NHS Grandstand Boozers And Alvan’s Army

Grandstand boozers

Norman High School’s Grandstand Boozers

I was not much of a joiner at Norman High School.

I played football, and that was about it.

But I was a proud member of two organisations that will go down in infamy: the Grandstand Boozers and Alvan’s Army.

Both involved massive amounts of basketball, testosterone and adult beverages.

Not necessarily in that order.

First, background on the Grandstand Boozers.

When you played NHS Tiger football, you didn’t worry about getting detention or expelled.

You worried about the coach benching you, or even kicking you off the team.

So you had to behave in public AND keep your hair short, even in the Seventies, for crying out loud.

But after football was over our senior year, we grew our hair long and prepared for basketball season.

The Grandstand Boozers had been around for years, cheering on the Tigers from the north end and occasionally chucking a piano onto the basketball court below.

As seniors, we committed ourselves to taking Boozers’ obnoxiousness to a new level.

If we had the refs and opposing players worrying, even for a split second that we might, oh I don’t know, kidnap their families, then we had done our jobs.

To prove we more than loud and obnoxious, we created the Grandstand Boozers Million Dollar Kazoo Marching Band and Precision Drill Team (GSBMDKMBAPDT).

We’d even worked out an actual movement in the stands, where several members could change places without falling down,  while simultaneously playing kazoos.

Epic, I know, at least for 17-year-old Okie boys.

I have no idea what our Senior basketball team’s record was but, in all modesty, I’m sure several wins were due to our antics.

Sadly, there are no videos of us.  They would have been excellent teaching aids for our children and grandchildren.

“See that. Do NOT behave like that. Now go get me a beer.”

Alvan’s Army

Then we moved on to a much bigger stage.

Key members of the Grandstand Boozers created Alvan’s Army.

If you don’t know, Alvan Adams was an All-America Center who played for Oklahoma University from ’72-’75.

Alvan Adams

We loved Alvan to death. And 15-20 of Norman High’s finest, who were usually running on high octane liquids, became an annoying force to be reckoned with.

We sat directly beneath the south basket in OU’s tiny Field House.

The pull-out bleachers were only about five feet from the out of bounds line. We could literally reach out and touch the opposition.

And by “opposition” I mainly mean the “refs”.

Alvans-army

On one legendary night, a founding member of Alvan’s Army, who we will not name because he grew up to be a Deacon or something, was in full flight.

At a critical point, the ref made a really bad call on Alvan. 

Directly in front of us.

Todd, the guy who I did not name above, stomped to the edge of the basketball court and slammed his nylon jacket to the ground.

It sort of bull-whipped, with the bottom metal snap striking the Zebra who’d made the terrible call directly on his honker nose.

Really, really hard.

Now, I have seen people get angry before. I have seen people come unglued before.

But I have never, ever, seen a grown man, in front of a sold-out Field House crowd, turn bright red and prepare to kill one of my obnoxious friends  with his bare hands.

It was just so great.

Todd quickly back-pedaled deep into Alvan’s Army, and the angry ref walked away.

I can’t recall if this was the same game that Todd annoyed an opponent so much that he threw a basketball right at his head.

It was epic, nonetheless.

But nothing was as epic as Sports Illustrated devoting an entire paragraph to Alvan’s Army. Or when Alvan’s Army memorabilia was immortalised at Lloyd Noble Centre.

That was pretty darn epic.

Highly valuable Alvan's Army battle dress

Alvan’s Army battle dress. (Gary Harper photo)

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