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Friday, November 25, 2011

It’s all about where you're aiming

Up early because my pups though going outside at 0400 was a good idea, I found myself in the kitchen with little on my mind than last night’s Aggie loss to tu. Oh yah, it was a loss despite what they teach you at A&M when you first get there—the Aggies don’t loose, they may get outscored, but they don’t loose.
Well last night they lost. I blame it mostly on the coaches; the kids played hard and most of the night was the better team—play calling was the biggest downfall; both on offense and defense. In the final minutes the defense was coached into the loss. Had they played the way they got to the final two minutes, they just might have won.
But let us move on to the larger issue, that being the role of the red-header step-child. That is where Texas A&M has found themselves ever since its creation as a land grant institution back in 1876—the first public institution of higher learning in a reconstruction state in the south. Later the school on the 40 acres was established—you know the one I mean. The Texas Legislature controls this stuff; if you are knowledgeable of the situation you already know how that situation goes—it’s not a pretty sight.
Where’s the beef might be the appropriate question that next pops into mind. That would be the Permanent Fund that provides a great deal of the funding for both A&M and tu. The fund was established as far as I can remember from oil revenue garnered by the state lands producing the revenue. Right or wrong in my belief, the fund is divided evenly between tu and A&M: two thirds going to tu and one third going to A&M—the Legislature you understand. From some perspective this may have seemed to be a good idea; giving the greater even share to what was envisioned as the state’s greater institution of higher learning.
Through the years tu did become the major institution of higher learning within the state; routinely three times larger than any other—public or private. Is there any question why the lopsided records of the schools slant one way and not the other?
Upon the scene comes Earl Rudder and the changes of the 60s. A&M began to grow but still remained in the shadow of tu. If I recall the stats correctly, from 1975, A&M actually holds a slight advantage in the athletic records. Quite coincidently, this is about the same time that the two schools became comparable in size.
The kitchen has become over populated all of a sudden and keeping my two fingers headed to the correct keys has become more of a challenge; I will do my best.
At any rate, changes were for the best and A&M progressed, becoming larger and larger. Under the leadership of Robert Gates, I had no doubt that this would be the right course. Then came the call from Washington and Gates was snatched away for a higher calling.
Plans had been established to take A&M into the future and the progress is still in the works. Money is being spent that will provide for more and more development and still the cronyism of the Governor seems to be the largest impediment to real progress.
A&M continued to flounder with its selection of coaches of the major sport—football. The last two selections just haven’t worked out. When you are trying to grow a program, why would an administration settle for anything but the best available? Franconia was a failure right up to the point in time that he had probably figured out the right direction—too late though. Sherman brought these questions to my mind: Who? And then Why? With all those available: Who? And Why?
Talent was present and nationally it was recognized. But the coaching staff figured out a way to hinder that talent—failing to make half time adjustments and giving away game after game and eventually leading us to where we are now—disappointed again.
Now the school is headed off to the South East Conference (SEC). According to one former coach; the Aggies are gonna play all there home games in Texas. I guess this means that we are to be satisfied by this rhetoric. We really deserve better information than has been provided.
The news and sports media claim it has more to do with money, sports networks and mostly egos. Regardless the reason, the move is ready to happen and it’s too late to alter the course. The decision is a done deal! The course has been set.
The media guys all say that A&M will not compete in the SEC any time soon. This can’t be good. They have to do better than they have, but that course is doubtful with the current coaching staff—can you say outclassed?
This brings me to the question of traditions. What are we to do about the traditions that we have all held dear for so long? Leaving the SWC or the Big 12 means that changes will have to be made—some will be tougher than others.
OK, so the War Hymn still refers to the orange and white; but that is the War Hymn. That didn’t change even with the upgrade from college to university. It stands for something bigger than a football game with tu once a year.
The Bonfire. This is a question that will have to be addressed—sanctioned or not. It can not represent the burning spirit to beat a school that isn’t being played. Outlawed by the administration since the tragedy that killed 12 students; it has become a yearly student activity, authorized or not. AS much as I hate to say it, the Bonfire should be abandoned until the game question is resolved. I know this is not a popular idea but that’s my thoughts on the situation.
The Corps of Cadets represents the real tradition of A&M. More than any other it is the longest lasting tradition and stands for what the hearts of all Aggies love about the school. Whether they are members, were members, wished they could have been members or stood with those that were members; it’s the Corps that still functions almost as it once did. This tradition has to remain and should be addressed with a stronger approach than it has attracted in the past.
The Corps itself should examine it’s traditions with a hard look to the future. I know that LTG Van Alstyne had this in mind and is probably high on the list of BG Ramirez also. The school can no longer be considered the West Point on the Brazos. Time has moved on.
Again last night, like it was when the Aggies had an opportunity to finish as the last champion of the SWC; A&M chose to come in second in what might have been their last chance to beat the hell outta tu! But second is not where we want to stay.
I know this has run long and I may have rambled too far astray. I’m gonna blame it on the interruptions that kept happening here in my morning kitchen with my pups.
It’s all about where you aim. If you want to win second place; the aim has been right on target. If you are not satisfied with second, the school’s aim must be altered

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