Monday, July 31, 2006
the University of Texas @ Norman
I hear it almost everyday, I heard it this morning, I heard it yesterday, and there is probably a 100% chance I will hear it tomorrow. "Hey! but you are in Texas now, how can a Sooner fan survive in Texas?"
Really it is not that hard. Especially when both OU and UT have had the success that both schools have enjoyed over the past 5 or 6 years. Not to mention that from my driveway, Norman is a shorter drive than Austin. But with both schools fan's having much pride and hatred for the other, I actually have managed to 'stay out of trouble' when it comes to 'jawing' back and fourth
But there is one common theme between both these sets of fans. Both love to hate each other and rarely miss a chance to show that to one another. But here are a few comparisons to note:
* Both school's fight songs are a 'rip off' from other songs. Texas ripped off 'Taps' while Oklahoma ripped off the Yale fight song, 'boola boola'.
* Both schools have live animals on the field during home games. OU has 'Boomer' and 'Sooner' (two horses that pull the Sooner Schooner) while UT has a Longhorn steer named 'Bevo'.
* The majority of both schools rosters are comprised of players from the state of Texas.
* Since 1945, both school are ranked #1 and #2 in games won (OU 516 wins, UT 494 wins)
So OU 'two-a-days' begin this week thus kicking off probably my favorite time of the year. The Nascar season is getting 'Chase Happy', and Saturdays will be filled with Marching Bands, TDs, tail gating and school spirit. Although I am a Nascar Junky, there is nothing better than 'game day' in Norman. (Probably one could say that about 30 to 40 other colleges towns as well) The point is that the passion of college football is the best, and especially in Norman.
From the 'South Oval' walk, to Campus Corner to hear the "Pride's" Drumline do their thing, to the somewhat endless EZ-Up tents along Lindsey street, to the 'last beer' at O'Connell's before heading into the stadium to watch the "PRIDE" march in. (there is nothing better than hear that first 'tap, tap, tap' of the snare drum sounding of the cadence for the first chorus of 'BOOMER SOONER' with a crowd of 84,000+ on their feet counting down the DRUM MAJOR's 'high step'. To singing the Alma Mater while razing that 'number one' finger in the air, not being arrogant but more of a symbolic gesture that shows the greatness of the university and the unity between all Sooners. Or to see the SOONER SCHOONER roll out after the first OU TD with the Ruf-nek queen riding pointing the 'number one' high in the air! Or to casually say 'Boomer', and get a resounding 'Sooner!' response from others who you don't even know, but share a common bond. That is OKLAHOMA FOOTBALL.
But what really sets OU FOOTBALL apart from many schools is the winning tradition, expectation, and a 'success' bar that is set very high. Where 8 and 9 win season is a 'down year'. Most schools would be having parades for their teams with a 'Holiday Bowl' win, but at OU it was just a 'rebuilding' year. but even in 'rebuilding' years sites like this can be seen. Now honestly, is 8-4 that bad when seeing this? At OU it still is. Just sayin.
I will never forget my first 'game day' in Norman over 30 years ago. I hope I have the opportunity to see 30 more of those years.
Now that being said, there are a few other school's that I consider the 'honorable mention' list.
1) Alabama -- When OU played there a few years ago, I think many OU fans learned a lession on how to treat visiting team's fans. This was the most fun road trip ever!
2) Texas A&M -- While the school is very 'cult like', one should never pass up a chance to go to mid night yell practice and watching the Cadets march in. Not a bad band either if you like that 'follow the leader' stuff.
3) Grambling/Prarie View @ the Cotton Bowl - Yes, I have been to the 'battle of the bands', and also saw a pretty good football game as well.
Games I want to go to:
1) Va Tech -- I want to go to one of those late season games, I'll bring a heavy coat too!
2) Oregon -- Loudest 45,000 seat stadium in the world
3) Army-- To take a boat up the Hudson River, to catch a game would be a one of a kind.