The Norman Transcript

News Features

October 26, 2012

Out of defeat rises life of happiness

NORMAN — Editor’s note: This is one in a continuing series of reader-written stories about the Sooners and Irish. This item first appeared in the The Transcript’s publication “Glory Days” on Sept. 3, 2010.

By Benton Ladd

For The Transcript

As a member of the 1957 OU football team, I have memories of the 1957 football game with Notre Dame that spanned the spectrum of emotions from high expectations of winning against an old, but much respected foe, to the doldrums of despair and defeat.

On a beautiful November fall afternoon, Notre Dame had beaten OU! It was the loss that broke the longest winning streak in NCAA football history, a 47-game winning streak.

I still remember the crowd of fans standing in the stands in quiet disbelief of what had just happened.  No one wanted to leave.

However, amid the great disappointment of losing the game, all was not lost.

That night at a dinner party with fellow football players and their dates at Jack Sussy’s Restaurant, I asked my girlfriend, Juhree Gardner, to marry me.

She accepted, and later that evening I gave her an engagement ring. 

We were married on June 27, 1958.

The darkness of defeat changed to the brightness of happiness and hope for the future.

After three children and five grandchildren, that hope for the future is 52 years and holding! 

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