Fifteen inches. Maybe 18 inches. That's how much wiggle room Jo Lee Foster had from rocky ground to barb wire.
Jo Lee figured she could make it. After all, her Cowboys were about to play. “I love my ‘boys,” she said.
When we think of college football passion, don't stop with face-painted students and pom-waving hordes and message board-reading kooks or even that Arkansas pig lady who is all the Internet rage.
Put Jo Lee Foster of Ardmore, America, on the list, too. Eighty-two-year-old Jo Lee Foster, squirming along the dirt and gravel of Love County, trying to reach the safe haven of a home that had the Pac-12 Network.
The OSU-Arizona game last Saturday was a disaster even before kickoff. The Pac-12 Network controlled the game, and no amount of cajoling could entice the West Coasters to free the game for Oklahoma distribution. Put the network on your cable or satellite system, or do without.
Which left Cowboy fans in the dark, including Jo Lee, an OSU fan since she and her late husband attended school in Stillwater six decades ago.
But Saturday morning came a sliver of news. The Dish Network would carry the network. Jo Lee called around, found a friend who had Dish and wangled an invitation to watch her Cowboys.
Trouble was, the friend was a fellow widow who lived on a ranch west and north of Marietta, a decent Saturday night drive from Ardmore, 25 minutes or so.
Jo Lee didn't commit. But the pull of her Cowboys got to her. She's followed OSU football all over, from season tickets in Stillwater to bowl games both before and after her husband died a few years ago.
“It got later in the day, I said, ‘I guess I'll just go,'” Jo Lee said.
She threw some clothes together to spend the night — the game wouldn't end until around 1 a.m. — and headed out on her Southern Oklahoma adventure.
Jo Lee arrived at the ranch about dusk, encountered a locked gate and reached for her cellphone to call her friend. Except the cellphone was back in Ardmore, left behind in haste.
“OK, what do I do now,” she asked herself.
The country road promised few passers-by. So Jo Lee did what any self-respecting college football fan would do. She climbed out of her car, went to the ground and shimmied under the barb wire.
“I didn't think about going home,” Jo Lee said. “I didn't even stay in my car very long.”
When Jo Lee caught her OSU shirt on the fence, she backed up. Didn't want to tear it. Then she wiggled again, got through the fence and marched up the road and over the hill to her friend's house.
“It was a tight squeeze for me,” she said. But “I get around pretty good to be 82.”
Alas, the story does not have a happy ending. The Cowboys played as bad as a team can possibly play and lost 59-38, showing little of the resiliency of a certain fan back in Love County.
This sounds like a video for GameDay. Sounds like a commercial to show the passion for this sport.
Sounds exactly right. The friends Jo Lee has told about her stunt “I don't think were too surprised,” she said. “They know what a fan I am.”
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.