Oklahoma City Thunder: Readers respond to ‘Our boys’
I received a lot of fun response from my column in the Saturday Oklahoman about the maternal instincts of some Thunder fans, and how basketball players connect with fans, particularly some women who might not be die-hard sports fans but become die-hard fans of Kevin and Russell and James and “our boys.” You can read the column here.
I thought I’d share some of the emails with you.
John: “Reminds me of my wife screaming at the ump when they called a balk on our son. I asked her what a balk is. She said she didn’t know except our son wouldn’t do it. Keep telling us what balks are.”
Now that was funny. And John is right. Most fans are emotionally involved with their team. But when they become emotionally and personally involved, sometimes rational thought takes a holiday.
From my old pal Ray Goldsby, a long-time high school football coach in Oklahoma: “Still laughing and amused at your article this morning. All of these years I always thought you had a ‘kush’ job! Now I know your life is no different than mine when I was coaching. Ha ha. It does not matter what you say or do, you can never please everyone. Again, your job is a lot like coaching because it is not our job to please everyone. You do what is right, be tactful and courteous, work hard, be honest, and do the best you can.”
Interesting. I never thought of the similarities between us writers and coaches. Truth is, coaches have it way worse than us. Editors generally have a lot more backbone than do school board members.
Leslie chimed and pled guilty to seeing sports differently: “Hey Berry! You hit the nail on the head in your ‘our boys’ column. I am a mother of five, whose first three were girls and never cared about sports until my sons came along. Now I’m playing catch-up trying to learn. Still don’t know much. But your column was so insightful because it got really heated around my house during the playoffs when daddy and the boys started criticizing various aspects of the Thunder players’ games. As a mother of two hard-working, aspiring athletes, I kept saying, ‘knock it off guys, that’s some mama’s baby you’re dissin’!’ To no avail. I could write a column from ‘the mama’s bench.’ Told my 14-year-old son the other day that ‘I love Kevin because he has restored mamas back to their rightful position in sports!’ Loved your insight.”
You know, Wanda Pratt is no small part of this story. Durant’s treatment of his mother most definitely hits home with mothers.
Kathy, who popped me pretty good originally, wrote back after I used part of her email in my column: “My goodness, but you don’t seem able to do proper research, either! Imagine my surprise to read that, according to you, the word ‘snot’ is ‘an old ’70s term.’ Which millennium? The word dates to the 1300s, Middle English or a little later, 1400s (Middle German, Dutch, Danish…..). And (sigh) I must object to the patronizing tone and tenor of your response to your female readers. We are not all ‘Aunt Bees!’ Are men’s viewpoints somehow more to your liking? And what does that say about your objectivity once again, hmmmm? Ah, but I fear we continue to beat that dead horse, now, do we not? No matter, I believe you are too set in your prejudices to bother with additional debate. In any case, I shall retire, and leave the field to you, so you may rave on as you please. Today you have proven my point. Do you even realize that you have?”
I don’t know what Kathy’s point was, but if my point was that Kathy was anything like Aunt Bee, I was mistaken. No one this insufferable ever stepped foot in Mayberry.
Of course, Kathy had company, even from men. Doug: “I do have to agree with Kathy. Like most people in the Oklahoma City area, we simply think your an idiot. I’m sorry but every time I read your column, or heaven forbid watch your one-minute clips, I want to rip my hair out. As do most people when they read or watch trash. And that’s exactly what you write.”
Here’s what’s beautiful about Doug’s email. I received it around 8 p.m. Friday. So the office put my column online Friday evening, several hours before it went to press, which has become standard. So some guy who claims to think I’m an idiot, but admits to even watching my videos, reads my column on a summer Friday night. Doug is not my enemy. My enemy is the people who don’t read me or The Oklahoman.
But back to a little more light-hearted fare. Don, a loyalist from Hooker, defended the use of “snot”: “In the Panhandle, it was also used to help explain how cold it was. ‘Slicker’n snot on a brass doorknob.’ Maybe a bit too graphic for some of your new lady friends. Keep up the good work.”
The use of the word snot really did make my point. I didn’t think twice about saying the Heat beat the snot out of the Thunder, and most fans didn’t, either, especially long-time sports fans. But the maternal-minded saw it differently.
Bart: “Many thanks for Saturday’s story on some of the differences in how sports in general and the Thunder in particular are processed by men vs. women. For multiple reasons, I found it to be insightful yet entertaining, without a hint of sexism. I know the high esteem with which you hold the women in your life. As a man who has four sisters, I appreciate that. You have my sympathy and respect for the volume and wacky extremes of responses you go through, including mine. Thanks again for providing something to look forward to on a daily basis. Hopefully, none of my correspondences will ever make your column!”
Well, sorry, Bart. All streaks must end.
Randy: “So, I’m a guy sitting here with fresh ground coffee and breakfast, laughing out loud at your article. Who knew? Wife of 42 years is much bigger fan of the boys than me, but I never heard her complain about your stuff. Anyway, really entertaining article. As always, you are the best. You big snot.”
Hey, watch your language.
James: “I liked your describing the Heat beating the snot out of OKC and didn’t think it was a crass observation.”
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