In 2021, I’ve learned more about my alma mater – the University of Central Oklahoma Bronchos – than I did the three years I went there from 1999 – 2002.
For example, back in March, I discovered UCO had cheerleaders! Granted, I only learned about that after the university suspended the cheer squad because it was comprised of cool party girls who like to drink, dance and do other stuff that cheerleaders did in USA “Up All Night” movies in the 1980s, but it was a cool thing to discover.
Now, thanks to the hyper-aware woke police, we’re learning the school has an actual fight song!
Last night, KOCO Channel 5 reported the school is revising its fight song because it has the word “Boy” in it:
“You'll be back,” Tony told me at my going away party, “faster than I was.” He stopped there, but in his eyes he said the rest. “What will fill the existential hole in your life?” Family? Sure, there was plenty of that. Coaching youth sports? For a time. As the weeks turned into months, and the months turned into years. The call of the Ogle whispered to me at night, and running away from it, I turned to the only thing I knew.
Competitive checkers is a fickle mistress. In a sport where the median age is eight, the spectators turn on the veterans like myself. The flair and precociousness I developed in my early years in the sport were frowned upon when forty year old me spiked the final jump and requested my juvenile competitors to find a real job. My endorsement deals dried up. Tournaments turned me away for fabricated reasons such as me not attending that elementary school. Occasionally, I found an underground game where a couple triple-jumps might give me a few moments of relief, but more often I found myself turning to pints of Trader Joe's Limeade, straight from the bottle.
One day, while sitting in a mostly vacant parking lot in Nichols Hills, waiting for the store to open and checking Twitter while my nerves demanded sweet, sour nectar, the whispers came back. “The Thunder have a whole roster to re-make and no one is talking about it on The Ogle,” it said to me.
Well, until now…
As many locals know—and, honestly, probably don’t care—Northeast Oklahoma City has been without a simple grocery store ever since the lamentable Smart Saver shuttered their doors a few years ago, leaving that area’s patrons and their basic needs high and dry.