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September, 2018:

Boomer Sooner

So, Oklahoma football. Growing up in the boonies in Oklahoma was perhaps a bit too-alike Varsity Blues. Except, I was not James Van Der Beek. Or, really, anyone in that movie. I was some nerd in the stands you never saw, except that the town was small enough that I was on the golf team and the basketball team, and played for both.

Anyway, all of that to say that when you grow up “OK,” you sort of have to like football. I resisted, protested, and was wildly disinterested in it beyond the years of most of my friends and cousins – despite a brief “the Boz” phase circa 1986. If you were in OK in 1986, literally every male child had that buzz cut hairstyle, and I distinctly remember several friends with the three “stripes” cut into the sides of their head. See:









Apparently, he’s got a 30 for 30… I’ve not watched. I doubt I’m that interested.

Anyway, OU football! So, if you were in the midst of that stew of “important” stuff growing up, where football was king, and every male role model thought so. Well, then eventually you succumb to that and have to pick a team.

Oklahoma has only one professional sports team, the OKC Thunder. They didn’t even exist when I was a child, or well, they did, but they were in far away Seattle, where I had an aunt. Apparently, Seattle will never forgive OKC for taking their Sonics. So, aside from the obvious selection of the Dallas Cowboys as your preferred professional team, since they were the only ones you ever saw on TV on Sundays back then, you had to pick a college team.

There are probably perennially three GREAT college football teams. I know I will inevitably insult friends of mine from Ohio, from Florida, from Texas, from Georgia, and a few other places. But, in my view, those teams are Alabama, Oklahoma, and Notre Dame. Yes, many others have national championships, many have storied programs with loads of great players, but those three teams, with Notre Dame having the hardest time in the last ten years or so, are almost every year in the championship discussion.

Also, Oklahoma State is the butt of those same jokes you hear in Texas about A&M or in California about Davis – basically, that it is full of smart hicks doing dumb things. I was a smart hick, so I probably would have fit in at OSU better than at OU, but regardless, OU seemed the clear choice with the amazing history, and the seeming lack of “uncool” jokes about  it to my young mind.

Anyway, as a result, I sit here in Los Angeles, nearly thirty years after picking my college football affiliation where every Saturday in the fall I don my OU baseball cap and wander through my cable or streaming service to find that day’s OU game against some, hopefully, unwitting opponent. And, occasionally, I force my beloved spouse to sit through a home game in unusual humid and cloudy September weather with several of my high school friends.