There is only ONE Oklahoma

Monday, January 26, 2009

New Jersey fan now an OU Believer

Sometimes, things just need to be retold. After all, many times it is only the negative that gets posted, but this North Easterner 'gets it'


Editor, The Transcript:

As a communications and messaging strategist based in Princeton, N.J., I am blessed (or cursed) with a hypersensitvity to how people communicate, and what message people send through verbal communication, body language and actions.

On a recent business trip to Miami, I spent a few days at the Fontainbleu Hotel, and happened to coincide with the BCS title game. Little did I know upon my arrival that I would spend the next few days with the Sooner Nation, including the team, and what seemed like an endless sea of maroon and white.

I was born on the campus of Purdue University and did my undergrad work at an ACC school, so I was no stranger to college football and passionate fans.

That being said, the sheer number of fans and the intensity and devotion to OU was overwhelming. I didn't know what to expect -- I do know one thing I did not expect was to become an overnight fan of the OU players and the fans from Oklahoma.

In my world, everything you do communicates a message, and I mean everything. This was no different for the OU players and fans.

The reality was that the few acres that the Fontainblue sits on had become Oklahoma with a beach for the week. Maroon and white everywhere. Thousands of fans. I was not wearing maroon and white, I speak with a Northeastern accent, and knew no one else there except for my small group. That didnt stop nearly everyone I encountered from starting a conversation, smiling and generally being warm and inclusive -- I am still wondering if there was a pregame tailgate I wasn't invited to.

I happened to be in the auxiliary lobby of the hotel at the same time as the OU players on the morning following the devastating defeat. That being said, as I was walking through the lobby to the restaurant, I casually told one player in passing, "you guys played well, you should be proud." He, and three teammates standing with him, smiled and thanked me -- and then started a conversation, asking about where I was from, what I did, etc. This cascaded into a number of conversations with a number of players.

These players have been in the national media spotlight all year, had tens of thousands of fans, many three times their age, follow them to Miami, a few will be instant millionaires next year, and they had just had what for many had to be one of the roughest nights of their college lives. I am not a coach, agent, writer or even a fan and was dressed in a sweatsuit. The players could have nodded or just said nothing and it would be completely understandable. They did the opposite.

Everything you do sends a message, and the message sent by the actions and conduct of the OU players and fans did more, in my eyes, for the university and state of Oklahoma than any advertising program could have.

In an era where there are endless stories of players and fans behaving poorly, stories of egotistical and arrogant athletes and stories of big time programs getting into some sort of hot water (stories that have included OU in years past), the class and dignity exhibited by the fans and players of OU did the university and the state proud. You might not have won the game but I guarantee you did gain new fans of Sooner Nation. Congratulations.

Matt Eventoff

Princeton, N.J.

Now it is time to let the LugNutting begin, just a few more weeks till the 500.

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