While everyone probably expected an OSU post today, the topic expected had less to do with a mythical creature administering grief to the Cowboy fan base and more to do with a 43-year-old Mike Gundy trying to break dance after the victory over aTm. For you jackals, here is a link teach-teaching you how to Gundy. Enjoy it and poke fun of the guy who doesn’t stoically tell his players “I very much liked that win,” after a big game.
Instead of a Dancing With the Coaches recap, I prefer to discuss an article that has changed my life–or at minimum, given me confidence that someone at a major media outlet understands my life. As Patrick discussed briefly on Monday, Brian Phillips from Grantland.com (ESPN’s new internet project that writes about sports and pop culture in essay format) wrote a thesis paper on the misery of loving Oklahoma State. He writes:
Oklahoma State’s year isn’t going to be won or lost on stats, personnel, or even tactics. Those things have their place, but there’s something bigger where the Cowboys are concerned, something Oklahoma State fans pick up on from an early age, even if we don’t like to talk about it. It’s a hard thing to describe, so let me be as scientific as possible. Somewhere in the bones of the earth, coiling and uncoiling like the kraken, there lurks a malevolent power. And the whole purpose of this malevolent power, the entire aim of its wrathful soul, is to screw with Oklahoma State. This power has no name, so for the purposes of this article, I’m going to call it “Squinky.”
While Patrick pretended not to understand the article, that is because he is a Sooner fan. No one likes being the villain in any story, particularly someone who also roots for the Cubs and hates to admit that in this rivalry he backs the Cardinals equivalent. So, everytime he points his finger at the guy wearing a red StL hat and accuses them of only rooting for that team because they always win, there are three fingers pointing back at him…while his thumb is probably aimed toward God.
For Oklahoma State fans, though, they have to admit that they relate far too much to the points Phillips makes. We have roamed the Oklahoma football landscape like Moses leading the ancient Jews through the desert. While we survive on manna–we did get to watch Barry Sanders and the team is always, at least post-NCAA sanctions, competitive–the promised land of overflowing milk and honey seems to be just past the horizon. Like Moses, we fear that we will not live to see our school reach that ultimate objective of a Mythical National Championship.
As Phillips puts it:
On the message boards, older fans routinely caution younger fans not to get ahead of themselves, to wait to see how the season shakes out, to be careful about getting too invested in how things look on paper…It’s worth it, the feeling goes, because one day — maybe not soon, maybe not in our lifetimes, but one day — OSU is going to break out of Squinky’s hold, pop OU in the mouth, and contend for a championship. And when that happens, you don’t want to be the guy who checked out two years ago simply because the constant stifled agony had become too soul-annihilating to take.
As one of those older fans–I’m 33, but I’m mature for my age–this segment might as well have been cribbed from my diary. That is, except for the part about a malevolent creature that is the cause of my strife. This is wher the article became life changing.
Red Sox fans always had “The Curse of the Bambino” as a rallying cry, and the Cubs could always blame a goat. As an OSU fan, though, all I had was dumb luck and tears to wash down my Joe’s cheese fries. Now, the source of my frustration has a name. That name is “Squinky.”
In response to this new revelation, I created a Twitter account called Death to Squinky, where I am recounting where Squinky has manifested in our lives. While jotting down notes for use there, it became evident that there were far too many accounts for them to all be coincidence. From Dez Bryant getting banned from college football for perjury–a year before the NCAA pardoned Cam Newton for the crime in which they were investigating Dez–to the 1983 Bedlam Game where the team blew a three score advantage over the last four minutes, Squinky had been the yin to “Sooner Magic’s” yang.
The good news is that the deliverer of Oklahoma State’s misfortune now has a name, and giving something a name makes it real. Becoming real means it can be battled. If something can be battled, it can be killed.
Right? Please someone tell me I’m right.
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