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History Lesson In College Station
June 13, 2011
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So, why did Your Humble Correspondent invest nine hours, drive 365 miles to College Station on a sizzlin' summer Sunday? Because history must be chronicled and celebrated.

A little after 6 p.m. Sunday, a bus rolled up to Reed Arena carrying the A&M men's and women's track teams. Saturday the Aggies completed an unprecedented triple double three peat - championships in both genders for three consecutive years. (Getting back from Des Moines proved the toughest part - bus ride to Omaha, flight to DFW, connect to a flight to Austin, bus ride to College Station.)

YHC was there when Texas A&M won the women's national championship in Indianapolis. Winning when unexpected - outside of the A&M locker room, few expected the Aggies to win the title - brings a unique thrill. (Dallas Mavericks fans are experiencing that "holy - - - -" moment. To quote the late, great Jack Buck, "I can't believe ... what I just saw.")

What Texas A&M accomplished in track and field was not expected but perhaps predictable. Winning consecutive titles and having the talent to be ranked near the top of the sport all season stamped the Aggies as favorites to win two titles again. But ask the Miami Heat about the gravitas of championship expectations.

Performing your best at the right time is a prerequisite for champions. In the world of the perspiring arts, it's called "clutch." In track and field, being clutch is a tenth of a second here, a quarter of an inch there.

YHC watched Oklahoma sprinter Mookie Salaam race to the second-fastest time in the world in winning the 200 meters at the Big 12 Championship. (YHC didn't actually see it; Salaam moved too fast for YHC's old eyes.) However, Salaam didn't win the NCAA 200 meters. In the finals, his muscle twitches were infinitesimally slower than his competitors. It happens.

In women's basketball, Texas A&M's two victories at the Final Four defined sealing the deal. Sydney Colson's passes and Tyra White's game-changing scores gave the Aggies the championship. The A&M track teams had to close it out in similar fashion.

While most observers consider track and field to be an individual sport, the final event is the 4x400 relay - a four-person team carrying a baton four laps around the track. Texas A&M needed victories in both events to claim the team titles. And in both events, the Aggies took care of business.

Jessica Beard set an NCAA record with her time of 49.1 running the anchor leg for the women. Tabarie Henry anchored the men's team to a victory that clinched the men's title when Florida could do no better than a sixth-place finish.

Sounds simple, right? Just take care of business. Run faster than the other guy, the other girl. Take your medal, hoist your trophy.

But it's like this: No school had ever won three consecutive championships in both men's and women's track and field. Texas A&M is the first. If the Aggies had not won both titles, then it would have started all over again next year. Winning this year was imperative for a double three peat. Winning those relays was the difference between history and just another track meet.

Near the end of one of YHC's favorite movies, the character played by Tom Hanks says, "It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The hard... is what makes it great."

If you're a cinema nerd, you know that's from "A League Of Their Own." Kind of like Texas A&M right now.
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