Welcome to the refreshed Cowboys Ride For Free! To celebrate the new look and feel of our sports communities, we’re sharing stories of how and why we became fans of our favorite teams. If you’d like to share your story, head over to the FanPosts section here to write your own post. Each FanPost will be entered into a drawing to win a $500 Fanatics gift card. Rules and information are here. We’re collecting all of the stories here and featuring the best ones across our network as well. Come Fan With Us!
Bedlam football is the crown jewel of collegiate sporting events in Oklahoma. Every year, families are split down the middle and are forced to pick a side: Orange and Black or Crimson and Cream. Without being too cliché, the game holds so much meaning for those from the state. If you’re not part of it, then you just can’t understand it.
I grew up in the heart of Sooner country; Edmond, OK. Born in 1995, I was forced to go through my early years of elementary school hearing about the Sooners’ national championship run in 2000 from all of my best friends. Everybody was impressionable, and nobody liked the Cowboys. Oklahoma was coming off a national championship in 2000, an 11-2 season in 2001, a 12-2 season in 2002, a 12-2 season in 2003 in which they won the Big 12 and made the National Championship game, and another 12-2 season in 2004 in which they won the Big 12 and made the National Title game again.
Oklahoma was awesome, and Oklahoma State was not. The Sooners were arguably the best program in the country at the time, and we were an afterthought. During the same years of OU’s run, OSU put up season records of 3-8 (2000), 4-7 (2001), 8-5 (2002), 9-4 (2003), and 7-5 (2004).
It was so easy to like OU as a nine-year-old kid, and it was against the social norm to root for the Cowboys. As a seven-year-old kid, I almost fell into the trap.
Growing Up A Cowboy
Both of my parents graduated from Oklahoma State in 1992. My dad was a Sig Ep, and my mom a Kappa Delta. To say OSU is in my blood might be a tad dramatic, especially considering I never attended OSU (we’ll address that soon). But it’s absolutely true. Beyond my parents, both of my dad’s brothers went to OSU, and my best friend in high school eventually went to OSU because of me, or so he says.
My parents were huge Cowboy football and basketball fans. I played the sports growing up, and loved them. I was entrenched in the game, and their love for OSU athletics made it so easy for me to follow along with them. Over the years, it became a family tradition. We picked out season tickets every year, and went to nearly every home game in 2004 and 2005. We moved away in 2006-2007 (which is why I now go to UMKC), but since then, we’ve had season tickets every year. I could count the home football games we’ve missed over the last decade on one hand.
The first Cowboy football game I attended in Stillwater was against Texas Tech in 2003 (I know, I got lucky). What a first football game it was. Oklahoma State and Tech traded touchdowns and turnovers en route to a 51-49 Cowboy win. It was an incredible environment that had me hooked immediately. The game is one of the classic installments of the rivalry, and I was lucky enough to take part in it.
Over the next year, I became infatuated with OSU football. We watched every game, went to a few home games, and I came to love Saturdays because I knew it meant OSU was playing. Part of my love for OSU football is because of how it brought my family together for four hours every week. We did a good job of that anyways, but it was always that one “thing” we always did together.
On October 30, 2004, I cried like the nine-year-old child I was. Between the first home game I’d attended nearly a year before and this day, I developed a passion and love for Oklahoma State. What happened on October 30, 2004, you ask?
Adrian Peterson happened.
It was another classic Bedlam. Back-and-forth all day, and neither team could stop the other. Peterson had 249 yards on 33 carries, and rattled off an 80-yard touchdown run that all of us assuredly remember. But Oklahoma State would not go away.
A Vernand Morency touchdown with 11 minutes left cut the second-ranked OU lead to 38-35. The momentum completely swung toward OSU, and it felt like if the Cowboys could just score one more time, they’d steal a Bedlam win.
With ten seconds left, OSU set up Jason Ricks for a 49-yard field goal from the left hash.
Good snap. Good hold. Wide right.
From our seats, I thought it went in. I went ballistic. I then looked over at my dad and saw the horror on his face. That’s when I realized we’d lost. I cried and cried and cried. It was the first time I’d felt heartbreak for an OSU loss. I’ll submit that that afternoon cemented my fandom forever.
On the hardwood in the same year, I jumped for joy when John Lucas knocked out St. Joseph to advance to the Final Four. I fell to the floor in agony and cried (again) when Will Bynum from Georgia Tech cruised down the lane at the buzzer to knock OSU out one week later.
What OSU Means To Me Now
I’ve been able to witness some iconic plays and wins over the years; Vince Young pump-faking Donovan Woods into oblivion ... Landry Jones literally throwing the ball backwards ... Destroying OU for a Big 12 title and storming the field. Those moments, both good and bad, all play into my love for Oklahoma State. I’ve found out what it means to be a fan. I also learned rather quickly that once you’re part of the Oklahoma State family, it’s a part of you.
I’ve thought about it a lot recently, too.
My mom passed away in April, and she was a true Cowgirl. She loved Oklahoma State like no other, and we made some incredible memories that I’ll carry with me forever. Some of my most precious memories of her are at Boone Pickens Stadium ... like storming the field after beating OU in 2011. Like the time she fell asleep in the stands in the first quarter of the 2015 Baylor game and missed the entire first half. Like all the times we tailgated in front of Cordell Hall before the games. I don’t bring these memories up for myself, but rather to show that it’s not about the team that makes the memories, it’s the memories that make you love the team more. We’ll still go to games every weekend like we did when she was here, but OSU athletics will always be that “thing” we enjoyed together.
Sure, it helps when the teams are good and the Pokes are winning. But even on the days when they’re not, OSU is still a part of us. It’s been a part of me for a long time, and it will be forever.
Remember to hop over to the Fanpost section and share your story and why you’re a fan.
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