Oklahoma tornadoes: Oklahoma State basketball coach Travis Ford has never seemed more Oklahoman

Something about helping people, something about feeling part of a cause bigger than yourself, grows on you. Which is how the OSU basketball coach spent two days in the parking lot of the Home Depot, one of the little dots in a long line of relief outlets for the Moore tornado.
by Berry Tramel Published: May 25, 2013
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photo - From left, OSU basketball coach Travis Ford, Tommy Wade, OSU's director of player development, and Lt. Leon Jones of the OSU Police Department help cook hamburgers in the parking lot of the Home Depot in Moore on Friday. PHOTO BY BERRY TRAMEL, THE OKLAHOMAN KOD
From left, OSU basketball coach Travis Ford, Tommy Wade, OSU's director of player development, and Lt. Leon Jones of the OSU Police Department help cook hamburgers in the parking lot of the Home Depot in Moore on Friday. PHOTO BY BERRY TRAMEL, THE OKLAHOMAN KOD

“He works a grill pretty good,” Jones said of Ford.

And the tornado damage struck Ford hard.

“You see it all on TV, it does it zero justice,” Ford said. “Driving by it on I-35, it took my heart away.

“I don't know what I expected. I guess the reality sunk in. You start meeting the people, hearing the stories.”

Ford took a break Thursday only to go chat with victims. Some of whom wanted to talk OSU hoops and Marcus Smart.

“It's just amazing what good spirits people are in,” Ford said. “These people have lost everything, and they're in incredible spirits.”

Yep, that's the lesson we all learn in our journey to the center of the storm.

So Thursday evening, after the cooking stopped, Ford took in the OSU baseball game at Bricktown, spent the night and decided to come back.

“Even though this is a small, very small, part of helping Moore out, you see how much of a difference it made,” Ford said.

“Something very small, something very easy we could do. I said, ‘Hey, I got nothing to do Friday, why can't I come back?'”

He would like to get his players involved in the relief effort, once they return from the semester break.

Most OSU athletes are scattered. The baseball team visited Goodwill and donated supplies. The wrestlers put together a benefit wrestling event.

But Ford showed that organization is not required. Like those rescue teams that just load up and head out, sometimes you just have to go.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at btramel@opubco.com. 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.


by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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