Fan wins opportunity to call plays at OU's 2008 Spring Game Saturday.
NORMAN, Okla. -- Shae Farmer hadn't planned on being in Oklahoma this weekend, much less on the Sooner sideline. Then his wife Kimberly bought a couple Sooner t-shirts online and the weekend plans changed.
Kimberly signed up for email notices through the official OU Athletics web site, SoonerSports.com, and one of those Boomerblasts made mention of an auction; an auction to watch the spring game from the team bench area and an opportunity to jump on the head sets and call a series of plays with the offensive coaches.
The couple decided to bid.
"Wouldn't it be crazy if we were spending the weekend in Oklahoma," Kimberly mused.
Crazy indeed for a couple from Carrollton, Ga., and especially crazy for two people that had never before been to the state of Oklahoma or an OU football game.
Shae, who co-owns with his father an electrical company, has been a lifelong Oklahoma fan thanks to family lineage that includes four generations of Sooner supporters.
It all started when Shae's great-grandfather, John, from Muldrow, Okla., married a Georgia girl. His son, Johnny, then held the interest in OU and handed it down to his son, Doyle.
Doyle carried the torch to his son, Shae, and another rabid Sooner fan was christened.
"I started following (OU) as a kid and stayed interested all the way through," said Shae, who is 35. "My grandfather's house was filled with OU stuff and I have been a fan since I was old enough to watch college football."
With that rabid interest, Farmer set about bidding on an opportunity to spend Saturday with his favorite team. When he realized he had entered the winning bid at $2,900, he phoned his wife and said, "You need to be getting ready to go to Oklahoma."
Farmer learned he had posted the winning bid on Wednesday so there was little time to make flight plans or secure a baby-sitter for the couple's two-year-old daughter. A sitter was located, but air travel was scraped in favor of driving the 12-hour trip.
A fan from afar, Farmer can't remember the last OU game he missed on television. "We always find a way to see the games, no matter what," he said.
But Farmer has never seen the Sooners in person or been to the state that houses his favorite team.
"When we crossed the state line (Friday), I said, `I've finally made it to Oklahoma!,'" Farmer said.
Now that he's here, he'll get the royal treatment, including a tour of all the football facilities and a private meeting with Sooner head coach Bob Stoops.
"I don't know what I'll say to him," Farmer said. "I'll probably just tell him how much I appreciate what he has done for OU."
As for the play-calling, Farmer is a bit more prepared.
"I talked about it with my buddies and they all told me just to get into the flow of the game," Farmer said. "I know everyone is expecting something crazy, but I'll actually try to make an educated call.
"Then again, you kind of feel like you have to go for it with a fly pattern or something like that. You can't run a fullback dive unless we're on the goal line."
The entire scenario could not be much more storybook. A lifelong Sooner fan from halfway across the country is coming to see his favorite team in person for the very first time. He will do so after shaking hands with a legendary head coach and while standing among the team members in the bench area. Then he'll slip on a headset and call plays.
"It's a dream come true," Farmer said. "I still can't believe it happened."
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SoonerSports.com will post video features of Shae and his wife as they enjoy VIP treatment at the 2008 Spring Game on Saturday. For complete fan information, please view our guide.
Watch for more autographed OU memorabilia, game-used items and unique experiences offered by the OU Athletics Department at SoonerSports.com. Proceeds from online auctions at SoonerSports.com support the OU Athletics Department and its mission of "Inspiring Champions Today, Preparing Leaders for Tomorrow".