What an amazing year, unquestionably the biggest year in sports for Dallas-Fort Worth ever! No community in America has likely ever had a year in sports like the one we just enjoyed in 2011.
The Mavs won the NBA world championship. TCU won the Rose Bowl. A Baylor football player -- RGIII -- won the Heisman Trophy. The Rangers played in the World Series. The Super Bowl was played here. Two PGA golf tournaments were played here. Two NASCAR races were run and twin IndyCar races were held in the same night. High school sports gave us unlimited stories of success and failure, opportunities and created memories for a lifetime. The Sporting news named us the nation's top sports city!
As you try to wrap your arms around the most amazing year any city has enjoyed in sports, I would argue that the greatest individual performance by any athlete occurred here at Texas Motor Speedway in November when Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards began an emotional three-race battle for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.
Stewart won here at TMS while Edwards, the points leader, finished second. One week later in Phoenix, Edwards finished second and Stewart third. In the season finale at Homestead, Stewart's stubborn competitive drive proved too much as he won the race with Edwards finishing a close second. The two ended the season tied in the points standings. A tiebreaker -- the driver with the most wins -- gave Stewart his third championship.
What more can you ask for in sports? And it all started right here.
Why do we watch sports? To see competitors win or lose. To see who has the strongest will. To find out who will refuse to lose. To see who is the most determined. To see who has the most grit. To see who can conquer their own fears and insecurities. To see who is mentally tough. TO SEE WHO HAS THE BIGGEST HEART.
In a sport that must blend man and machine, the big, strong, determined heart that beats in Tony Stewart's chest was bigger than the 600 horsepower engine in Edwards' car. Stewart's will won out. And that come-from-behind run in the final three races of the season started right here at Texas Motor Speedway. All that is good in sports was on display right here that day in November.
As you consider a remarkable year in sports for Dallas-Fort Worth, I wanted to remind you that Stewart and Edwards shined in the purest of ways that day. Fittingly, a simple race between two tough men was beautiful in the most graceful of ways.
It may well be the highlight of the greatest year in sports for Dallas-Fort Worth. Ever.