As the Sooners get ready to tear it up, I thought I’d go down Memory Lane for a bit and come up with 10 Boomer Sooner Memories.
1. My Cleveland Cougars won the Norman City Championship when I was in sixth grade, which was pretty awesome. But that was nowhere near as cool as playing pick-up games on Owen Field on Saturday mornings in the mid-60s. I know we ran 10 million down-out-and-downs, and kicked 10 million field goals, just like the Sooners did. Which made us total studs.
2. Turf burns were a right of passage. Sure, we got them in the pick-up games, but when you left layers of skin on the Sooners’ turf, week after week, playing 4-A Norman High Tiger football, well, that was just awesome. And Mr. Quinn, the NHS trainer, would spray your wound with some toxic concoction that killed the germs, burned like napalm, and stained your knee or elbow yellow for months, which was like having your very own, total stud tattoo.
3. I got to see a million impossible plays over the year by guys named Pruitt and Washington and Selmon. But before them, in the Sixties, I got to see a high school kid named Bill McClard kick an impossible 56-yard field goal. I got in BIG trouble with my parents because hundreds of us ran onto the field after the game to congratulate McClard, but it was worth it. One total football stud must do these things for another total stud, don’t you know?
4. On Sunday mornings after a home game, the Sooner players would lazily jog a few laps around the field. They were always dressed in sweats and spending a lot more effort razzing each other than actually running. I recall one comment aimed at a star running back from way across the field. “Uh-huh, I hear yo’ fat mouth flappin’ over there Peacock.” Note: this is how total stud Sooner football players bond. (I took notes.)
5. I was never any good at physics. But I know when I see something that’s impossible. And watching the Puh-Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiide of Oklahoma marching band being led onto the field by that awesome drum major, as he kicked his white shoes way high, while he was bent over backwards, with his big fuzzy hat about an inch off the turf, well, that just defied the laws of gravity. He was awesome. And I bet he had a really small wheel on top of his hat.
6. I had not one, but two uncles who at one time or another were in charge of concessions at OU games. This is why I was allowed to sell goobers when I was barely big enough to lift the metal basket. Every year I sold something, made enough money for Christmas presents, AND I got to watch every home game for free, while becoming studlier and studlier every single season.
7. If I tear up on this memory, forgive me. Because, even after 42 years, I could write a book about the OU-NU Game of the Century. I was so mad at the INJUSTICE of it all (“Ref, did you really NOT see those clips???”), that I contemplated doing a very, very bad thing. Several hours after the game, I was still hanging out in the stands, being miserable. I was probably the only person left in the stadium, except for the ABC sportscaster who was doing a live interview on the sidelines with some stupid Cornhusker. I was about 40 yards away, and I had in my hand a souvenir I had picked up from the field. A big, fat, orange. And I thought to myself, “the stadium is pitch black. I bet I could peg that stupid Husker right in the head and be gone before he knew what happened.” But, for one of the few times in my life, I did not do something stupid. So I just dropped the “Orange Bowl” orange. And yet, even now, part of me wishes I had pegged him. Stupid National Champeenship Stealing Huskers.
8. Remember Steve Owens, who just happened to win the 1969 Heisman trophy? Well, somehow one of my friends ended up with his double chinstrap. I’m sure that Steve willingly gave it to my friend. But there is a reasonable chance that he did not. For you see, after OU games, we 10-year-olds would stalk players as they walked off the field toward their locker rooms, and right at the moment when they thought they were out of harm’s way, SNAP, we’d grabbed their chinstraps and be gone. You have no idea how cool it was playing neighborhood games wearing Steve Owens’ chinstrap. I will not say it was studly, because I have already used that word several times. I’m lying. It was studly times a million.
9. Remember earlier, back at No. 7, when I mentioned the story about NOT throwing the orange and hitting the stupid Husker after the 1971 Game of the Century? Well, there was this other time when I did do a BEEG stupid. After every game, we’d get paid for picking up the rented “chairbacks”. My friends and I would, at some point, go to the very top row of the stadium and then see who could sail a chairback the farthest. Now, these were made of canvass over a steel frame, so they were not particularly light or aerodynamic. But if you got a really good throw, and the Oklahoma wind was howling, you could really launch one. Which I did once, and it hit a guy way down below, right in the back. Sir, if you are reading this from your wheelchair, I am truly sorry.
10. Actually, I must have been having a Boomer Sooner Senior moment. Because I just realized that I already blogged some Owen Field Memories a good while back. Never mind. When your blood is running hot in the Fall, and the band is playing BOOMER SOONER, you can be forgiven for the blood rushing to your studly head. And all you can think about is how much you’d love to be there, at the 50-yard-line, eating crappy cold hot dogs, drinking warm Cokes, and watch the Sooners absolutely crush the ULM Warhawks. Go Big Red!
Click here for a memory of Bobby Barry, Jr.