I had never before witnessed Bedlam in Stillwater in person.
As I’ve said elsewhere on this website, my only Bedlam in person was 1980 in Norman, when Switzer put the starting defense back in the game to try and keep OSU from scoring…it was 63-0 at the time. Not the fondest memory for a Cowboy fan.
My two clearest memories of Bedlam are
- 1976, when I was 14 yrs old jumping back and forth on the hotel beds in Atlanta getting ready for a wedding, waiting for the score to flash at the bottom of the screen;
- 1988, when I, along with my parents and my childhood best friend with his parents (they are Sooner fans), sat in a hotel room in LA and watched “The Drop.”
I had not been on campus since Oct 1981…I left school for two years, returning to school and graduating elsewhere…and my last football game was Sept 26, 1981.
I got Mom ready to go, then drove to my niece’s home in Owasso to meet my brother (Richard) and drop off Mom. Richard and I left around 12:45 and Mom went to my brother’s home with my sister-in-law to watch the game.
When Richard and I first arrived around 2pm, our first order of business was shopping. I don’t get much opportunity to buy OSU stuff in Connecticut, and online buying is iffy since you can’t touch before you buy.
We quickly walked the couple of blocks from our parking spot to Chris’ University Shop, where “marital” relatives of my brother work. When I say I was on OSU overload would be an understatement.
After donating to the local economy, we made our way back to our truck to deposit the loot and prepare for game. Weather had been a huge concern coming in, but mother nature cooperated nicely.
We then wondered a bit…I had to make a pilgrimage to Eskimo Joe’s, given that the last time I was there, in 1981, I don’t actually remember being there….nuff said.
Richard, who is 18 yrs my senior, was a Lamba Chi, so we had to make our way to the old fraternity house and pay homage to the building where he spent many a night, I presume sleeping…
A quick pass by Theta Pond to confirm it is still one of the most
toxic beautiful places on campus.
Past the Library, where I spent many days (as well as the Colvin Annex) hanging out on the wall above the fountain (instead of going to class).
A trip to the remodeled Student Union and the hotel, where Richard spent many a work study hour.
Then it was time to meet Gina.
Gina Mizell, OSU beat reporter for the Daily Oklahoman, wrote a story mid-season that featured my 92 yr old mom…
Mom is ready for Bedlam!
Gina was kind enough to say she would meet us if possible, so we communicated via email to track her down in front of “The End Zone.” While waiting for Gina to finish a TV spot, we ran into the Tulsa World’s Bill Haisten, who was waiting for his turn after Gina finished. We introduced ourselves, and what followed were two wonderfully warm and genuine conversations with “local” celebrities.
Bill, Richard, and I discussed the game and a little bit of our respective histories. We gave him some of our story, how long it had been since either of us were there, and how exciting AND surreal it was being back on campus for the big event. Bill asked “Have you had your picture taken together since you got here?” We said no, so he gladly took several pics with both of our phones….thanks, Bill, for our only picture of the two of us from that day…
It was then Gina’s turn to endure some of the story…and she responded like a champ. Thanks again, Gina, for making my mother’s year, and we are so glad you are a part of the OSU family!
This one's for you, Mom!
After that, Richard and I (and, unbeknownst to us, Gina) made our way to “The Walk.” Fortunately she found some other fans to mingle with nearby, so we didn’t have to call security…
We easily found a place on the curb and waited for the parade. There were several feeble attempts by a “well oiled” fan to start the “ORANGE – POWER” cheer, but it just wouldn’t take off.
As with most events, the starting time was only an estimate.
About 5pm things got moving, and soon Pistol Pete came into sight…
Sorry for the blury pic...
Then the drum corp…
Then the players, many of whom had VERY intense looks on their faces…
Then it was time to head towards the stadium. This was my first close up look at BPS…WOW…
After that, it was a brief visit with a high school classmate whose son, Derek Branson, made the team as a walk-on…
The proud father!
Then it was time to enter Cowboy Cathedral. If heaven don’t look a lot like this, then I don’t want to go…
My very own "Field of Dreams"
After scarfing down a couple of stadium dogs for old times sake, we arrived in our seats about an hour before game time. The student section was packed and the rest of the stadium steadily filled. When the couple who owned the two seats we purchased on Stub Hub showed up (they have 4 all together), the first words out of their mouths were “Thank God you’re wearing orange! Our friends here would have never forgiven us if Sooner fans had bought those tickets.”
