Our friends Debbie and Ron Reed have season tickets to Oklahoma State University football games. Their seats are in the first row where one can offer advice to Coach Mike Gundy as I did on several occasions Saturday, November 25, 2023 during the Cowboy game against the Cougars of Brigham Young University. Debbie and Ron spent Thanksgiving with their son’s family in Texas and generously gave us their tickets and their excellent parking pass at the Wesleyan Center in Stillwater. Even though my Grandfather Redwine was a Baptist minister and I was baptized in the Pawhuska, Oklahoma First Christian (Disciples of Christ) Church, the convenience of the Wesleyan parking space almost made Methodists of Peg and me.
A win for O.S.U. Saturday would give the Cowboys a chance to play the Texas Longhorns for the Big Twelve Championship. If O.S.U. lost, their arch rival Oklahoma University would play U.T. The stakes were high as were the emotions of the crowd. It was a happening! O.S.U.’s excellent band, of which my eldest brother C.E. Redwine had once been a member, led the team and Pistol Pete into the stadium. Cheerleaders and pompon girls performed athletic routines my body was unacquainted with. Thousands of students raced excitedly all over the beautiful campus and we one-time students marveled at their alacrity.
My family’s connection with the school goes back to the days it was Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College. I started there in 1961. One of my sisters-in-law, Sarah, received her undergraduate degree there as did both of my brothers, C.E. and Phil. My other sister-in-law, Shirley, attended for a while then shoved my oldest brother through. O.S.U. has been good to all of us. Of course, Debbie and Ron and their family also have many significant connections to Cowboy U. In fact, Ron was once selected to be the representative O.S.U. Cowboy.
Speaking of Ron being a true cowboy, I have noticed he always has a rancher’s eye on the weather. Now I do not know if Ron had consulted the game-day forecast of constant freezing rain before offering us the tickets, but Peg and I did occasionally envision Ron and Debbie eating Thanksgiving leftovers while sitting in front of a warm fire. On the other hand, Peg and I were cheering while shivering at the game. As for weather phenomena, how about those clowns around us who were drinking cold beer while sporting shirtless orange outfits? Talk about your true fanatics! It reminded us of watching my alma mater, Indiana University’s Hoosiers, repeatedly lose in the fourth quarter as we sat through snow storms. At least the Cowboys hung on for a victory. As for Peg and me, pre-game we had dug out our old snow skiing clothes and sniveled up. Then after the game we praised Debbie and Ron for the great parking space once the double overtime game finally ended and we could stumble out of Boone Pickens Stadium and get into our warm, dry car. Let’s hear it for those John Wesleyans!
The exhilaration of sitting for hours in the freezing rain took both of us back to that glorious day skiing at Squaw Valley when we were captured by a blizzard on the top of a mountain. We managed to suffer skiing our blind way down a treacherous narrow ski trail to our vehicle and hurried to the nearest store where we bought dry underwear that we changed into in the car. Stillwater was a similar experience Saturday; I will not go into further detail.
Of course, when the Cowboys recovered that B.Y.U. fumble during the second overtime, for one brief shining moment we felt as warm as an Oklahoma Fourth of July. Suddenly, for about ten seconds, Peg and I were as impervious to the cold and freezing rain as the rest of the Orange Power crowd. Apparently Coach Gundy did not need my coaching suggestions. I guess that’s why he ignored my repeated shouted sage advice.
So, thanks Debbie and Ron. It was great to be back in Stillwater where I had not attended a football game since 1962. As far as I could tell, nothing had changed, at least in my mind