Welcome to the Big House
Follow these links to galleries from the finals of the Oklahoma high school state basketball tournament:
“Congratulations! It is Championship Saturday and you have made it to the Big House,” 12-year announcer Steve Daniels proclaimed to a large audience at State Fair Arena.
The statement is as much a tradition as the Big House itself.
If you are fan of small-school Oklahoma high school basketball, then the Big House is your Mecca.
“I think at the first of the year it’s been ingrained in them now you want end up at the Big House … and they’ve heard that all their lives. This has now taken on the mythical proportion for some those kids,” said Daniels.
Karl Francel jumped up and down in his seat dressed in an American Indian head dress and covered in warpaint. He was one of the rowdy fans who run to their seats as soon as the doors open. They boo the referees and cheer on their teams.
“Man, the Big House is where it is at. It is so exciting to be here as a fan and it is where everyone dreams of getting to. It’s where a whole town can come out and support their boys. There is nothing like it in the world.”
Back at the announcers’ booth, Daniels plays an instrumental version of the state song.
The crowd sings in unison.
Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plain
And the wavin’ wheat can sure smell sweet
When the wind comes right behind the rain.
Oklahoma, Ev’ry night my honey lamb and I
Sit alone and talk and watch a hawk
Makin’ lazy circles in the sky.
“Congratulations! It is Championship Saturday and you have made it to the Big House,” Daniels proclaimed for the fourth time in the evening.
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