Miracle at Owens Field

Yes, I have seen a miracle.

It happened when I was growing up, approximately a thousand years ago,  and Norman High Senior Bill McClard kicked a record 56-yard field goal.

A friggin 56-yard field goal! In high school, for cryin’ out loud!

Let me put this into perspective. Dallas Cowboys’ kicker David Buehler is only 23 of 34 kicks in practice this year. Two of the misses were from 48 and 42 yards. And these misses were in practice.

McClard’s record kick was in an actual game on hallowed Owens Field, which used to be home of the mighty Norman Tigers as well as a little known college football team –the Oklahoma Sooners.

When McClard made that kick, the Earth stood still for budding football stars like me.

Naturally, when the game was over, I was gone like a shot, out of the stands, over the concrete wall and onto the playing field, right in the midst of hundreds of frenzied fans.

I forced myself through the crowd and got right in front of McClard, banged on his shoulder pads and shouted, “Great kick, Bill!”

And he said “Thanks”.

To this day I remember that and the glazed look on his face – the look of someone who has just done something impossible, even mystical.

While McClard and I were having our moment, my mother was going insane in the stands, as I was to hear MANY, MANY times later that night. She was afraid that her baby boy was going to be squashed like a June bug.

I don’t remember how long I was grounded. Probably a few years. But it did not matter. Because I had witnessed a miracle and communed with the miracle worker.

For years after that, my best friend Steve Madden and I kicked literally thousands of field goals on the Norman High practice field. Most of the time the clock was ticking down in the championship game. We were down by two points. And WE were Bill McClard.

And funnily enough, Steve went on to become a pretty good kicker at NHS himself. He even had a zip-up kicker’s cleat with a square rubber toe, pulled way back with a shoestring that was tied high up on his calf.

Just like Bill McClard. Legend. 

*In case you don’t remember him, go here and here for more information on the amazing Bill McClard.



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