Texans hand gesture, “Head’em Up” created by John C. Soper
A gesture is a motion of the body or limb expressive of sentiment or passion; an outward sign of an inward belief.
Hand gestures are one oldest form of communication, dating back to the time of cavemen. They are, to borrow a phrase from The Book of Common Prayer, “an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace.”
Texans team identity concept
The gesture is made by placing hand flat with palm down and parallel to ground, then bending three middle fingers downward, until perpendicular to ground. The gesture should resemble the head of a steer and the Houston Texans logo.
The gesture came to the mind of John Soper on September 25, 2001, the day the Texans logo was unveiled on the streets of Downtown Houston. With in minutes of seeing the Bulls head logo of the team, he developed the gesture. Recognizing that passion would be required for the gesture to have real meaning, Soper decided that he would not introduce it until the team made the NFL play-off. The gesture has remained dormant , ready for birth for ten years.
term: HEAD’EM UP
The phrase refers to the command of the trail boss on a trail drive telling his Cowboys it’s time to get to work. Referenced in the song “Head’em Up Move’em Out” popularized in the television show Rawhide. The term is automatically associated with the spirit of the South and the “can do” and get going attitude of Texans. In Texas slang the term means “let’s get going”.
The reference is a double entenre and could be to tell someone (Head’en Up) to show the gesture to confirm their support of the Texans. The same saying could be directed at the team to increase their intensity of play. It is also short enough that it could be used as an exclamation like the other “EM” phrases listed below.
the phrase purveys the Texan trail riders values of :
Blame it all on an Aggie named Pinky Downs. A 1906 Texas A&M graduate, Downs was a member of the school’s board of regents from 1923 to 1933. When the Aggies had a yell practice before the 1930 TCU game, Downs naturally was there. “What are we going to do the those Horned Frogs?” he shouted. His muse did not fail him. “Gig ’em, Aggies!” he improvised, appropriating a term for frog hunting. For emphasis, he made a fist with his thumb extended straight up.
Harley Clark introduced the Hook ’em Horns sign in 1955. Clark was a member of the Tejas Club, Texas Cowboys, and head cheerleader at the university Clark got the idea for the hand-sign from his colleagues Tom Butts and Henry Pitts, who had been casting shadows on the wall at the Texas Union. In addition, the “gig em” thumbs up hand signal created by archrival Texas A nad M University twenty five years earlier was growing in popularity across the state and a similar hand signal was desired by The University of Texas. Clark showed an enthusiastic student body the sign a few nights later at a football pep rally at Gregory Gym. According to Neal Spelce, who attended the rally when he was a student at the university, “a lot of people didn’t get it right at first, but it caught on rapidly from there. By the thousands, students extended an arm to create the now famous salute. The next day, at the Texas Longhorns vs. TCU football game, Clark stood in awe as the “Hook ’em Horns” hand sign surged from one side of the stadium to the other. Within a few years, the symbol was widely known to football fans across the state and country