Hurray! We’re headed back to the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament! And though we’ve made it quite a few times in the last years, it feels like the first in a very long time. I went to the OSU-Kansas game with hub last week. The first time in many years. While we did lose, it felt like we won. The arena was packed; my ears were buzzing; and at the end of the game my throat was so sore I couldn’t talk.
It took me right back to the days when we didn’t always win, but always seemed to get significantly better. Back to feeling that we always had a shot to make it all the way. Back to the frenzy of being on the sidelines when Big Country made his infamous half-court shot against Missouri (Jason Sutherland is still the player I most despise, though at this point I couldn’t even tell you why). Back to the excitement of camping out all night to get tickets to the Final Four in Seattle (and later learning that the ticket office wasn’t supposed to sell us those tickets and wanted them back!).
Back to the deafening roars of the Cincinnati game in the new arena (probably I remember this one so clearly not so much because it was the very loudest time I’ve ever been in GIA, but because everyone who attended got sparkly silver pom-poms). Back to those Sunday afternoons, driving home from Kansas City, listening to the tournament selection show, hoping superstitiously to get put into an East Rutherford, NJ, region.
And that is what watching this team feels like—hopeful. If you want to brush up on the historic Cowboy Basketball tradition, come by for these titles:
· “Oklahoma State University: history-making basketball” by Michael McKenzie. Read about the events and people who created the tradition of Cowboy basketball. The book starts pre-Iba and follows the program through Kurland, Haskins, Hartman, Hansen, Hamilton, Starks and Houston up to the beginning of the Sutton era.
· “Mr. Iba: Basketball's Aggie Iron Duke” by John Paula Bischoff. Bischoff relays Iba’s career in Stillwater as a national championship winning coach and athletic director. Included are discussions of his innovative basketball plays that are still in use today.
· Track 8 of “Voices of Oklahoma” where you can hear a 1972 interview of Coach Iba discussing Olympic strategy. He sounds tough, just like his teams were.
A few titles have either been retired due to condition or not ordered for the library, so if you have a copy of the following books, please consider donating them to the library:
· “He Got It! My Life with Bill Teegins” by Janis Teegins and Bob Burke
· “Living My Dreams: 1965 OSU Cowboy’s Big Eight Basketball Champions” by Gene Johnson
· “Tournament Town Kansas City: Where the Basketball Madness Began” by Blair Kerkhoff
See you in Phoenix! (I have just knocked on both a piece of real wood and my head, so I am allowed to say that. However, this does also take me back to the one downside of OSU basketball fanaticism—the rigorous and detailed actions hub and I had to take during each and every game and the words we were and were not allowed to say during the season, so as not to tempt fate. OH! And the hoarding! Didn’t like my frenetic hoarding of every scrap of OSU basketball memorabilia. This hopeful feeling is still worth it, though!