NORMAN — Kent Deligans and his family stood above their kingdom surveying all that was below.
They pointed at their four empty seats in section 231, their two more in section 229 and their other six in section 131.
They inspected how the green grass looked with the fading white paint. High up is where they like to be. They like to see how everything develops below during Saturdays in the fall.
In a state where football and its players are the rulers, for one Saturday the fans became the kings as OU invited season-ticket holders to tour the football facilities.
Deligans used to dream of being an Oklahoma king when he was nine after he went to his first Sooner game: Oklahoma versus Notre Dame. Nine years later, he became one of those Oklahoma kings as a freshman on Jim Mackenzie's squad. Then two knee injuries kept him from ever playing varsity.
He wanted to be a football coach. He became a successful accountant.
Then in 1982, he became a season-ticket holder and eventually became a Bud Wilkinson Society Donor, which a family friend said is another way of saying they give a nice share of money.
With his son, grandson and nephews trailing him, Deligans toured Oklahoma's football facilities as he marveled at the nearly 50 years of changes. His family looked on in awe. It was their first tour and it was a day they never dreamed would actually come true.
They started in the Switzer Center, admiring the BCS Championship trophy and the recruiting room. They listened as Deligans recalled old memories of what used to be on the practice fields south of the stadium. Then they walked into Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops' office.
Trophies, game tickets and game balls lined a wall, and a box on his center table is full of watches from bowl games.
Nathan Sparks, Deligans' nephew, pulled out his phone to snap a photo. He wasn't expecting to see so many ornate watches.
They walked through the hallway of blown-up Sports Illustrated cover photos, then down a few flights of stairs and out the Switzer Center and onto Owen Field.
“Wow,” said Joe Rosso, another of Deligans' nephews.
He turned around and around as he surveyed the stadium from the ground.
An event photographer asked to snap their photo and Deligans' son, Ryan, stood next to his dad and smiled. Then Deligans turned to Sparks' son Brayden and said, “Work hard. Jump rope and you can be out here. It's going to take a lot of hard work. It's not like the old days. There's more competition.”
Seconds later, he pointed to a spot in the end zone where he watched Notre Dame score the touchdown that broke Oklahoma's win streak on that day back in 1957.
“It was a $5 ticket that day,” he said. “I pulled all the change out of the pockets I had and gave it to the lady at the counter. I had $4.86. She told me, ‘Aw, honey. You're close enough.' She gave me my red ticket.
“When the gates open, I raced to a seat in the end zone and didn't move. It didn't matter. I didn't have any money for a Coke.”
His family smiled as he recounted the story.
For one more Saturday, a king returned to his kingdom.