Mossman Prophecies No. 010
July 2, 2007
The snap shots that illustrate the popularity of Oklahoma
football are many, but I'm not sure many are more revealing
than those taken from atop Gaylord Family - Oklahoma
Memorial Stadium early each August.
It is then that thousands descend upon this massive
facility seeking autographs at the annual Meet the
Sooners Day, which takes place this year on Aug. 4.
It's not a line that forms for this event; it's a decent-sized
When I joined the Oklahoma staff in August of 2001,
the first football-related event I attended was Meet
the Sooners Day. It was a sobering reminder that the
new job I had accepted played to a massive audience,
the passion of which far exceeded anything I had experienced.
just a guess, but I think fans wonder from time to
time if those of us who work here ever grow callous
to the crowds and the interest. The answer is, "no." Five
years later, I can tell you that the numbers and the
passion are still just as overwhelming.
Few places remind you of the challenge and privilege
of working somewhere quite like the University of Oklahoma.
But I digress. As impressive as this day might
be, it is far from perfect. Picture a giant game of
Twister taking place in a sauna with 15,000 participants
reaching for the same spot. That's Meet the Sooners
For the most part, the multitudes seek the same three
or four autographs. For this year, that list will include
Stoops, Peterson, Bomar and Alexander.
It's not that the fans don't want signatures from others,
but in the two-hour window allotted for this event
(an attempt for the football program to stay on its
tight, preseason schedule) prioritization is a necessity.
I've lost count of the meetings we've held relating
to Meet the Sooners Day issues. It's a logistical dilemma,
in both time and space, which is probably misplaced
in the athletics department. The physics and math departments
would be far better suited to get everyone in the right
place at the right moment.
Physicists and mathematicians snicker when I walk past
their buildings on campus, but despite that allow me
a few suggestions that might help this day move along
just a little better ...
First, bring water and wear loose-fitting, light colors.
Even though concessions are sold at Meet the Sooners
Day, there is no prohibition from bringing water. In
fact, water is the only thing that is allowed into
the autograph area.
Before clamoring that OU makes that restriction to
sell more concessions, consider the real reason. A
fair amount of this event takes place on the artificially
surfaced practice field. I'm not sure if you've priced
those lately, but they don't give them away. Water
they can handle, food and other drinks they cannot.
Hydrate before you get here and after you arrive and
dress appropriately for the heat (white jersey as opposed
to crimson for this day). The heat is a given. Your
collapse because of it does not need to be.
Secondly, defer to the kids whenever possible. I
don't think that requires any explanation.
Third, abide by the rules. The main rule is that each
patron brings just one item to be autographed. Stick
to that guideline and that person a few spots farther
back in the line will get the same opportunity just
a few minutes later.
And remember, you either have been or will someday
be that one farther back hoping to get to the table
before the whistle blows.
And fourth, and most important (except for maybe No.
2), know the event before you get here. It's going
to be crowded and hot and not everybody is going to
get every signature they want. Ramp down the expectations,
harness the emotions and enjoy the day for what it
is... a time to be with family and friends while hanging
out with your favorite team.
And know that as much as all of this may overwhelm
you, that same team is even more overwhelmed by those
who care enough to be here.
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Kenny Mossman, Associate Athletics Director for
Communications, provides his perspective on Oklahoma
Athletics in his regular column on SoonerSports.com.