Former coach Barry Switzer Addressed OU student-athletes Sunday night.
Entry No. 36 | August 20, 2007
When Barry Switzer was selected to speak at the first
recitation of the Sooner Oath just about everyone expected
the kind of inspirational challenge that makes running
through a locker room wall seem perfectly viable.
The Sooner coaching great didn’t disappoint.
He talked about effort, in competition and in the classroom,
getting better, taking pride and all the things that
lead to success regardless of the endeavor.
Then he took a hard turn directly into the Middle
East and spoke with a poignancy that silenced the 500
student-athletes in attendance.
Switzer pointed out that every Sooner in attendance
would at some point encounter frustration, disappointment
and the temptation to quit. Then he uttered words of
such clear perspective that it made even the smallest
Switzer reminded Oklahoma’s student-athletes
that on their worst day they would not endure anything
remotely close to the conditions and challenges lay
before our fighting men and women, especially those
stationed in Iraq, Afghanistan and other hotbeds of
He told them that when they get to feeling as low
as they can feel, there still isn’t anyone stationed
in harm’s way that would not trade places with
them in a heartbeat.
Switzer’s voice cracked several times while
he spoke. OU still means a lot to him. His country
The things he said are things that all of us think
from time to time, even when we weigh the relative
ease of our daily existence. Unfortunately, we are
quick to dismiss that remembrance when we should probably
give it some thought 24/7.
What set Switzer’s tribute apart was the venue
and the audience. There we were in the shadow of one
of this country’s most hallowed football stadiums
amidst a group of America’s finest young athletes.
All that we have, all that we are and all that those
kids can become is wrapped up in the protection afforded
by our soldiers.
Do we all know that already? Sure. Are we sometimes
quick to forget it when blinded by the enormity of
college sports and an impending OU football season?
I think maybe we are.
It was nice to be reminded, and it was appropriate
to be reminded in that setting.
Switzer excelled again at the place where he so
often excelled. He hasn’t lost his touch.
an inside perspective from the University of Oklahoma
Athletics Department on the latest Sooner sports topics.
Associate Athletics Director for Communications Kenny
Mossman provides his thoughts in his online column