A little more than 25 years ago, my grandpa took me to my first University of Oklahoma football game. It was Sept. 20, 1986, and the Sooners were playing the Golden Gophers of Minnesota. I was only 8 years old at the time, but still remember several things about that day.
I didn’t know I was going to the game until the very last minute. My grandfather stumbled into a pair of tickets the morning of the game. He figured the best companion would be his sports-obsessed grandson. He was right. For me, going to an OU game was a dream come true. The fact that I got to go with my grandfather made it even better.
OU shut out the Gophers, 63-0. What’s sad is that I remember trivial facts like the score of an obscure football game from the 1980s, yet I can’t remember normal things like if I took my heartburn medication or who was eliminated on the last episode of Survivor. Yeah, screw you. I still watch Survivor.
I also remember watching Brian Bosworth. If you are naïve enough to think that college athletes are not role models, then you should hop in a time machine and have a chat with 8-year-old Patrick. After that game, I wanted the Boz’s haircut, cool name and to wear No. 44 on my jersey for the Southside Chiefs Pee Wee football team. Unfortunately, the coach’s son took it. That was my first exposure to nepotism.
I bring that game up because I consider it the day I was officially inducted into the Society of Sooner Football Fanatics. But now, just over 25 years later, I’m thinking it’s about time to turn in my membership card.
I’m not sure why, but over the past few years I’ve lost a lot of interest in Oklahoma Sooners football. Sure, I still plan my autumn Saturdays around kick-offs and tailgates, and yes, I still get pumped when the Sooners win and depressed when they lose, but the feeling I used to have that OU football was the most important thing in life has kind of vanished.
Five years ago I could name the back-up center and who was redshirting a free safety. Now I need someone to remind me the name of the starting running back. I used to get mad when someone would try to talk to me during a game; now I spend half of the game checking text messages and posting comments on Twitter.
I’ve been trying to figure out the reason for this sudden lack of interest in the team. I’ve blamed everything from complacency to a lack of time to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Hell, I almost convinced myself that I’ve grown more mature, but considering I still watch Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Family Guy, that can’t be the culprit.
I guess I can’t really pinpoint the exact reason why I’m no longer an OU super fan – it’s probably a combination of many things – but here’s something I do know. As long as I’m able to remember (and appreciate) those days like Sept. 20, 1986, I’m totally fine with it. Who knows? Maybe someday I’ll take my own grandson to his first OU game. Maybe he’ll become an OU fan like I once was. That would be totally worth it.
Keep up with Patrick’s evolving thoughts on Sooner football at www.thelostogle.com.