Discouraged fans put hope in the hex

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The same red candle that has illuminated the Main Mall during hex rallies for more than 20 years lit the night for about 2,000 students at this year’s event on Monday. The Texas Exes student chapter hosted the annual Hex Rally preceding the Texas A&M game. This is the 25th anniversary of the rally, and students gathered to light red candles to hex the Aggies, said finance and advertising senior Valerie Nguyen, president of the Texas Exes student chapter. “Seeing 2,000 people with red candles is a really powerful image,” she said. “Everyone is really crazy about Texas football, and it’s really cool to see that manifest itself.” The rally started when UT students, frustrated by an 18-year losing streak against A&M, approached a local fortune teller in 1941 and asked her what the outcome of their game against the Aggies would be, Nguyen said. The fortune teller told them lighting red candles and singing the Eyes of Texas three times would ensure a Longhorn victory — and UT won that game, she said. After the ’60s, students discontinued the rallies as a form of rebellion against school tradition. The then-Spirit and Traditions Board established an official UT Hex Rally, which has been held on the Main Mall ever since, said Jim Nicar, director of campus relations for the Texas Exes. “The Hex Rally has created a sense of community,” said Nicar, who has been to all 25 rallies. “Not only do you get to show your Longhorn spirit, you get to be a part of something on this campus.” This season, the Longhorns have won five out of 11 games. This discouraging season should only spur Longhorn fans to get more excited for the Hex Rally, said Taylor Nyberg, student relations coordinator for the Texas Exes student chapter. “If anything, it should just bolster the spirit,” she said. “This is to put a hex on the Aggies and support our Longhorn football team.” The event is open to the community as well as students, she said, and they often see high school students, alumni and residents of the Austin area who come out to support the Longhorn football team. “It’s put on by students, but it’s for the whole community,” Nyberg said. “It’s a really cool event, because no matter who you are, you can come and show your Longhorn spirit.” Alpha Phi Alpha, the Longhorn Band, Redefined Dance Company and others performed Monday night. After watching the UT-A&M football game every year, becoming a part of the tradition is another reason to be excited to be a Longhorn, said journalism freshman Carly Ortel. “I’ve been watching this game for years,” she said. “To finally be a part of everything is really exciting.”