We planted them with their Brownie troop nearly 30 years ago. For me, it’s the first sign that spring can’t be far off.

There are many such signs in Norman. On campus, the time between mid-terms and finals is often a period of frivolity. The grounds perk up after six months of brown ground. Colorful flowers and plants start blooming around building entrances and the ovals.

Fraternities and sororities hold annual parties.

There was a time years ago when students gathered in the South Oval’s Passion Pit for a little spring mischief of their own.

As the late night curious watched, the brave students said a few words, then took off their clothes. In an almost Biblical way, the crowds lining the sides of the pit moved aside as the students began their streaks across the campus.

One by one, the brave shed more than their shorts. Inhibitions and innocence were pushed aside.

The war in Vietnam was over. Nixon was about to move on. The economy was strong. Ford had canceled the Pinto. Life was good.

Some ran west on Lindsey Street. A few streaked north all the way to Orin’s Pizza on Asp Avenue. Others headed for the dormitories. One ran through the pool room atop the Oklahoma Memorial Union. Most just ran for cover.

The campus police were there, but didn’t seem to mind (They didn’t look the other way, either).

A friend followed and met one slow runner. They married a few years later. What a story they will have to share with their children.

A few faculty members even turned out to study this cultural phenomenon taking hold. Anything for the sake of research.

The word spread among curious teenagers in town. Each evening’s crowd grew a little bigger. The movement even took hold at Norman High, where one young man clad only in Converse All Stars and a smile ran through the cafeteria.

The streaker tradition started at northern universities where students wanted to show their excitement over warmer temperatures. The OU tradition died after a few springs. Students seem to become much more serious and the frivolity ended. In the university’s push to revive campus traditions, this is one spring rite they have overlooked.


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