An Open Letter To Baylor Bear Fans On Proper Greeting Etiquette

Dear Baylor University Fans,

I am writing to you after a series of potentially awkward social encounters that have become more frequent with the rise of Baylor’s national success and television viewing platform.  Once there was a time when wearing Baylor swag in public would elicit the following reaction from passers-by:

“What is Baylor?”

“Do you learn to bale hay there?”

“Is that an agricultural vocational school?”

Now, since the rise of Baylor Women’s basketball program, Men’s basketball program, and the RGIII/Briles injection into the Baylor football program, Baylor has become a nationally recognizable name.  It is a very different world for Baylor fans who casually fling their green and gold in public today when compared to a decade ago.

And so, it is time we had a frank discussion about public celebration of Baylor University. Specifically, and I say this because of my great love for y’all, we need to talk about appropriate and inappropriate ways to greet fellow fans in public.

Everywhere I go, East Coast, West Coast, China, whatever . . . everywhere I go I see Baylor fans who sport their swag in the form of hats, shirts, and hoodies.  And upon such a welcomed sight as the green and gold I will generally utter the following greeting:

“Sic ‘Em Bears.”

Now, until this past year it was customary for fellow Baylor fans, whom I had previously not known, to look at me with the stare reserved for weirdo serial killers and social pariahs upon my initiation of the Baylor greeting.  But now, after being ranked #3 in football, with two immediate Men’s Elite-8 appearances, and 2 Women’s NCAA championships under our belt, this behavior must change.

So, when I see y’all in public, just be prepared.  I am going to say, “Sic ‘Em Bears!” The appropriate and God-centered way to respond is to simply say the following back in my direction, “Sic ‘Em Bears.”

There is no need to chat beyond that exchange.  I am not going to ask you for a prayer request.  I am not going to give you my business card.  My greeting is not an opportunity to put you on a marketing list.  We do not need to exchange email addresses.  Our kids do not need to be rushed into an arranged marriage scenario. I don’t need to discuss politics with you.  I am not going to share the Gospel with you. Ok, maybe I am going to share the Gospel with you.  But not necessarily. All I ask is that if I say “Sic ‘Em Bears” that you say in kind “Sic ‘Em Bears.”

What I would not like to continue hearing is that which I heard so frequently when employing this new social experiment at the Texas State Fair.  When I said, “Sic ‘Em Bears” to Baylor fans there I heard the following disappointing responses:




Not cool, Baylor Fans.  Not cool.  Imagine, for example, if two Auburn fans passed on a bridge and one of them said, “War Eagle” and the other one said, “What?”  Bo Jackson would be disappointed.  Or if two Alabama fans saw each other in a Starbucks and the exchange played out with a “Roll Tide” / “Cool” combo.  Such a sad display would cause Bear Bryant to roll [tide] over in his grave.

So Baylor Fans.  Do the right thing.  If you are going to fling your green and gold in the form of donning Baylor shirts, hats, or jackets, then be prepared for a “Sic ‘Em Bears.”  And with all your social confidence and might, you just look that other fan in the eyes and muster up your Baylor pride and give them a hearty “Sic ‘Em Bears.”


About Doug Hankins

Although not a Christian in his youth, Doug came to believe in Jesus during his teenage years. When not playing sports or pastoring Doug is probably spending time with his wife, reading a good book, or drinking some hot tea. Doug's first book Dawson Trotman: In His Own Words is available wherever books are sold. You can follow Doug on twitter.
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48 Responses to An Open Letter To Baylor Bear Fans On Proper Greeting Etiquette

  1. Kathy Spencer says:

    Sic ’em Bears!

  2. Jonathan says:

    Baylor has been a nationally recognized name since before you were alive. Our football team is ranked 4th, not 3rd, and our basketball teams began their rise to prominence starting in 2003-04, not just recently. I’ve not encountered the phenomenon you’ve described of meeting other Baylor Fans and them not reciprocating a “Sic ’em Bears” or being confused by the statement. I’m sure you had the best of intentions with this blog post, but I think it only applies to recent bandwagoners. Sic ’em Bears.

    – Jonathan c/o 2009

  3. Kathy Rowe says:

    Well said, I’ll pass this on to my grandson, Blayne Dale Rowe, who hopes to be a future Baylor Bear. He is currently a sophomore at Mabank High School & loves Baylor

  4. Aaron says:

    Even as a non-Baylor fan, I agree with you on this. As an Ohio State fan, I often yell: “O–H….” expecting the “I–O” in return. I then follow up with a “Go Bucks” if they responded correctly. They may shout it back, but it’s not a requirement.

    Most do a pretty good job, but a few respond just as some of your Baylor fans responded. It has boggled my mind as to why, but here is my hypothesis:

    Some people are just generally not aware of what they’re wearing. Either that, or they simply buy the shirt/sweatshirt/hat/hoodie because it “looks cool” or they “like the color.” That would be understandable if you were wearing Ohio State Scarlet and Gray, but let’s be honest…Green and Gold looks dreadful on most people. Therefore, in Baylor’s case, I think you’re right…it’s just not knowing how to handle people being proud of the sports teams. I, for one am excited you posted this public service announcement in an effort to educate BaylorNation (is it a nation yet or just a developing country???). Thank you Doug.

    And….GO BUCKS!

  5. Natalie says:

    Correct! I usually get so excited to hear a “sic ’em” from others that I say, “Oh yay – sic ’em!” So I guess I have to work on my “sic ’em” reflex!

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