NORMAN — As a 16-year-old in 1957, I rode a school bus to Norman with several other Hugo High School football players.
We would buy a 50-cent ticket and sit in the south stands of Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.
Not on Nov. 16th, Statehood Day.
Notre Dame had arrived, attracting 500 Catholic priests and nuns in the east stands.
They would be loud enough to wake the echoes.
Under leaden skies, I muscled through the milling throng outside the stadium and found Cecil Samara, OU’s self-proclaimed No. 1 Fan. Garbed in crimson and cream, he stood by his Model T, The Big Red Rocket.
I pleaded my case.
He stared, then lifted his bull horn and barked a command.
A rich guy in a 10-gallon hat walked up.
For five dollars, I bought a ticket to history.
Bud’s Boys were favored, but the Fighting Irish drove 80 yards in the closing minutes. When Dick Lynch scored on a sweep, the 500 priests and nuns screamed like 5,000.
The Fighting Irish had broken our 47-game win streak.
And our hearts.
I walked on the field through the milling players.
Someone, seeking a piece of history, ripped the tearaway jersey from Bill Krisher’s back.
The All-American guard from Perry continued walking, glassy-eyed.
Now, more half-a century later, the Fighting Irish return.
They had beaten us again in 1966, but I was living in Florida and missed the game.
On Saturday, holding a more expensive ticket, I’ll watch the Fighting Irish return.
Cecil is gone, his Big Red Rocket parked somewhere in history.
Yet the priests and nuns will be back.
Will 80,000 Sooner fans wake the echoes?