In each of the past two years I covered the parade for the
News-Press. On New Year's Day 2002, I had to tolerate hordes of
Nebraska fans in town for the Rose Bowl. Nebraska defeated Oklahoma
during the 2001 regular season on its way to the National
Championship game, a tough pill for me to swallow.
But today, I will be among my people, the ones who understand what
it's like to have the hair on the back of your neck stand when the
Sooners come roaring out of the tunnel before home games.
I may not be Sooner born, having grown up in La Jolla, but I am
definitely Sooner bred.
Most of my immediate family hails from the Sooner state, including
my mother, who grew up in Konawa, Shawnee and Oklahoma City, and my
father, who lives in Tecumseh.
My great uncles Bob and Clyde graduated from OU, and I followed
them to Norman in 1982.
Although I rarely went to class, my attendance at football games
was exemplary. Problem is, I don't remember much of what I saw
because we usually started drinking before kickoff.
One of my fraternity brothers, it just so happens, was recently
elected governor of Oklahoma.
For as long as I can remember, I've rooted for the Sooners. After
they won the 1975 National Championship, my grandfather Bert sent me
a football autographed by the likes of Steve Owens and LeRoy Selmon.
I still have it. Somewhere.
What's not to like about OU, unless you're from Boulder or Lincoln
or Austin or Stillwater?
Seven national championships. Thirty-eight conference
championships. Twenty-two bowl championships (make that 23 after OU
beats Washington State today). Three Heisman Trophy winners and 130
It's not easy living in Los Angeles and being a Sooners fan. Most
people don't care, which is understandable. Every now and then, when
I wear an OU hat or shirt, I'll run into someone in the grocery store
or the coffee shop who follows the team and spark up a conversation.
On Monday I walked out of the office and saw a black Mercedes
driving down Brand Boulevard with a pair of OU flags flapping in the
wind and for a minute I thought I was in Norman on game day. I saw a
bunch of us at Burbank Airport on Tuesday. I took one look at them
and said "Boomer Sooner." Among kindred spirits, that's all that
needs to be said. The guy high-fived me.
They're here. Die-hard fans who will travel to the ends of the
earth to watch the Sooner football team tee it up.
Today, I will be among them.
* TIM WILLERT is the News-Press enterprise reporter. He can be
reached at 637-3235 or email@example.com.