I don’t normally post on Saturday nights, and very seldom do I post about anything but books, but I have to tonight. Tonight my heart is broken and I need to get the words out or I may just explode.
This afternoon as I was enjoying my daughter’s collegiate diving meet in Wisconsin, I heard the most awful news. At an Oklahoma State University Homecoming Parade, a driver — allegedly under the influence of alcohol — plowed into a crowd of spectators. 44 people were sent to the hospital and, as of 9:00 p.m. tonight, four people have been pronounced dead. Among the killed was a 2-year-old boy.
This is awful news, regardless of where you live, which colors you wear to collegiate events, or whether you’ve even heard of Oklahoma State University. And tonight my heart feels completely broken because this hits too close to home for me. Oklahoma State University — located in Stillwater, Oklahoma — is the in-state rival university for my own alma mater, The University of Oklahoma. You see, on a normal Saturday afternoon, you might hear me say something along the lines of “I’m an Oklahoma Sooners Fan, so today I’ll be cheering for the Sooners and whoever is playing Oklahoma State.” Not today, Let me repeat that:
Today, Oklahomans — Sooners and Cowboys alike — stand united in prayer, sympathy, and good will for the victims of this horrible accident. Instead of waving the banners for our own schools, we’ll be waving an orange ribbon to declare our love and support. You see — and I’m sure almost all Oklahomans will agree — it’s all good until someone messes with our own, and today our “sister” has been injured by the careless actions of a drunk driver. Today, our sister-school is hurting and all rivalry is and should be put aside to stand beside Oklahoma State University as they try to understand how something so awful could happen. Is there really a way to understand how something so awful could happen?
From Minnesota, this Oklahoma Sooners grad is bleeding orange for The OSU Cowboys! My thoughts and prayers are with each and every one of the victims, the fans, the university, and the entire town of Stillwater, Oklahoma, and I’m sure I’m not alone.
There’ll be enough time for collegiate rivalry next week. But not tonight. Tonight, we are one. We’re Oklahomans after all. It’s what we do.
For more information on this tragedy, you can read more on Oklahoma City’s own News 9 website.