This is beginning to get out of hand.
I’ll admit that I was screaming bloody murder and, were I the owner of my house instead of a merely a tenant, would have put my fist through the wall when I saw the replays that showed Oregon shouldn’t have had the opportunity to blow by OU in the closing minutes of Saturday’s game.
But now that the PAC-10 has offered an apology, (and quite frankly, I think we should be thrilled to get that much) can’t we all just say “Oh well” and get over it? Hell, the fact that gas is now below $2 a gallon is enough to make this Norman-born lad say, “O Who?”
Apparently, no, we can’t get over it. We never have, and we never will. Not that I’m proud of that. We look like a bunch of screaming, hayseed, whiner-bag idiots.
University of Oklahoma president (and former governor of Oklahoma and former U.S. senator), David Boren is demanding the game be stricken from the record books and as if that weren’t embarrassing enough, rednecks the likes of which are rarely seen this side of Stillwater are issuing death threats against the replay official.
It’s no wonder people outside the Midwest think Oklahomans all wear cowboy hats and have to worry about “injun” raids on their daily commute via horse. We’ve gone past the point of passionate fan and even advocate for athletic justice. Now we’re just proving once again how insecure we are as a state.
In 1945, Oklahoma wasn’t exactly the most cosmopolitan state in the Union. We were still reeling from the Dust Bowl and the Depression. In short, while the rest of the country was rebounding from the WWII economic boom, Okies were largely left behind and we got indignant about it. Don’t even get me started on our inferiority complex as it relates to the State of Texas.
So, then-OU president, George Cross, decided to give the state something to be proud of. He lobbied the state legislature for funding for the school, and specifically for the football team. “I would like to build a university which the football team can be proud of,” he said. They said yes and he, amazingly accomplished his goal.
Within the next 10 years, OU football was transformed from mediocre at best to powerhouse. They won two national championship (1955 and ’56) and posted the longest winning streak in football (highschool, college or pro), 47, a record that still stands today.
Oklahomans finally had something other than dirt farming to be proud of and we were thrilled. Too thrilled. One of my esteemed history professors taught, and I beleive, that from 1945 to today, we’ve had only one source of state pride and hope and it’s cost us both economically and socially from the Panhandle down to Little Dixie.
When we fall, it hurts more than say, when Southern Cal falls because the good people of Los Angeles have something positive to fall back on (like cheap, illegal labor!). Back here, nothing else matters because our projected season is tainted with a “1” under the L column.
So maybe Oklahomans can be forgiven for being put on suicide watch when OU loses this early in the season. For better or worse, we’re depressed and we’re not likely to change anytime soon.
But for the love of Bud Wilkinson, folks, death threats? We may not be above taking cheap shots at Texans, but surely we can cut a retired guy from Portland making a measley $400 a game some slack when he messes up once in his 20-year career. The nation, which was at least sympathetic up until Monday night, is now laughing at us as we beat the war drum and call for the scalp of The Zebra.
It’ll be OK, people. Now go back to worrying about those “injun” raids. I hear drums in the distance.
Having said all that, let me state for the record that I am Sooner born, Sooner bred, and when I die I’ll be Sooner dead. I was born within pooping distance* of Memorial Stadium. I LOVE Oklahoma, am EXTREMELY proud to be from the state and MISS it very much. I just think we should just be more proud of our people, red dirt, the fact that we colonized Bolivia and our official state meal, chicken-fried steak with mashed potatoes than a sports team that is largely made up of expatriated Texans who have seen the light and crossed the Red River. Chicken-fried steak can never lose to Oregon, no matter who the ref is.
*Totally new phrase. Give me credit when you use it.