Scientific monk: "Sooners football rots … usually’
Oklahoma University football is not merely a dynasty, it can be a legacy, but like many of the top sports program in the nation, it is more aptly considered a tradition. It is historically-correct for the Sooners to win football games and the occasional national title.
My brother, Isaac Harley, does not think Sooners football is completely void of redeeming aspects. Isaac has simply been forced, in countless situations, to think about the OU Sooners as their drunken entourage distracted him from his studies.
“I think that this state (Oklahoma) is so poor, poorly-run and poorly-managed, that they need a professional football team to finance their flagship university,” says Isaac. “That’s how I feel about the Sooners.”
These are volatile words back in our homeland, blasphemous. They are dangerous words for a computer science/general science double major to utter along the sun-burned lawns of the OU campus. Words that would undoubtedly land Isaac in immediate verbal combat, and might give him a football in the groin to boot.
“You get those nut jobs throwing footballs at you when you go to your office on game day. Little kids are running into you,” says Isaac. “You have 40-year-old men with beer bellies throwing footballs on the lawn of the computer science building.”
Isaac and I grew up with baseball, basketball and football. We collected football cards. When he was eight years old, Isaac wrote an illustrated story about a dream he had in which he was a professional basketball player.
However, Isaac has found himself in a different place lately. He’s on a path toward scientific discoveries, and he does not appreciate the current role of football.
“(Oklahoma) Football is really a religion. They got a whole temple there with iconography, and only certain people can enter,” says Isaac.
Isaac was once privileged enough to be allowed access to “the temple.”
“They have, you know, 12, 15-foot pictures of name-your-football-star. Bob Stoops. Whoever,” says Isaac. “And they (the athletic staff) ride around the campus in their golf carts, almost run into students and give people bad looks when they’re, you know, doing the main business of being in school, which is studying and walking between places of studying and going to class.”
Isaac may not be just like any other kid who grew up with gridiron dreams, but he ate mud pies with the best of ’em. He even likes beer. He prefers darker lagers to the oxymoron that is “light beer.”
Isaac admits that the football team doesn’t steal funds from the school of science to his knowledge.
“Certainly, it brings in money. I think it’s a net-income producer,” says Isaac. “Whereas, swimming is not (a net-income producer). With the Olympic-size swimming pool that they have there, there’s no swim team.”
However, Isaac thinks the quality of the education at OU would be better without the football squad.
“For the state, it probably does a better job. I mean, if the state’s goal is to have a somewhat-educated, reasoning-capable populace,” says Isaac. “But, I mean, if that was really their (the state’s) goal, they’d destroy the teachers’ union. There’s no competition, there’s no incentive to do better. It’s just a big, gigantic suck.”
Isaac doesn’t hang out with many of the players currently playing on the Sooners.
“I don’t know any of them personally, but they’re probably pretty big,” he says. “The running guy seemed to be good, and that one guy, Jason White, he won the Heisman … yeah.”
Isaac thinks that Sooners Head Football Coach Bob Stoops seems like a really nice guy, despite the fact that Stoops nearly ran Isaac’s roommate down in a golf cart.
“I saw him at a birthday party (for a woman afflicted with breast cancer) at the Governor’s Mansion,” said Isaac.
Toby Keith was also at the party.
“He’s got some views, there, and they’re pretty strong,” says Isaac. “He needs some different dancing shoes for his party wear because he was wearing these clog-sandals, and they weren’t maneuvering very well.”
Isaac used to wear a pair of cherry-red, old-school Chuck Taylor high tops, even after his toes popped out of the front. He still enjoys comic books, though he does not necessarily believe in “super powers.”
“Football’s just like any other spectator sport where people get unduly emotionally-attached to it and drink a lot,” says Isaac. “Some people run around on the field. A bunch of other people watch ’em, while drinking a lot. Then they go home and don’t talk to their wives for the next week when their team loses.”
Isaac thinks that the standard OU football fan is some guy, a business major or former business major, who drives some manner of truck or SUV.
“Beer belly imminent,” says Isaac.
Isaac attempted to define Sooners football in his own terms: “They had a great cartoon in the OU student paper, that I put up on my office door. It said, “Lost in a dungeon deep beneath our new multi-million dollar football stadium.’ Or something along those lines. And it was a picture of one of those bills like from “School House Rocks’ – like an “I’m an amendment to be’ thing. The bill was chained up to the wall and it looked like it had been beaten. It said, “OU academics.'”
Andrew Harley can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 610, or at email@example.com.