Last week I exchanged emails with a guy who said he was a platoon leader in Vietnam. He referenced Lyndon Johnson and Robert McNamara to make a very interesting point about hierarchy and leadership in college athletics.
He and I don’t share experiences, obviously, but we can still share communication. We can take the time to have a brief discussion, albeit electronically, and to consider some things heretofore unconsidered.
I don’t know, there might be something to this.
Anyway that was a highlight from my week. There were others…
This made me laugh
Standing outside the Reynolds Center an hour before last Thursday night’s Tulsa-Cincinnati tipoff, keeping warm by a fire built by TU students Andrew Mangan, Jordan Sosa, Hunter Hart, Tyler Stalcup and Eric Sullivan, and listening to the story of their campout.
Sullivan spread word Wednesday that there was a ticket shortage for the game, and if you wanted to get in the arena you’d better show up the night before. There was no shortage, of course. There hasn’t been a TU basketball ticket shortage since Bill Self left town.
But Sullivan figured it was the best way he could get fellow students out for a real live college experience.
“I’ve been looking for an excuse to camp out since my freshman year, so I was super excited whenever I saw the event on Facebook,” said Hart, a senior from Owasso. “I didn’t believe the part about limited tickets, but I didn’t care.”
They had 40-50 students around the fire pit at peak campout Wednesday night. Everyone, according to the five I met Thursday, had a cool time.
“I’ll probably try and rally it up next year,” said Mangan, a junior from Hot Springs, Arkansas. “Maybe it’ll be an annual thing.”
“Maybe get a sponsor,” said Stalcup, a junior from St. Louis.
“Maybe do it when it’s warmer,” Sullivan laughed.
“If the Tulsa World wants to donate steaks, “ Mangan said, “we’ll gladly cook ’em.”
This made me think
Oklahoma State announced last Wednesday that Mike Gundy’s contract had been extended through 2023. The most interesting part of OSU’s press release was Gundy’s statement:
“Outside of my family, coaching football at Oklahoma State is the biggest part of who I am. I’m more energized and excited about Cowboy Football than at any time during my career. I appreciate the continued support of President Hargis, Coach Holder, the Board of Regents and the OSU fan base. Our players start winter conditioning on Monday and I’m chomping at the bit to get back into spring ball in March.”
“Energized.” “Excited.” “Chomping at the bit.”
Anyone notice a pattern here?
Gundy isn’t just battling a climb back from OSU’s 7-6 2017 season. He’s battling the perception he has become stale after 14 years as trail boss.
Bill Haisten tackled the topic in a recent column. He recalled Gundy’s first bout with burnout occurred in 2014. He discovered a quote Gundy used in the spring of 2015 to signal a comeback: “I’m just as energized now as when I started. I hit a wall and I kind of fell off, but I’ve broken through now.”
I assume Gundy’s use of “energized,” not to mention “excited” and “chomping at the bit,” is his signal four years later.
This made me cry
The Dallas Morning News lost two long-serving sports writers last Monday when layoffs struck again. One used to cover the Sooners when the Morning News had the resources to do so.
The Morning News used to cover everything. I remembered that Monday.
I remembered one gorgeous spring Sunday morning in Dallas maybe 25 years ago.
I was there for work and walked over to a cafe for breakfast. They had a Morning News available for diners.
They had a Sunday Morning News!!
I grabbed it and asked for a seat on the back patio. They sat me outside, took my order and then pretty much let me bask for the next two hours. Just me, my omelet, some orange juice, a pair of shades and the Morning News sports section.
It remains one of the best mornings I’ve ever spent on the road.
It was page after page of information and insight, pro and college. The Cowboys, Rangers and Mavericks were big — heck you could read five pages on the Cowboys alone — but the paper hadn’t lost track of its college readers yet. Texas, A&M, OU, a little TCU and SMU… They touched on them all, even in springtime.
Seriously, I was there two hours just to get cover to cover.
Now that takes a lot less time. They don’t have the staff to cover the colleges any longer. They barely have the staff to cover the Cowboys.
They do the best they can with what dedicated and talented reporters and writers they have. I know some of them. It is inspiring to see them persevere.
It’s just that last week I thought of the ones no longer there. I thought about my old pal from the OU beat.
What he’d give to write for the old Morning News again. What I’d give to read it again.