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The Sooner Recruit
Fifty years, boy and man, I’ve been a Sooners fan; And watched thousands of recruits try to make my Sooners Team. Often, I’ve enviously wondered what it must be like To be a touted Sooners recruit, living out his dream. He’d had a great career through high school; Made good grades, was a football star, played baseball too. Coach said college recruiters were watching closely; So, he tried his very best to make his dream come true. You see, he’d played on the L’il Sooners as a kid; Started getting serious about the game when he was only eight Played with older, bigger boys and practiced hard; Always told his friends, “To be a Sooner, ya gotta play great”. Oh yes, his parents raised a football player; And, even more important, a Sooners fan; But he wanted more, to be a Sooner, To feel the glory raining down from the stands. Now, the Sooners’ Head Coach is in his living room. “Son, you’ve got talent. We think you fit our scheme. We’re offering you a scholarship, an opportunity To be an important member of our great Sooners Team”. His mother smiles her biggest smile. His father nods proudly and pats him on the knee. “Lord knows, son, it’s a dream come true. Go be the very best Sooner you can be”. He walks into the locker room, Not quite sure what to expect; But sure that to play for the Sooners He will first have to earn respect. He looks each man straight in the eye - Other recruits, trainers, assistants, and every coach. “Be proud, but respectful”, his mother had said; Your character, more than your performance, must be above reproach”. His handshake is firm and he smiles. “Only one chance for a first impression”, his father had said; "Always put yourself in positive light, on and off the field. That’s what it will take to play for the mighty Big Red”. He meets so many other recruits, each one a high school star. He’s played against a few and knows they share his dream. And, to a man, each knows before any chance for Glory, He first must prove worthy to play for this Sooners Team. He knows a few will fail to meet the coaches’ expectations. For some, the scout team will be their fate. Many will suit up, but rarely play. Only the very best will ever dare to be great. Coach says, “If every man learns and executes when called on, Then this team, we Sooners, will win a lot of games; But, win or lose, if you play hard and give your very best, You’ll never have to hang your heads in shame”. “But gentlemen, with or without you, this team will win. Every season, the Sooners strive to win it All. So, listen, work hard, and prepare yourselves. Each game is war... And you must be ready when Victory calls”. Through grueling practices, he finds himself. As he walks to class, his closest friends are aches and pains; But, just the other day, Coach helped him up, smiled, and patted his helmet. “You’re doin’ fine, son. Keep pushin’. Remember, no pain, no gain”. He sees his name on the "open scrimmage" roster for the very first time. It’s a moment he’ll never forget, another milestone in his dream. He calls his Mom and Dad, knowing they’ll tell his family and his friends. He hopes they’ll actually see him play, proof he’s made the Team. As he suits up for the last pre-season open scrimmage, He wonders if the coaches would really let a freshman play at all; But Coach puts him in for eight plays against the first team; He makes two great open-field tackles and intercepts the ball. He barely hears the roar of the crowd, as the whole defense “gives him five”. He’s so excited, he forgets to ask if he can keep that ball. Fans are buzzing, “Did you see that hit”!? “Who is that kid”!? “Will he red shirt or will Coach let him play this fall”? He sees his name in the Sunday paper, hears it on local sports. He’s happy, but he doesn’t let it go to his head. He keeps his focus and uses it as motivation. After all, he wants to start one day for the mighty Big Red. Yes, we’ll hear more of this young recruit. Perhaps, one day he’ll be the hero of the game. A seasoned veteran, maybe All Conference or even All American, Who’s tasted Victory many times and helped glorify the Sooners’ name. Oh yes, there have been so many who’ve aspired; But many fewer who’ve actually made our Sooners Team. They are our heroes, each and every one; For it’s through their accomplishments, we fans can live the dream. Billy Vessels, Steve Owens, Billy Sims, and Jason White, The Selmons, Little Joe, the Boz, Josh Heupel, and “Q” They, and so many others, were once touted Sooners recruits; Who set a higher mark and built the Tradition that is OU. So, c’mon! c’mon! all you great young football players! Dedicate your talents to OU’s Team and OU’s Fans. Make Oklahoma’s Owen Field your Field of Dreams, And feel the Glory raining down from the stands.
Copyright © 2020 Robert Candler. All Rights Reserved