In the event you’re looking to fire up Oklahoma State fans these days, you need mention only two words. Not "Georgia Bulldogs” or "Heisman Trophy.” Not "SI cover” or "preseason hype.”
No, the hot-button words are "Cowboys Forever.” That is the name of a new song celebrating what it means to be an OSU Cowboy. It was written and performed by John Martin, a longtime fan of all things orange and black, and it will be used during pregame festivities at football games. Sounds great, right? Well, many a Cowboy fan thinks otherwise. The song feels like a cross between Christian contemporary and modern country, and it has become a lightning rod for message-board fodder and bar-stool debate in recent weeks. The lyrics have been ridiculed. The music has been mocked. Even Martin has become a target. Monday afternoon on Twitter, I asked if there were any OSU fans who had an opinion about the song. There were a dozen or so replies in less than half an hour, and they were overwhelming negative. "I think it is awful!” one said. "Everyone I have talked to has the same opinion, too.” "It’s not an awful song,” another said. "It’s just awful considering what it’s being used for.” Perhaps this is where we need a bit of clarification. "Cowboys Forever” is not the song that will play as the football team takes the field. It’s not the music for the intro video, which in previous years has featured "Back in the Saddle” by Aerosmith. It’s not going to replace whatever pumping, bumping, thumping song brings the Cowboys onto the Boone Pickens Stadium turf. "There’s a lot of misconception about this song being the song that the football team runs out to,” Martin said. "The team will not come out right when this video and song are done.” Maybe that misinformation has fueled some of the angst about his song. Earlier this year, OSU athletic director Mike Holder approached Martin and his friend Taylor Bolding about producing a pre-game video. Martin would handle the music, and Bolding would manage the footage. Martin was honored by the opportunity. As the son of longtime OSU associate athletic director Dave Martin, he was raised on Cowboy athletics. He knows the history. He lives the passion. Had he been offered a football scholarship to OSU, he would’ve jumped at the chance. He played at Baylor instead, but he once again calls Stillwater home. By the end of April, the song was done. A few days later, Martin found himself at Garth Brooks’ house.