Stories from the football front
One of the fun things about my job is the stories I get to hear. I hear some live. Others I get by email. Some I got when I took calls on my radio show.
Not every story makes the paper, but that’s not necessarily because they’re not worthy. They just don’t fit. But this blog offers another option to place a tale that bears telling. R.J. has been an occasional caller to my radio show and also corresponds via email from time to time. Here’s a story he sent me this week:
“It was sometime in the mid 1950s, and I was probably 10 or 11 years old. OU was getting ready to play Texas, and the game was blacked out in Oklahoma but televised in Texas. I lived in Clinton, and my dad, a big football fan, ran a salvage yard south of town. Everyone was disappointed that the game would not be on TV.
“My dad came up with an idea. So we spent Saturday morning building a make-shift 30 foot antenna that we erected outside the shop. We were determined to pick up the signal from Wichita Falls. Well, come game time, our 17” Motorola got a faint and fuzzy picture going. Everyone was pretty excited about it. Word got around town, and before long we had a mix of lawyers, doctors, plumbers, and mechanics crowded around the TV.
“I remember that afternoon and how much fun everyone seemed to be having. It’s kind of like a Norman Rockwell painting etched in my mind. An 11-year-old boy learned some new cuss words that afternoon. The funny thing is, I can’t remember who won the game that day.
“It still amazes how people can come together and forget their troubles for a few hours while watching their favorite team. It’s kind of like the story you told once about your neighbor, whose house burned down before the Texas game. Yet, there he was happy as could be in the Cotton Bowl.”
Good stuff, R.J. And as for my neighbor, that’s a story I told on the radio but I don’t think I’ve shared it in print. So here goes.
2003. A fire struck my neighbor’s house, two doors down. The house wasn’t leveled but was mostly gutted and much was lost, though thankfully no one was hurt. Anyway, the fire hit on Wednesday of OU-Texas week. Saturday, I was at the Cotton Bowl, and that’s the year, remember, the Sooners routed the Longhorns 65-13. Near the end of the game, I went to the Cotton Bowl floor, standing in the end zone, waiting out the final gun. I heard someone call my name. I turned around, and about 10 rows up, my neighbor waved. I went up into the crowd, and all he could talk about was how great was the game.
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