Mossman Prophecies No. 004
July 2, 2007
About the time Courtney Paris' uniform was folded away
for the off-season, Sooner fans looked back on a marvelous
women's basketball campaign and wondered to themselves, "What
could possibly match that for fun?"
Then baseball happened.
Sunny Golloway and his team had the kind of season
that figuratively tossed confetti and honked noise-makers
from February to June. L. Dale Mitchell Park
might as well have been a giant inflatable for the
romp of a good time that was had there.
Twenty come-from-behind victories will do that even
in a sport as steeped in tradition and stoicism as
The 2006 season was nothing if not fun, but the
fun was not all wrapped up in the wins and losses. It
is true that much of the glee to be found in sports
depends on the left side of the record dwarfing the
right. It is also true that the journey behind
those numbers represents the real fabric of a season
and it was in that pursuit that Sooner baseball gave
us something special.
Golloway is like most other baseball coaches. He
would love a roster loaded with dominating power pitchers
and muscle-bound home run hitters. That's not
the hand he was dealt. With the NCAA scholarship
restrictions, he may never be dealt that hand to the
extent he would like.
But Golloway refused to hammer away at a square
peg when the hole was obviously round. He adapted
to his talent. Batters slotted in the meat of
the order often bunted. The pitching staff had
more committees than a church.
It was real, honest-to-goodness coaching, and real,
honest-to-goodness coaching only works when players
swallow their pride and buy into the whole chemistry
thing. The result was a blast to watch.
Never was it more fun than the night of the regional
final when OU vanquished Wichita State. The story
lines were too many to count, but it wasn't the group
dynamics or even the game itself that defined that
night or this team. It was what happened after
the last out was recorded.
The Sooner players did the customary dog pile and
ran out to touch their centerfield sign in another
ritual that became somewhat common. Then they
did something almost foreign to a sport defined by
spikes, spit and not rubbing where it hurts - they
went into the stands to revel with their families and
I even saw several of them - are you ready for this
- hug their dads. In a sport in which crying is
outlawed, it was comforting to know that a rough-hewn
baseball player can still bury his nose in pop's neck.
It was unbridled happiness. It was the right
kind of happiness. It was precisely the emotion
sports are supposed to yield.
None of the celebration was fabricated and none
of it was designed to shine the light on any one player. It
was just a pure expression of collective joy.
"So what?" some might say. "Winning leads to that
sort of thing."
I disagree. Winning in the spirit of team unity
and in reaching maximum potential is the only thing
that gives us something as unblemished as what we saw
at Mitchell Park that night.
After the super regional loss, OU's equipment managers,
just as they did for women's basketball, laundered
and folded away the baseball uniforms. I guess
it's a bit of a sad scene.
Why then is it so hard to wipe the grin from our
face? Because it was fun, that's why. And
fun in the genuine article sears in us memories that
no loss can erase.
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Kenny Mossman, Associate Athletics Director for
Communications, provides his perspective on Oklahoma
Athletics in his regular column on SoonerSports.com.