Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Reliant Energy Torch Relay visits Aggieland

Aggie pride and spirit abounded when the Reliant Energy Torch Relay across Texas made its way to College Station on June 13. There was no mistaking where we were. Torchbearers from Senior Games, Reliant Energy and the Texas A&M women’s basketball program took individual carries and then made a triumphant processional “victory lap” around the east green of Reed Arena as the PA blasted out the Aggie War Hymn. The group was celebrating not just the Texas A&M women’s National Championship won earlier this year, but also the successful completion of the Texas State Senior Games just one day before our arrival.

The highlight victory lap began with a torch salute by Doug Tremaine, Director of Brazos Valley Senior Games and subsequent carries by torchbearers from Reliant Energy, the Ag Silvers women’s basketball team and other Senior Games athletes. It finished with Aggie basketball champs Maryann Baker and Catherine Snow.

The women’s basketball program began minicamps on this day and over 150 middle and high school girls braved the midday heat to come cheer on the torchbearers. Gary Mechler, plant manager of the nearby NRG Limestone power facility, beamed brightly in his Texas A&M cap as he made his solo lap past the campers. Five other Reliant Energy representatives brought their Aggie spirit to the party while they carried the torch. Tremaine, fit and trim at 67, demonstrated a retired Marines continued fervor as he whooped and hollered to fire up the girls on his orbit.

Aggie coach Gary Blair was on hand to welcome the victory lap and shared some words of appreciation for the Senior Games. Blair noted that “the gray hairs, blue hairs and no hairs are among our most supportive fans of women’s basketball at Reed Arena.”

Following the relay activity the Fitness Flame paid its respects to the George Bush Presidential Library on the west campus of Texas A&M. George and Barbara Bush are honorary chairs of the 2011 Summer National Senior Games in Houston. Doug Tremaine, a veteran and Texas Senior Games Association board member, proudly saluted the torch and joined with Supervisory Archivist Robert Holzweiss for a photo in front of the Bush Library.

On our way to Beaumont, the torch paused at Washington on the Brazos to pay homage to the site where the Texas Declaration of Independence was signed.

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