Good to have Owen Field back. Good to feel like those days of yore (oh, 2000!). Good to get a win over a decent team.
A lot of the comments on my LSU post (mostly between me and one guy) focused on why people identify with a sports team to which they are connected in no reasonable way. I happen to think that it deals with identity in a way that reveals a great deal about the world and the people in it. I'll do a post on that soon, but I'll comment on tonight's game as a related discussion.
I'm a part of the University of Oklahoma. I did my undergrad here and will finish some graduate work before serving a mission (honorably? Only time will tell.) Its football team represents the University, and thus me, making a lot of the identity issues that come with it a lot less difficult to explain.
Nevertheless, I can't help but note that the team and I aren't connected in many meaningful ways. The team and I are part of the same university in some ways, but we're different in so many more. I'm a graduate student in political science, they're all undergrads. I work in the athletic dorms, but I don't really live in the same world as they do. They have their interests, I've got mine. We're not the same people. With the exception of gigantic lecture classes, I've never taken a class with an OU football player. Long story short: we all go to school in Norman, but we attend different universities.
But man. The crowd at the game was great today. Which actually isn't normal, in my eyes. The students are so critical of every imperfection that I just want to hit them. They don't get how good we've got it. We used to lose and lose and lose and lose, and not just to UCLA and TCU. We used to lose to Tulsa, and San Diego State, and (insert punching bag here).
(Now, am I the critical student with regard to the gospel? Discuss. Parenthetical statement count: 5)
The Big XII opener was tonight and it was amazing. The crowd was louder than the band by a country mile, the Sooner defense was suffocating, and Owen Field was shaking with delight. Just like the OU I know.
So, the point of this post. I've been feeling lately like OU is just pointless. The work is too easy and I'll never be motivated here. It's a means to an end of a mission and a better grad program with better faculty. I'm just killing time in Norman.
But, about five minutes before kickoff, the student section completes my favorite part of pregame pageantry. The national anthem is played, with the last line:"and the home.....of the.....SOONERS!" The team comes out onto the field to Boomer Sooner, the crowd is rocking, and Gary Glitter's "Rock and Roll Part Two" serves as a backdrop to a chant of "O", "U", "SOONERS!", "We're gonna beat the hell out of you".
My pulse is racing, I'm jumping up and down, yelling with my comrades in arms, and the nasty little thought creeps into my head:
"Man, why did I ever want to leave?"
Because of a football game.
See, that's the thing about identities. I may hate the mediocre department here, I may hate the provincial attitudes of the folks at the ward, I may hate the stupid football fans that don't appreciate a winner, I may hate the beer cans that people leave on campus every game day, and I may hate the fact that life success here is defined in terms that I simply could not care less about (primarily, money and its acquisition). But, hate it or not, I'm still a Sooner.
Being a Sooner is like being Mormon: if you want the Big XII openers, you get the beer cans with no beer left in them.