It is also a good way to cheer-on the Bears," Sinclair said. Although Martinez and Dea are a little discouraged that numbers are low, they are excited that Sidelines is still around. Martinez said, "It might be an off year, but at least the organization gets to continue. It's a good experience for the new students, and you only get to be a freshman once." Students interested in Sidelines are encouraged to attend the next meeting, at 6:30 Monday in front of Judge Baylor. Dues are $25, which includes the price of a T-shirt.

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In 1995 there was an incident with a band member that changed the way the Line was run.

Incident:

Before the kickoff of the BaylorMississippi State football game last Saturday, drum major Ruben Martinez, an EI Paso senior, was knocked off a six-foot platform by members of the Baylor Line spirit team. He was taken off the field and admitted to Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center. He suffered a sprained neck. "When I'm major, I didn't expect quite so much adventure," Martinez said. "I never thought the position would be dangerous." Jerry Luckhardt, director of the Baylor University Golden Wave Band, said he did not believe there was any intentional malice on the part of the Baylor Line members. "I believe in all sincerity that it was an accident. 1 don't believe there was anything vindictive involved," Luckhardt said. He will meet with coordinators of the Baylor Line today to prevent such incidents from occurring in the future. "I have no regret towards (the Baylor Line) it was an accident," Martinez said. "I know it will be resolved." Tom Stanton, director of marketing and promotion for the athletic department, said cooperative efforts between the Baylor Line and the athletic department have been undertaken to prevent accidents from occurring at future games and to insure active student participation continues. "We have established game day meetings to be constantly assessing every aspect of the process," Stanton said. "We don't want to limit participation. We need to always insure the safety of those involved," he said. Stanton said there was a Baylor Line member who broke her arm at Saturday's game jumping over the gate onto the field. He did not have her name. Merrick Matthews, coordinator of the Baylor Line at the Chamber of Commerce, refused to comment on the incident.

Response:

As a result of the Baylor University Golden Wave Band's drum major being knocked off the platform at the first home football game, the Baylor Line will now follow new safety procedures to prevent further accidents from occurring. A Baylor Line meeting will take place at 6 p.m. tonight at the Floyd Casey Athletic Complex to discuss and practice the new policies. After several meetings, representatives from the band, Student Activities, the athletic department and the Baylor Line reached an agreement on new guidelines to be implemented during home football games. Despite the incident, the Baylor Line will continue the tradition of running around the field. However, they will exit the stands in an orderly fashion and attempt to carefully maneuver around all ladders and podiums on the field, according to Dub Oliver, director of student activities. "We want to keep the tradition of student involvement in athletic activities while ensuring students' safety," Oliver said. The accident occurred when a hearing and sight-impaired member of the Baylor Line became disoriented with all the action happening around her. "It was a complete accident. She felt horrible about it," Oliver said. Jerry Luckhardt, director of the band, said he is happy with the outcome of the meeting. "It ensures everyone's safety—the Baylor Line as well as those on the field," Luckhardt said. The drum major, Ruben Martinez, was bruised and shaken up from the fall. According to Luckhardt, Martinez was on the stand at the end of last Saturday's game. "He's been very active, and I think this Saturday will be helpful to him," Luckhardt said. Oliver said although the new policies should prevent further injuries, there is always some degree of risk. "We hope we can preserve everyone's safety while preserving tradition as well," he said.

Response 2:

The Baylor Line, a freshmen spirit organization, has recently experienced changes in its traditional pregame routine due to an incident due to an incident before the first game where a student was injured. The Baylor Line was traditionally allowed to run around the entire football field and then form a tunnel for the football's team's entrance onto the field. After the team entered, the Baylor Line entered the stands. However, during the Baylor Line's run prior to the first game, one of the Baylor University Golden Wave Band's drum majors was knocked off his platform and injured. Due to this incident, last weekend the Baylor Line began a new tradition. "We changed some things pretty dramatically in the Baylor Line," Dee Ann Duke, assistant director of athletic marketing, said. The Baylor Line will now walk the first half of its trip around the field and run its second half. After the run, the Baylor Line will immediately enter the stands, Duke said. "We aren't trying to kill a tradition. We want to keep the Baylor Line involved," she said. "They are very important to us. 1 can't emphasize that enough." The original tradition of the Baylor Line was not to run around the field but completely encircle it. The students only began running around it 15 years ago, Duke said. Jeff Semple, a freshman from Paris and president of the Baylor Line, said the changes are fine with him. "The changes they made weren't too dramatic, but I wish we could still run the whole way," he said. "Under the circumstances, what they did was understandable." President Robert B. Sloan Jr. said he supports the spirit organization. = "I think it is a wonderfu l organization. It not only provides tradition, but it also provides wonderful support for the athletes," he said. Sloan is hopeful the changes will do several things. "One plus I hope to see is a stronger sense of support between the Baylor Line and alumni. My hope is that students can slowly get the alumni on their feet and get them involved," he said. When the students end their walk and began their run, it should be like an explosion, and all the alumni should be on their feet cheering with the Baylor Line for the football team, Sloan said. Although the changes are due to an unfortunate incident, the potential problem can be made into a great strength, he said. The inevitable change should not lessen the Line's involvement. "We'd like for them to all be involved. We'd like to see the whole Baylor Line get out of the stands and show its support," Duke said.

1998

"The jersey colors of the Line were originally rotated between green in odd numbered years and gold in even numbered years through 1998 (class of 2002). This changed to green every year until around 2001, when in the interest of having a more substantial looking student section the decision was made to use gold every year. The green jerseys are now used for members of the Baylor University Chamber of Commerce who lead the Baylor Line in chants; these jerseys have "CC" on the back instead of a graduation year." - Wikipedia

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Lord.Hinton out

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