People chatted and milled around until about 15 minutes before the game and you could sense the excitement, but once everyone sat down the intesity level was immediately off the charts. The tension was understandable…after all, we are OSU fans. What was going to happen? Was OU going to play like the Green Bay Packers? Was OSU going to hand out footballs like “grand opening” coupons?
After falling behind 10-0, OU mounted it’s best drive of the game, moving all the way to the Cowboy 19, where they faced a 3rd down. A score of any kind here would have kept the entire Cowboy Nation anxiously on the edge of their seats. What happened next put the entire Cowboy Nation into a state of hysteria never before experienced on this campus.
Former Heisman contender Landry Jones dropped back to pass…the RB in protection chose NOT to p/u blitzing LB Alex Elkins, who ambushed Jones and caused a fumble that conveniently bounced into the hands of Jamie Blatnik in full stride, and he would not be caught until reaching the OU 1 yd line. The sound and emotion that came forth from that place was like nothing I’ve ever experienced, and will probably never experience again. The tension had been released.
Richard, as I’m sure many fans were also, was still reluctant to take a breath, even after OSU went into the half leading 24-3. We all knew that lead was far from safe.
The Cowboys quickly added 3 pts to their lead, then settled down to take what we thought would be the Sooner’s best shot at a comeback. What ensued was reminiscent of some of Squinky’s best work.
Former Heisman contender (did I repeat myself) Landry Jones dropped back to toss a simple bubble screen towards the OSU sideline. With an OSU lineman baring down on him, Jones made a perfect throw…at least he did with his arm, because the ball chose to hop off at the top of his motion. Richetti Jones did his best to provide Chris Berman an opportunity for one of his patented “Three Stooges, fumblin, rumblin, stumblin” calls, but recovered soon enough to pick up the loose ball in the end zone for a touchdown.
The Cowboys would add 10 more pts to end the 3rd qtr leading 44-3. That remind you of ANY other games this year? Maybe several?
At that point, not only did OSU take the foot off the gas, but SO DID THE SOONERS! That’s how NOT close this game was…even OU said “ok, that’s enough.” The Sooners started running the ball as if they led 44-3 and were trying to run out the clock. The only appearance of the “Bell-dozer” was with a little over 2 minutes left in the game, and resulted in a 30 yd TD run by yours truly. When asked in the post-game presser if he thought OU should have run some of that earlier in the game, since it resulted in a TD, Stoops responded “Touchdown? As far as I’m concerned we didn’t score a touchdown. That came with about 2 minutes left in the game and their 2nd and 3rd teamers were on the field. No, as far as I’m concerned, we didn’t score a touchdown tonight.” Wouldn’t want to be a part of spring practice at OU next year…think I’d rather go to Boot Camp.
As expected, about 30 seconds BEFORE time actually ran out, this happened…
Within five minutes, this…notice anything missing from this picture?
It was everything I could have dreamed of, save the tragic loss to Iowa St 2 weeks ago. The halftime tribute with the playing of “Amazing Grace” by both bands was special. From the time we got to our seats until the field was completely engulfed with revelers, I never moved other than to stand up or sit down.
Sometime in the 1st half, I received the following direct message on Twitter from the Tulsa World’s Kelly Hines:
Hey, I want to include you in my fan story. Is there any way I can call you immediately after the game? Or you can call me? XXX-XXX-XXXX
We had a brief exchange where of course I agreed to cooperate.
As the 4th quarter began, we had the following exchange:
If you’re able to call before the game ends that would be great. Considering the score, I can get a head start on my story. If not it’s fine
Can’t hear a thing where I am, & given how long I’ve waited for this moment, I won’t be leaving early. Do you still want me to call after?
I figured, no worries. Yeah, call after.
We spoke as Richard and I walked to the truck. It was a bit rough as Kelly was down on the field (couldn’t hear a thing) and her cell service kept cutting out, but she was patient and kind, and even texted and called me back after we were on the road to ask one last question.
The 2 1/2 hr ride home didn’t seem that long, between the post game radio conversation and keeping up with the whirlwind Twitter feed.
It was an experience I will never forget, and one that I will forever share with 58,140 Cowboy brothers and sisters.
The day OSU beat OU for a championship.