The spectacle that is college football begins in earnest this weekend and there is nothing quite like it.
The anticipation and anxiety of that first game accompanied by the flames of unreasonable expectations fanned by memories of spring camp and positive comments from coaches and players in fall camp.
Most sports, even at the college level, have some type of preseason or at least exhibition games that give us a peak into what might be coming for the regular season.
Not college football. We live on “insider” information provided by those that cover the programs professionally. Sports blogs are in business because of our need to have something to cling to regarding our beloved team.
If we are lucky we get fairly open coaching conversations about what’s going on. If you’re Oklahoma State you get…lots of mullet tweets and train car loads of generic coach speak from Mike Gundy. You would think with a QB battle, new offensive line coach and offensive coordinator there would be plenty of news to chew on, but no.
So on the eve of the Cowboys opener in Corvallis I’m about as anxious as I can remember regarding the state of the program in 2019. That being said, I am hopeful.
I am always hopeful.
Ever since I attended my first OSU game at Lewis Field in the early 70’s I’ve awaited each season with such glee that a common stranger would think this to be the only thing in my life that mattered.
My parents fed that behavior with season tickets. Weekly trips for home games in Stillwater at 1:30pm on Saturday, lunch in the Alumni dining room in Gallagher Hall, and maybe a couple of road games. I loved traveling to War Memorial in Little Rock to face the Razorbacks. Those of you who remember previous posts know my mother was about as fanatical as you could be.
In 1976 I got pulled over by a local cop because I had so many OSU bumper stickers on the rear window of my truck he found it hard to believe I could see anything in the rear view mirror.
Of course hope is relative to the program.
Hope in the 70’s for OSU was defined this way:
1. Beat OU
2. Winning season
3. A bowl game
That was obviously not the expectation in Norman or South Bend or Happy Valley, but hope lived just as lavishly in those fan bases as any.
How hope gets handled has changed quite a bit. Dad will be gone 20 years in December and Mom six years this Saturday. If it hasn’t already happened by the time this post goes up I’m sure the call with my brother will happen soon. We’ll probably chat again on game day, and I will probably also catch up with my oldest sister. We will collectively try to calm each other down whether it be optimism or fear…or both. The actual expectations for the team are also drastically different due to the tenure of Mike Gundy.
We all share a number of things…we are all born, we all die, we all fear…and we all hope. Let us gather together, hold our breath, and relish what will quickly die away for most once past the opening kick off.
Whether it’s a national championship, a winning season, or just beating a hated rival, at this time all those possibilities still exist...unless you are Miami or Florida, in which case you have already embraced the agony of the next four months.