Friday, November 30, 2007

Oklahoma, Part Seven

Here are parts one, two, three, four, five, and six. Click any photo for larger.

Not far from the ROTC building on the OU campus was the football stadium. Some of you may remember that I have mentioned before something about my childhood. For whatever reason when I lived in Rockford, IL we always received the Big 8 game of the week. Probably a result of how the TV deals were structured back then, before the days of ESPN and other cable networks. In fact, we didn't have cable at all where I lived. IIRC Keith Jackson usually did the play by play and these games were usually on ABC.

As a result of this I got to see Oklahoma a lot and became somewhat of a fan. These Big 8 games were my first introduction to big time organized college football. I absolutely loved the wishbone offense that OU ran. To this day I am still a huge fan of the "wish" and any other offense that utilizes some sort of option. Needless to say I am thrilled with the Illini's offense this year, an option attack (it is almost like a T formation at times) combined with the occasional pass play.

With all of this rolling around in my head I came upon what I remember as being called "Owen Field" as a youngster. The name has changed a bit, but the place is the same. The first thing I saw was this memorial to the fallen of OU in all wars.
It was a somber place and reminded me that football isn't the end-all, ever. I think it was a nice gesture to put this place next to the football stadium so lots of people have to walk by it every football Saturday. This day, a Monday, I was alone in giving the dead a moment of silence.
From the memorial I moved forward to the main gate. The Gaylord Family must have thrown a ton of money into their stadium renovation fund as that name was plastered all over the place.
I went inside and saw a security officer at the front desk. I politely asked him if I could enter the stadium and snap a few quick photos. He was less than enthused about this and I just said "never mind" and walked away. I had my own plans.

I remembered that the previous Saturday there had been a game between OU and Texas A and M. The cleanup crews and maintenance people were all over the place and nobody really seemed to care about what I was up to. The doors were wide open, so I simply walked in. Here is a shot of the underside of the east stands. It would be pretty cool to park INSIDE the stadium on game day, but I can't imagine how much those spots would go for. They are probably all for staff anyway.

The ramps to the seating areas were all gated shut so I sauntered through here for a while looking like I owned the place, waving to security guards as they passed. They waved back and really didn't seem to care about me too much. I finally got to the end of the stadium. No luck getting in for a few photos.

Then I stood around at the end of the stadium and observed. Students were using a short cut through the end stands to get from one place to another. I followed one and before I knew it, voila! I was in. More to come.


Carl from Chicago said...

that last photo of the stadium is great if I were a sooner I'd blow it up and put it on the wall. you need to sneak on the field in champaign some time

Also probably ought to make an "oklahoma" category on the sidebar so people can find these

Gerry from Valpo said...

I really miss Keith Jackson.

Wooooa Nellieee....Hold the phone. This one looks like a real barn burner.