Sunday, September 7, 2008
The "Red" Sea
Owen Field - The University of OKLAHOMA!
I know you know this, but I'm in this picture! I could even point me out to you, and you still probably couldn't find me - and I'm rather close to the front too! If you've never had the privilege to go to an Oklahoma Sooner football game let me tell you, there are some things you are definitely missing! For one - the Tailgating. I had to capitalize that word, it's that important. Now I've been to quite a few professional and college games. I've seen stadium tailgating, and I've even (yes) been to Texas tailgating parties, but they don't come close to the scene at near Owen Field - even when the game is away we have a flurry of tailgaters! Blocks and blocks and rows and rows of RVs, trailers, campers, and tents BEFORE you get to the stadium tailgating trucks and vans! We could call it the Magnificent Mile In Norman, but that title is reserved already for the 11 or so car dealerships along I-35 headed into Soonerville.
If you've never seen a sea of crimson or an 81,000 seat stadium packed with 85,000 people chanting OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO U! as the ball is kicked, if you've never been a quarterback for an opposing team trying to hear himself think during a third down conversion - well, you're missing out on the true BOOMER SOONER experience. Of course we have an obnoxious way of celebrating our every score! We have the horse-drawn Sooner Schooner coming out a dozen times every game! We have a band of Roughnecks swinging and waving paddles, cheerleaders lining the end zones practicing their backflips - EVERY TIME WE SCORE - those kids are tired by the 2nd quarter! We love our band! The Pride of Oklahoma! We love our song! We sing it 100 times every game, if you don't know it by the time you arrive you certainly know it by the time you leave!
This week we had a Fly-Over of 4 perfectly aligned Air Force F-16 Fighters! That followed the salute to the troops, the raising of the colors, and the National Anthem which of course was followed by screaming, yelling, sea-waving red and more red - pounding, stomping, booming loud fans - of which there are no others quite like them (us). Texas thinks they have it - they bring it - they bring it every year! We love them for it too - keeps us drinking stadium cold water to keep our voices when we need it at the end of the game - most of the time. It amazes me when I go to Dallas and see Longhorn fans wearing their shirts upside down, I don't understand that - but they do it quite often. (You'd have to love burnt orange to get that last one).
I like to find people at the game who have never been to a Soonerfest. They're the most fun to watch. We'll be texting people from the other sections to go get us a pretzel, promising them we'll go for the next water run - visitors come around that you've known for years, family, friends, people you NEVER see outside of the bleachers, but people you've watched grow up season by season by season....they get so big between January and August sometime! I love to try to explain why we do something - or what the guy behind us is saying when he yells out in his native Chickasaw tongue to "Hang a Half-a-Hundred On Them"...it means to score more than 50 points! It just sounds really cool in his language....almost obscene. You'd think they started selling beer again - but they banned that a few years back - hence the massive Tailgating.
We don't miss a thing at OU...not one thing. Before the game we have talent shows, music shows, radio talk shows, guest speakers, jugglers, athletes from years back signing autographs, cheerleaders and pom girls coming over for photos! We have Boomer and Sooner in costume hugging the kids, face painting, mounted cops, and we even have the ROTC out doing drills! We really know how to throw a party in Norman! OK OK OK....maybe those guys up in Still....Still...Stillwater (hard to say) throw a little get together too - they aren't bad - but what I noticed about them is this - they let the OTHER TEAM party! OH I DON'T THINK SO...I'm not sure the campus sells permits to the opposing team in Norman. I think our built-in excuse is something like "We don't have an inch of space fellas! Sorry, no grass or concrete space between here and I-35!" Better luck next time - BOOMER SOONER!
Oh, just so you know - we won Saturday afternoon 52-26, and I should have worn my visor! My face is Sooner Red today too! Thanks Bob! Thanks guys! I can't see them in 3 week when they play at home again - I'll be in CHICAGO!!!! But I'll be back. I can't wait. Gotta see Vera's grand kids!!
Just for grins I added this link to show you what an outsider thought about OU's game and tailgaters. It's funny. http://www.sportingnews.com/blog/lamadden/tag/OU