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OU's Joey Halzle lends helping hand

by Jenni Carlson Modified: November 21, 2008 at 12:57 pm •  Published: November 21, 2008
NORMAN - When he walked onto the Oklahoma campus three seasons ago, Joey Halzle hoped to become the next Sooner quarterback.

When he walks off the Owen Field turf for the final time Saturday, he will have nary a start to his name and a dubious performance at Texas Tech to his credit.

That, however, will not be his legacy.

Not if a senior project goes as planned.

Halzle is developing a coloring book for kids at The Children’s Hospital at the OU Medical Center. He hopes to use photographs of Sooner players, which will be turned into pictures that can be colored, then bound together. He wants to include quotes, too, words that would encourage and inspire children battling life-threatening illnesses.

These are kids, after all, who touched Halzle’s heart.

"It puts things in perspective,” he said of visiting The Children’s Hospital. "It’s a great experience to go and spend time.”

Halzle made his first visit shortly after moving to Norman in 2006. He roomed that spring with Jacob Gutierrez, the former Sooner tailback known for his community service. Gutierrez encouraged Halzle to go with him to the hospital.

"Just hang out,” he said. "Nothing specific. Just go down there and hang out a couple hours.”

The pressure was minimal.

The impact was not.

"The kids love it,” Halzle said.

When he learned that he needed to complete a service project for his Capstone class — a graduation requirement he must fulfill before receiving his management degree — he quickly thought of The Children’s Hospital. He figured he would just make a few more visits and consider it done.

Then, his mother asked him about his project.

"What about doing something different?” she asked. "What about a coloring book?”

The project is still in the formative stages. Halzle is soliciting help from local businesses for the printing, the binding, even the crayons. He even sought help from The Oklahoman, asking permission to use photos for the book. Permission granted.

News of the project didn’t surprise teammate and roommate Manny Johnson. The Sooner receiver considers Halzle a true team player.

"Joey’s been here through summer workouts, through everything,” Johnson said.

by Jenni Carlson
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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Texas Tech at Oklahoma
→When: 7 p.m. Saturday

→Where: Gaylord Family — Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, Norman

→TV: ABC (Cox 8)

→Radio: KOKC-AM 1520, KRXO-FM 107.7


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