Vintage Definitions: Cager, Aquacade, Steer

In honor of our centennial, we’ve dug deep into a century’s worth of Alcalde issues to bring you a fascinating look at how the Forty Acres has changed over the years.

Basketball 2


Cager n. [key-jer] Basketball wasn’t always the electrifying, high-flying sport we know today—in fact, in the 1930s, there was literally a cage surrounding the court to prevent on-court antics from spilling into the stands. It’s for this reason that basketball players of that era were referred to as “cagers.” An excerpt from the April 1936 Alcalde reads: “Longhorn cagers, after defeating A&M 43-29, dropped a 38-37 heartbreaker to Fayetteville, and Texas hopes for a Conference basketball title this year were ruined.” The cages eventually disappeared and the nickname became a forgotten bit of basketball lore—much like teams that only scored 29 points in a game. Former UT cager Kevin Durant averaged 25.8 points all by himself in 2006-07.



Aquacade n. [ah-kwuh keyd] Long before Texas men’s swimming captured 34 consecutive conference titles, there was Tex Robertson, creator and coach of UT’s first swim team. Robertson was resourceful—legend has it that he perfected his backstroke in a horse trough. He was also the mastermind behind something called the “Aquacade.” The February 1938 Alcalde states, “The first notable athletic event of the second semester will be the Texas Aquacade, a swimming carnival at Gregory natatorium, Feb. 9-10, staged by Coach Tex Robertson and his Longhorn mermen.”



Steer n. [steer] The Texas football team—college football’s second-most winning program of all time (darn you, University of Michigan!)—was first dubbed “the Longhorns” by Daily Texan writer D.A. Frank in 1903. It wasn’t until the 1910s that the nickname stuck, however. Prior to bearing the Longhorn moniker, they were referred to either as “Varsity” (hence that most distasteful Aggie lyric, “Saw Varsity’s Horns Off”), or “Steers.” The latter term of endearment was eventually dropped, probably because it wasn’t all that endearing—the Random House Dictionary defines a steer as “a castrated male bovine, especially one raised for beef.” All we can say is thank goodness for D.A. Frank, and Hook ’em Horns!


Tags: , , , , ,


No comments

Be the first one to leave a comment.

Post a Comment