Our series on 100 Years of Oklahoman All-State teams came to life last week.
It happened in a very vivid, tangible and unexpected way.
Producing the series was gratifying for us as writers, and generated lots of fun and appreciative feedback from readers, for which we're thankful.
We received a wide variety of interesting stories and photos, like the pictures of the 1964 All-State game program, which Mark House of Mustang purchased at a garage sale a few years back.
The series prompted Forrest Bivens to dig out the scrapbook his mother kept for him during his senior season at Moore in 1972 when his teammate Paul Sturdivant was an All-State selection. Bivens still had the newspaper with the 1972 team listed, along with plenty of fascinating stories about the players on it.
Moments like that happened all over, with each new list of past All-State teams that we published — some of the stories we heard about, while most of them were shared in small-town doughnut shops or through a quick text message reminding someone of that cool thing that happened way back when.
But the 100 Years of All-State package really came to life for us last Monday in our office, when Vian football coach Brandon Tyler pulled a small memento out of his pocket.
It was a 1943 Oklahoman All-State ring. Not a big, shiny one like the Oklahoma Coaches Association gives its All-Staters these days.
It was small and tarnished, and the words inscribed on it were tiny, but the history it personified was real. You could feel it when you held the ring in your hand.
The ring was awarded to Tyler's grandfather, Richard Moseley, an All-Stater from Muskogee in 1943.
Moseley was a good player at Tulsa and had the potential to play pro ball until a kidney injury ended his career as a senior.
He died in 1977, and Tyler's grandmother gave him a box of Moseley's old football memorabilia. There were items from Moseley's days as a tight end at Tulsa, and several other artifacts — including that ring.
“I was 4 years old when he passed away, and my grandmother gave me all of his old football stuff,” Tyler said. “I didn't understand it much when I was 4, but he was a great football player, and it means a lot to me to have that stuff.”
To everyone who emailed, wrote or called to voice your appreciation and share your stories on the 100 Years of All-State series — and to those who happily followed the stories and lists in a less vocal way — we thank you. We're glad you enjoyed reading it.
And know that we enjoyed bringing it to much more.