A game ball for the Pride
Bob Stoops symbolically presented a game ball to the fans after OU’s 65-21 rout of Texas Tech last Saturday. Barry Switzer never did that, so far as I know, but he did something similar. Switzer presented a game ball to the Pride of Oklahoma after OU’s 21-20 Bedlam victory in 1983.
Here’s the inside story, courtesy of David Renner, one of my 1979 Norman High School classmates and a six-year member of the OU marching band.
Renner says Gene Thrailkill, the venerable director of the Pride, a band leader affectionately called “Coach” by two generations of Sooner musicians, was ejected from Lewis Field because he didn’t have a field pass. Then as now, OSU’s stadium had a high, white wall surrounding the field. In order to direct the band, Thrailkill stood on an aluminum ladder that sat on the artificial turf out of bounds. At some point in the game, which wasn’t going well for the Sooners, security personnel said no pass, no stay.
That was the game, remember, in which OSU took a 20-3 lead. “On his way out,” Renner said of Thrailkill, “he told someone, I’m not sure who, to ‘keep playing Boomer Sooner and don’t stop until we take the lead.’ So we did. Nonstop. For most of the second half.” Then came the Sooners’ great rally. Eighteen points in the final 11 minutes to win 21-20.
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