10 Boomer Sooner Childhood Memories

As the Sooners get ready to tear it up, I thought I’d go down Memory Lane for a bit and come up with 10 Boomer Sooner Memories.

1. My Cleveland Cougars won the Norman City Championship when I was in sixth grade, which was pretty awesome.  But that was nowhere near as cool as playing pick-up games at Owens Field on Saturday mornings in the mid-60s.  You could just walk right in, just like the Sooners did, which made us total studs.

NHS Tiger 1973

NHS 1973

2. Turf burns were a right of passage.  The serious ones, requiring medical attention, came when we played 4-A Norman High Tiger football in the early Seventies. Mr. Quinn, the NHS trainer, would spray your wounds with some kind of napalm derivative that burned like fire and stained your skin yellow for months. It was like having a totally stud tattoo.

3.  I got to see a million impossibly great plays over the year by guys named Pruitt, Washington and Selmon.  But even before them, back in the Sixties, I watched NHS’ Bill McClard kick an impossible 56-yard field goal.  I got in BIG trouble with my parents because hundreds of us ran onto the field to congratulate McClard, but it was worth it.  Football studs have to hang together.

4.  On Sunday mornings after a home game, the Sooner players would lazily jog a few laps around the field.  They were always dressed in sweats and spending a lot more effort razzing each other than actually running. We’d be in the stands, watching and listening.  I happily remember one comment aimed at a star running back from way across the field.  “Uh-huh, I hear yo’ fat mouth flappin’ over there Peacock.”  Note: this is how total stud Sooner football players bond.  I took notes.

5.  I was never any good at physics.  But I know when I see something that’s impossible.  And watching the Puh-Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiide of Oklahoma marching band being led onto the field by that awesome drum major, as he kicked his white shoes way high, while he was bent over backwards, with his big fuzzy hat about an inch off the turf, well, that just defied the laws of gravity.  He was awesome.  I bet he had a really small wheel on top of his hat.

6.  I had not one, but two uncles who at one time or another were in charge of concessions at OU games.  This is why I was allowed to sell goobers when I was barely big enough to lift the metal basket.  Every year I sold goobers or popcorn or hot dogs to make money for Christmas presents. More importantly, I got to watch every home game for free.

7. If I tear up on this memory, forgive me.  Because, after almost half a century, I could write a book about the OU-Nebraska Game of the Century.  I was so mad at the INJUSTICE of it all (“Ref, didn’t you see that clips?”), that I contemplated doing a very, very bad thing. Several hours after the game, I was still hanging out in the stands. I was probably the only person left in the stadium, except for the ABC sportscaster who was doing a live interview on the sidelines with some stupid Cornhusker.  I was about 40 yards away, and I had in my hand a big, fat, orange.  I thought to myself, “the stadium is pitch black.  I bet I could peg that stupid Husker right in the head and be gone before he knew what happened.” But, for one of the few times in my young life, I did not do something stupid.  I just dropped the “Orange Bowl” orange and went home.  But even now, part of me wishes I’d pegged that ‘Husker, right in his National Championship Stealing Husker head.

8.  Remember Steve Owens, who just happened to win the 1969 Heisman trophy?  Somehow one of my friends ended up with his double chinstrap.  I’m sure that the Heisman winner willingly gave it to my friend.  But there is reasonable doubt.  After OU games, a bunch of young boys would stalk players as they walked off the field toward their locker rooms. We’d ask for autographs and sweat bands and stuff.  And some youngsters, who shall remain nameless, occasionally grabbed a chinstrap and disappeared into the crowd. It was risky. But you have no idea how cool it was playing neighborhood games wearing Steve Owens’ chinstrap.  Or so I hear.

9. Remember earlier, back at No. 7, when I mentioned the story about NOT throwing the orange and hitting the stupid Husker after the 1971 Game of the Century? Well, there was this other time when I did do something stupid. After every game, we’d get paid for picking up the rented “chairbacks”.  My friends and I would, at some point, go to the very top row of the stadium and then see who could sail a chairback the farthest.  Now, these were made of canvass over a steel frame, so they were not particularly light or aerodynamic.  But if you got a really good throw, and the Oklahoma wind was howling, you could really launch one.  Which I did once, and it hit a guy way down below, right in the back.  Sir, if you are reading this from your wheelchair, I am truly sorry.

10. But perhaps my coolest Owens Field memories were getting to use the OU locker room when my Norman Tigers had home games.  Before taking the field, you had to touch the sign over he door that said “Play like a champion today.”  We knew that generations of great Sooner players had touched that, just like we were. It gave me chills.  But about a million times cooler than touching the sign, was standing right in front of Joe Washington’s locker.  I was completely in awe.  And I admit breaking the rules.  We had been warned that if we touched or broke or took anything, we would be banned from ever using the Sooner locker room again. Even so, I reached out and touched the magic silver shoes that made Little Joe fly. After all these years, that still takes my breath away. Boomer Sooner!

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Click here for a memory of Bobby Barry, Jr. 




2 Responses to “10 Boomer Sooner Childhood Memories”

  1. J-P says:

    ULM – I know right???

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