Scooter Proctor was down in the dumps.
What Sooner fan wasn't the week after the Baylor game?
But Proctor has a slightly different perspective. His dad, Bobby, was a longtime assistant at Oklahoma, so his allegiances run a little deeper. So do his hurt feelings after losses.
Proctor was still licking his wounds from that loss at Waco when he went to the office early one morning. He flipped on the TV and turned to ESPN.
That's when Olivia Hamilton's story came on.
“I sat there and cried like a baby for an hour,” Proctor said.
Hamilton is a fourth grader from Sperry. She has a pair of shimmering blue eyes, an ear-to-ear smile and an ongoing battle with acute lymphoblastic leukemia that has already lasted more than two years.
She also has a friend in Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon.
Their story has been widely told, first appearing in the pages of this sports section and eventually spreading to the World Wide Leader this fall. The moving segment touched Proctor that morning in his Norman office at OklahomaTickets.com, a ticket brokerage service that he owns.
What happened next is a feel-good story with a Bedlam twist.
The Hamiltons are headed on an all-expensed paid trip to the Fiesta Bowl, courtesy of Proctor.
“This gift,” said Jennifer Hamilton, Olivia's mom, “has been unbelievable.”
As Proctor sat watching Olivia's story — 108 weeks of radiation and chemotherapy, dozens of trips to the hospital, a childhood interrupted — he realized he could do something for her. He had tickets. Her Cowboys would have a bowl game.
Why not send her?
“I just had it in my heart that was what I was going to do,” Proctor said. “I knew exactly.”
He sent a Facebook message to one of his OSU buddies, looking for a way to contact the Hamiltons. Finally, he called them, a complete stranger with unbelievable news.
“I want to send you to the bowl game, whatever bowl game they go to,” he told Jennifer. “I'm paying for all the airfare, hotel, tickets. Everything.”
There was stunned silence on the other end of the line.
“Who are you?” Jennifer finally asked in wonder.
She just couldn't believe this bolt-from-the-blue phone call. A man she'd never met — not to mention an OU fan — was offering to provide her family with an all-expenses-paid trip to OSU's bowl game.
She wanted to try to explain to him just how excited Olivia would be about the trip. To make her point, she told him that Olivia wanted to go to Bedlam badly, but the family couldn't find tickets.
“Well, Dad, if we can't go to the game,” she had told her father, David, “I want to at least go to The Walk. Will you at least take me to The Walk?”
That, Jennifer explained, is how much she loved being around Blackmon and the Cowboys.
Proctor might have heard all of that, but what really stuck out was the fact that they didn't have tickets. Hey, he's a ticket guy. Tickets are what he does.
“Would you like to go to the game?” he said. “I've got tickets for you if you want ‘em.”
There was no hesitation.
A few days later, the Hamiltons had three Bedlam tickets in hand.
“She sent me a picture with her holding those three tickets,” Proctor said, “and the smile on her face was bigger than Dallas.”
Olivia flashed that smile plenty during the Bedlam game. What Cowboy fan didn't love watching OSU destroy OU?
“First time we beat ‘em in eight years,” she said proudly earlier this week. “It was pretty cool when the people rushed the field.”
Pretty cool, too, when she got to see her buddy Justin after the game. Blackmon gave her a Big 12 champion hat and a big orange paddle, a gift from the Paddle People.
Now, Olivia is trying to convince her mom to let her pack the paddle for their trip to Phoenix.
Going to the Fiesta Bowl is going to be a celebration. For starters, New Year's Eve is Olivia's birthday, but every bit as important is the milestone she'll hit on Jan. 11.
Her last day of treatment.
She'll still have to take oral medications, see the doctors regularly and have procedures every three or four months, but the weekly Wednesday trips from Sperry to the hospital in Tulsa for chemo will soon be done.
Even though she's battled complications — chemo made her bones brittle, for example, and she had to be casted nearly half a dozen times this year — she is doing well now. Her hair's even starting to grow back.
“I wanna grow my hair back so bad,” she said, “but I don't wanna brush it.”
It's impossible not to love this little girl.
Scooter Proctor sure couldn't help it.
“I just can't ever imagine having a kid that has to go through that,” he said. “We'd just got beat by Baylor, and I'm sitting there feeling sorry for myself.”
Emotion caught in his voice.
“She's just an amazing little girl.”
Now, she is about to embark on the trip of a lifetime. Olivia will never forget it, but neither will Proctor.
“I get to feeling almost bad because I feel so good about what I've done,” he said. “It's almost like you're not supposed to feel that way. You do it because you're supposed to do it.
“When you get hit like that ... you just gotta go do it.”
COWBOYS AND COACHES VS. CANCER
Justin Blackmon isn't the only Oklahoma State football player who developed a strong bond with a young cancer patient. Several others have also built relationships through the Coaches vs. Cancer program, including defensive end Cooper Bassett.
His buddy is 5-year-old Taylor Brandt.
I met her last basketball season ... at the Coaches vs. Cancer. When I first met her, she was so shy, I was worried she didn't even want to go on the basketball court with me. I conned her. I got one of the pompom girls to give me some poms, so she went out there with me with the poms.
I guess after that I made a good impression because she came to the spring game. Her and her sisters made me some posters. Ever since then, we kept in real good contact.
She's from Bethany, and I'm from Tuttle, so any time I go home, it's right down the road to go see her. I always run in there and say hi to the family.
I'd given her a signed football, this little bitty girl who loves tutus and frilly little things. Her mom sent me a picture the other night, and she (Taylor) can't go to bed anymore without my football next to her, which is pretty funny.
My mom gave her one of my pins with my face on it. I think my mom was reluctant to give that up because she likes wearing it, but she gave it to Taylor. I told Taylor it was my good luck charm because she's worn it every Saturday and we finally won a Big 12 championship. I told her that was all because of her. Hopefully she'll be wearing it when we play Stanford in the Fiesta Bowl.
I think her family was Cowboy fans, but I definitely have solidified that orange and black is the way to go in the Brandt family.
They were up for the KU game. She got to come sing the alma mater with me. She was really shy, but as long as she's out there with me, I didn't care if she sang the words or not.
Taylor is such a sweetheart. As much as I touch her life, she's touched mine. It's given me such a bigger appreciation for life. To put a smile on her face is the greatest thing in the world. For her to give that to me, too, is amazing.
I'm her Cooper, and she's my Taylor. No matter who I might date here in the future, they're going to have to deal with the fact that some other girl's got a part of my heart.