STILLWATER — Brian Gittings made the leap.
He was an Oklahoma State student the last time Cowboy fans stormed the field, and doing so in Stillwater requires quite a commitment. To storm the field, you have to get on the field, and to get on the field at Boone Pickens Stadium, you have to jump the wall.
“You kind of have to make a little leap,” Gittings said.
A little leap?
Try a nine-foot jump. That's how high the wall surrounding the field is. That's like jumping into the deep end of a swimming pool — that has no water.
Thinking about storming the field if the Cowboys win Bedlam?
Look around the college football world, and there are tons of stories of storming gone bad. Broken bones. Concussions. Even death.
I'm pretty sure no amount of warning will keep most fans who are determined to storm the field from doing so. Heck, when Gittings stormed the field after the Cowboys beat the Sooners 38-28, he had a scar on his leg from storming the field earlier that season when OSU beat Nebraska. That didn't hold him back.
He remembers lowering himself over the wall, hanging onto the top, then letting go and dropping to the ground.
“You've got to make sure you've got your roll technique down just in case,” Gittings said.
Andrew Marsh maneuvered the wall that day, too. Sitting on the front row of the OSU student section, he was one of the first to go over. He doesn't remember exactly how he got over, but he does recall thinking about what might happen if he didn't.
“There's this realization that there are 30,000 people up behind you that will trample and kill you if you're not over it quickly,” he said, chuckling.
“But the excitement and the adrenaline was enough to drive us over a 20-foot wall if need be.”
That's the thing — even though this storming the field business can be dangerous, the thrill of the celebration makes people overlook the peril.
Marsh recalls the fun that he had on the field. Cheering. High fiving. Hugging. Chest bumping.
Then, he and a bunch of his buddies from the dorm helped bring down one of the goal posts.
“Storming the field, every college student should experience it,” said Marsh, now a chocolatier and pastry chef in Norman. “It's such a wonderful, glorious moment.”
Gittings, a graphics operator at KFOR, said, “Just like the series implies — it was Bedlam. It was a bunch of happiness. A lot of craziness. A lot of joy.”
Being part of that is why people storm the field and why Cowboy fans will no doubt storm the field if their team wins Saturday. It will be a Bedlam win. It will be first-ever outright Big 12 title. It will be a first-ever BCS game.
Just be careful.
Really, I'm not trying to be a buzz kill, Cowboy fans, but I'd rather write about what happens in the game than about people who had to be sent to the hospital.