Olivia Hamilton going to watch her Cowboys at Fiesta Bowl courtesy of Scooter Proctor

JENNI CARLSON COMMENTARY — After Oklahoma lost to Baylor, Sooners' fan Scooter Proctor was feeling sorry for himself...until he saw Olivia Hamilton's story on TV. Proctor was so moved, he decided to send the Hamiltons to the Bedlam game and to the Fiesta Bowl.
by Jenni Carlson Published: December 25, 2011
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Scooter Proctor was down in the dumps.

What Sooner fan wasn't the week after the Baylor game?

But Proctor has a slightly different perspective. His dad, Bobby, was a longtime assistant at Oklahoma, so his allegiances run a little deeper. So do his hurt feelings after losses.

Proctor was still licking his wounds from that loss at Waco when he went to the office early one morning. He flipped on the TV and turned to ESPN.

That's when Olivia Hamilton's story came on.

“I sat there and cried like a baby for an hour,” Proctor said.

Hamilton is a fourth grader from Sperry. She has a pair of shimmering blue eyes, an ear-to-ear smile and an ongoing battle with acute lymphoblastic leukemia that has already lasted more than two years.

She also has a friend in Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon.

Their story has been widely told, first appearing in the pages of this sports section and eventually spreading to the World Wide Leader this fall. The moving segment touched Proctor that morning in his Norman office at OklahomaTickets.com, a ticket brokerage service that he owns.

What happened next is a feel-good story with a Bedlam twist.

The Hamiltons are headed on an all-expensed paid trip to the Fiesta Bowl, courtesy of Proctor.

“This gift,” said Jennifer Hamilton, Olivia's mom, “has been unbelievable.”

As Proctor sat watching Olivia's story — 108 weeks of radiation and chemotherapy, dozens of trips to the hospital, a childhood interrupted — he realized he could do something for her. He had tickets. Her Cowboys would have a bowl game.

Why not send her?

“I just had it in my heart that was what I was going to do,” Proctor said. “I knew exactly.”

He sent a Facebook message to one of his OSU buddies, looking for a way to contact the Hamiltons. Finally, he called them, a complete stranger with unbelievable news.

“I want to send you to the bowl game, whatever bowl game they go to,” he told Jennifer. “I'm paying for all the airfare, hotel, tickets. Everything.”

There was stunned silence on the other end of the line.

“Who are you?” Jennifer finally asked in wonder.

She just couldn't believe this bolt-from-the-blue phone call. A man she'd never met — not to mention an OU fan — was offering to provide her family with an all-expenses-paid trip to OSU's bowl game.

She wanted to try to explain to him just how excited Olivia would be about the trip. To make her point, she told him that Olivia wanted to go to Bedlam badly, but the family couldn't find tickets.

“Well, Dad, if we can't go to the game,” she had told her father, David, “I want to at least go to The Walk. Will you at least take me to The Walk?”

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by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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COWBOYS AND COACHES VS. CANCER

Justin Blackmon isn't the only Oklahoma State football player who developed a strong bond with a young cancer patient. Several others have also built relationships through the Coaches vs. Cancer program, including defensive end Cooper Bassett.

His buddy is 5-year-old Taylor Brandt.

I met her last basketball season ... at the Coaches vs. Cancer. When I first met her, she was so shy, I was worried she didn't even want to go on the basketball court with me. I conned her. I got one of the pompom girls to give me some poms, so she went out there with me with the poms.

I guess after that I made a good impression because she came to the spring game. Her and her sisters made me some posters. Ever since then, we kept in real good contact.

She's from Bethany, and I'm from Tuttle, so any time I go home, it's right down the road to go see her. I always run in there and say hi to the family.

I'd given her a signed football, this little bitty girl who loves tutus and frilly little things. Her mom sent me a picture the other night, and she (Taylor) can't go to bed anymore without my football next to her, which is pretty funny.

My mom gave her one of my pins with my face on it. I think my mom was reluctant to give that up because she likes wearing it, but she gave it to Taylor. I told Taylor it was my good luck charm because she's worn it every Saturday and we finally won a Big 12 championship. I told her that was all because of her. Hopefully she'll be wearing it when we play Stanford in the Fiesta Bowl.

I think her family was Cowboy fans, but I definitely have solidified that orange and black is the way to go in the Brandt family.

They were up for the KU game. She got to come sing the alma mater with me. She was really shy, but as long as she's out there with me, I didn't care if she sang the words or not.

Taylor is such a sweetheart. As much as I touch her life, she's touched mine. It's given me such a bigger appreciation for life. To put a smile on her face is the greatest thing in the world. For her to give that to me, too, is amazing.

I'm her Cooper, and she's my Taylor. No matter who I might date here in the future, they're going to have to deal with the fact that some other girl's got a part of my heart.

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