A friend of mine took his boys to the OU-Florida State national title game 13 years ago. I can’t recall how old they were. They’re grown now, so teen-agers of some age.
Anyway, the Sooners dominated the Seminoles that night, won 13-2 and a ton of OU fans stormed the field at Joe Robbie Stadium or Dolphins Stadium or whatever the heck they called the place in Miami 13 years ago. My friend and his boys, Patrick and Peter, were among the fans who took to the field. They celebrated with OU fans on the turf and were right up against the stage on which Bob Stoops accepted the championship trophy.
Fast forward 13 years. The boys are grown. Still big OU fans. They were headed to New Orleans, and this time, their father didn’t go. He likes to hit the sack about 9:30. He would cramp the style of a couple of single guys with some time in New Orleans.
So my friend stayed home, even though he admitted he was getting bowl fever, and Patrick and Peter went to New Orleans. They were in the Superdome as OU answered Alabama’s early challenge, exerted some dominance of their own and took command of the Sugar Bowl.
As the game wore on, my friend texted back and forth with Patrick and Peter. Late in the game, when victory seemed in hand for the Sooners, one of the boys messaged his dad: “We’re going to rush the field.”
“Go for it,” my dad wrote back.
But New Orleans in January 2014 was not exactly like Miami in January 2001. Not that many OU fans stormed the field after the Sooners’ 45-31 victory. I don’t know how many. I was busy writing and watching Bob Stoops and chasing players around for post-game quotations. But it wasn’t that many. Few enough that New Orleans peace officers could grab many of the offenders.
Including Patrick and Peter. They were taken to a holding area in the Superdome bowels and told they would be charged with misdemeanor trespassing. About 1 a.m., they were indeed driven to the New Orleans jail. There, they sat with some fellow revelers from the game, as well as some shackled prisoners charged with more serious crimes. As a consolation, there was a big-screen TV nearby showing highlights of the Sugar Bowl.
About 2 a.m., Patrick and Peter were taken to Night Court. Yes, Night Court. With a judge and everything, just like the old NBC sitcom. His honor had a thick New Orleans accent and eventually called the boys’ case. He told them the charge and said he could arraign them and, I suppose, set a court date. Or they could pay a $156 fine and walk out free men. They jumped at the chance to pay $156.
So out they went, lighter in the wallet but with a story to tell. And hungry. Very hungry. So they did what everyone under the age of 35 seems to do. They got on their iPhones and figured out a place to eat. They learned of an IHOP nearby. So they walked to the IHOP for a late-night snack, marched in and found dozens of a certain victorious football team celebrating over pancakes.
“BOOMER!” one of the boys yelled. They were set. Peter and Patrick celebrated into the morning at IHOP with the Sooners. Best $156 either one of them ever spent.