Originally Published: Sep 15, 2010 11:33 AM CDT
I got an email from a friend Monday morning expressing his disgust with many Sooner fans disrespecting those of us who take the national anthem seriouslyespecially on the anniversary of one of the most hideous acts in the history of our United States.
It made sense. Enough that I sent notes to heavyweights at OU suggesting ways to find a way to treat OU’s next opponent with more respect. The men and women from the Air Force Academy deserve our respect, not boos when they step onto Bennie Owen Field. And certainly not the “home of the Sooners/brave” anthem. These people will do more in the next ten years for our safety than the entire section of boo-bird/home of the Sooners crowd will do in a lifetime.
I also persuaded our management to go all-out in promoting that fans display the class the Falcons and their fans deserve.
So Kelly Ogle delivered a commentary on the subject Monday night (the hometown paper adding fuel to the fire with a column on same Tuesday morning). Management directed us to do news stories, sports stories, get sound bites from Bob Stoops, etc.
So we gave him the heads-up before his Tuesday news conference that we were doing these stories and to expect this line of questioning. Most of the time Stoops stays away from the political and stays with the football. Then he began the Q and A session with a three-minute statement of how much he respects the military in general and how much he hopes the “home of the Sooners” singers drown out the “home of the Sooners” crowd. Kudos coach.
Something akin to this will apparently be played on the big screen before the Force hits the field. If fans of the coach who has brought them sheer joy in winning 32 consecutive games before their very eyes in Norman can’t change the embarrassing actions of some, then who can? Maybe Barry Switzer or Sam Bradford. Maybe a serviceman or woman. But no one else. We’ll see if this plea results in any positive way. My guess is that it will with about half the boo-birds.
I was told to write a blog on the subjecthard to do since half the state has already opined on the controversial subject. Nonetheless, here’s my own two cents.
The “home of the Sooners” loons can easily avoid the show of complete disrespect of those who stand for the right things. Applaud the AFA players. Just like I understand some fans did for the Utah State fans when they left the field after taking the Sooners to the fourth quarter before succumbing by a touchdown.
Don’t attempt to be cute in howling “Sooners.” If the shoe fits, change shoes. Try Army boots. Belt out the “brave.” Even if you were the guilty party on 9/11, you might be surprised at how cool it would be if everyone sang a different tune. Think of the ovation the crowd would give itself it home of the “brave” replaced home of the “Sooners” on Saturday.
Think about this. What if the couple sitting a row below you had lost a son in combat in Kandahar? Put yourself in their boots. How would you feel? Like fighting, disgusted, or sick to your stomach? Who does that really impress?
I’d rather listen to those god-awful horns that blew 24/7 at the World Cup than someone who knows more than the offensive coordinator shouting what plays he should run and what players should run them. And I’d rather eat a barrel of sardines than have heard the home of the “Sooners” on 9/11.
This not being sanctimonious. I don’t always hold my hand over my heart. But I was raised to know the difference between honor vs. insolence. In right vs. wrong. And I always say thank you to those who serve our country when I see them in the elevator. In the mall. At church. And yes, at football stadiums.
So even if for one Saturday, do your part in putting an end to it. It puts a black eye on the school, the state, its people. It shouts out both arrogance and impertinence. It’s an amateur show of immature defiance.
I’d bet that in your heart of hearts you know we are the luckiest people on the face of the earth. My not like the politics, high gas prices, or us being at war all the time. But appreciate those who fight those wars. Billions of people yearn for our freedom and luxury. Don’t use that freedom of speech in the wrong way.
This is a team good enough to not have the focus taken away from itespecially in a negative way. Allow the football team to be the story. This team is good enough in the opinion of Kirk Bohls of the Austin Statesman, for him to write some lofty things.
Kirk a pretty objective pro and was in Norman to cover the OU-FSU game. Writing positive things about those heathens north of the Red’s not a popular thing to do. Citizens around Hill Country don’t wake up every day hoping to read good things about the Sooners.
Nonetheless, the next day Bohls wrote, “For any cynics who thought that the Sooners had lost some of their swagger, think again. If this was to be a message as to the state of Oklahoma football to the rest of the country, consider it sent. Special delivery. The Sooners are for real. Like, really good. Like, much better than Texas, at this stage of the season. Like good enough to play for a national title good.”
Only time will tell if OU is as good as Kirk writes. But that’s not the point. Let the game be the focus. Savor the moment. Don’t be a part in tarnishing it.
Now, let’s get ready for some football.