Thursday, March 18, 2010

Boomer Buckeye

In 1977, the Oklahoma Sooners came to Columbus, Ohio to play the Ohio State Buckeyes in what was a wonderful football game.  Before that game, I was a bit twisted between my original love of the Oklahoma Sooners football program (I grew up in Oklahoma and went to OU one semester) and my much more recent love for the Ohio State Buckeyes.   At the time I was a thorough-going Buckeye fan but I hadn't exactly abandoned my affection for the Sooners (or Illinois or Rice, for that matter).  In honor of that, the week before the game I revised the Oklahoma fight song to reflect my current loyalty and sang it to anyone who didn't stop me.  It went:

"Boomer Buckeye"

Boomer Buckeye, Boomer Buckeye,
Boomer Buckeye, Boomer Buckeye,
Boomer Buckeye, Boomer Buckeye,
Boomer Sooner, O-S-U!

I'm a Sooner born
And a Sooner bred,
But when I die
I'll be Buckeye dead.

Rah, Ohio! Rah, Ohio!
Rah, Ohio! O-S-U!
Those familiar with the song will know I deleted one of the verses, the problem with it being that "Oklahoma" has 4 syllables and "Ohio" just three which wreaks havoc with the meter.

That game was remarkable in one important respect.  Ohio State went down 20-0 and most Buckeye fans must have thought the game was over since Woody Hayes' teams didn't have an ability to come from behind.  So did ABC as they switched their national coverage to another game.    Coming from behind that far normally requires throwing a pass or two.  In fact, the Buckeyes scored 28 consecutive points while passing 6 times for 29 yards -- a typical Woody passing attack.  We eventually lost by a field goal. After that game, I decided that I was finished with my lingering affection for the Sooners.  They had drawn Buckeye blood and I wanted to see Sooner blood.  Fortunately, OSU beat OU in Norman, Oklahoma.

I actually went to Oklahoma for one semester, the last semester in which they were undefeated in their 47 game winning streak.  The next year, I watched Oklahoma lose to Notre Dame, a school I had already lost all respect for, by 7-0.  Oklahoma couldn't run the ball against the Domers and had no passing game -- indeed they had to turn to their 4th string QB, a kid I knew from my home town, to try to move the ball through the air.  He couldn't get it done either.

I developed almost all my collegiate sports attitudes while growing up in Oklahoma.  Besides my affection for Oklahoma football and Oklahoma Aggie (now Cowboy) basketball, I developed a love for the far away Big Ten.  My dad traveled to Champaign-Urbana from Enid, Oklahoma to go to college and became a wrestler on their Big Ten championship team, and played one year as a scrub on Red Grange's football team.  He made two friends their, two brothers from Illinois, one of whom later became an uncle.  Both which came back to Oklahoma to live their lives.  Later on, I went to the University of Illinois to teach linguistics and before school started my first year I was tackled on the quadrangle by this same uncle's son, with whom I was very close growing up.  I met my wife at Illinois, where she got a a PhD and my kid was born there.  It is hard to hate the University of Illinois, whatever nasty thing they do to the Buckeyes.

As I said, I developed as disdain for Notre Dame very early.  This was due to my listening to what became a famous ND vs Iowa game in which Notre Dame, out of time outs, faked injuries both at the end of the first half and the second half to stop the clock.  In both cases they scored to tie the game, first at 7-7, and then at 14-14.  I was outraged.  The next year a new rule was passed forbidding teams to fake injuries.  This was widely seen as directed at the Fainting Irish.  So, on top of being cheaters, they had the temerity to stop the Oklahoma winning streak.  I latter learned how that streak started.  Before the first win, there was a tie.  Before that there was a loss to, you guessed it, Notre Dame.

And now there is talk that we might add the Fainting Irish to the Big Ten.  The only thing the Fainting Irish have going for them any more is their independence.  Sadly, they are not even the best independent team.  That would be Navy.  They might as well join.

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