NORMAN — Teresa Moisant was supposed to welcome Notre Dame to the airport.
It was 1966 and Moisant was a cheerleader for Mount Saint Mary High School.
The school wanted the cheerleaders to welcome the Irish to Oklahoma.
“My mother was furious with the nuns,” Moisant told The Oklahoman in an email. “She made a point to let them know I was a Sooner before I was a Catholic.”
Historically, growing up Catholic meant that the Catholic university located in South Bend, Ind., was the one to cheer for.
It was like a default.
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Not Moisant. However, some Catholics in Oklahoma that were Sooner born and Sooner bred are torn between rooting for their state team or their religious team this Saturday when No. 5 Notre Dame plays No. 8 Oklahoma.
THE STATE TEAM
Michael Patlan chose the state team. Raised Catholic, Patlan and his family moved to Oklahoma in 2000. He fell in love with the Sooners. He attended Oklahoma for his undergrad degree but is currently at Notre Dame studying for his law degree.
On Saturday, he'll be sitting in Section 18 of Gaylord Family — Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, cheering for the Sooners.
“All of my friends have been giving me a playful teasing this week, saying ‘Go Irish' and ‘Have a good time, enjoy the loss,' things like that,” Patlan said. “It's pretty well known up here that I'm an OU fan.”
However, Patlan has been a Notre Dame student season-ticket holder for the last three seasons, but it wasn't enough to make him pick the Irish over the Sooners.
“I cheer for Notre Dame against anybody else, most definitely,” Patlan said. “But Saturday I'll be cheering for the Sooners.”
THE RELIGIOUS TEAM
Mike Milligan was baptized in a Christian church in Oklahoma but converted to Catholicism when he married his high school sweetheart. He's lived here his entire life, except for the four years he spent at Notre Dame as a student studying accounting.
His family has been season-ticket holders at Oklahoma for 50 years, but he's chosen to cheer this weekend for the Irish.
More than 800 people influenced his decision.
Milligan is in charge of the tailgate party for the Notre Dame Alumni Club of Oklahoma.
He's traded thousands of emails and hundreds of phone calls with people from as far away as Hawaii. Their abundant love and excitement of the Fighting Irish has forced him to set aside his chants of “Boomer Sooner.”
“When they played in 1999, I really didn't root for anybody,” Milligan said. “I just watched the game, but in this case since I'm going to be surrounded by so many rabid Notre Dame fans, I think I'm going to cheer for ND.”