There are events in all of our lives that we’ll never forget where we were when we heard the news.
For most of my generation it was September 11th; a few in their upper 20s remember the fall of the Berlin Wall.
For our folks it was Challenger, Watergate and JFK’s assassination. Our grandparents, the many events of World War II.
Those are events for the human side of us. For the completely irrational sports fan in our veins, the types of things we remember are different. We think about the bar we were at when so-and-so sunk that impossible shot to win the game. We brag because we were at Stadium X when whatshisface hit the walk-off home run.
As a Kansas fan, I’ll always remember sitting in my dorm room at Colorado State as a sophomore when Mario Chalmers hit the three-pointer to send the 2008 NCAA Championship Game into overtime. I’ll always remember and cherish that noise violation I received when running up and down the hallway screaming when the Jayhawks went on to beat Memphis.
As a Chicago Cubs fan, I’ll always brag that I was sitting at Coors Field in Denver to witness my lovable losers reach their 10,000 win in franchise history. I still have the scorecard from it.
There are plenty of other moments I could list, but this entry would just get too long to keep anyone’s attention.
However, there is a moment that I must mention as it serves as the purpose of this blog entry.
I grew up a huge Oklahoma State fan. Both my parents graduated from OSU and so did my father’s parents. Joe Adkins is my favorite Cowboys’ basketball player of all-time with Melvin Sanders coming in a close second and Frans Steyn in third (sarcasm on Steyn. Worst recruiting move by Eddie Sutton of all-time … the guy didn’t even know how to play basketball and was only offered a scholarship because he was 7-foot-2).
Growing up, I never imagined that I’d be the one from my group of friends to not go to school in Stillwater, but I didn’t, and my parents paid the price (literally, out of state tuition is ridiculous in this economy).
Background out of the way, there’s a moment as an Oklahoma State fan that I’ll never forget. That moment came exactly 10 years ago today on the 8100 block of South Pittsburgh Ave. in Tulsa, Okla.
I had spent the day at my friend Andrew’s house, like I did most weekends in middle school (I was in 7th grade at the time). Like always, we watched the Oklahoma State basketball game on TV and were bummed out by the Pokes’ 81-71 loss to Colorado. For the rest of the evening we played video games, watched TV, and likely did some form of light vandalism to Carly White’s house. It’s just what we did.
I remember going to bed a little earlier than usual, because SportsCenter was always on the TV in Andrew’s room as we fell asleep and his mom came banging on the door about midnight.
“Turn on the TV!” she yelled through the closed bedroom door.
“Whaaaatttt?” Andrew yelled with a tired moan.
“The OSU plane crashed coming back from Colorado.” She responded.
Suddenly Andrew and I turned from tired and annoyed to desperately concerned – as if our own family members had been on one of the three planes flying out of JeffCo. All of the major network affiliates in Tulsa, and ESPN, had coverage on the breaking news, mainly simulcasting what their sister stations in Denver had broadcast.
We just sat four hours watching and listening, hoping to get more information, though like all breaking news of this sort, all you learn is the same thing phrased differently in a repeated cycle. As selfish as it sounds, I know both Andrew and I were both praying that it wasn’t key players on that flight. Thinking how detrimental it would be if Mo Baker or Victor and Andre Williams died – what would the season become?
Hey, we were in 7th grade, give us a break.
All sports fans remember the big moments, but instances like these are a few and far between – and thank God for that. However, you can’t just brush tragedies aside – you have to attempt to find a silver lining.
And I don’t care what positive you take away from a tragedy, as long as it’s something. For the OSU plane crash, I could say it reminds me to live each day to its fullest because you never know when your life could end, but honestly it doesn’t. I mean, I think about that, but so does anyone whose had a friend die young.
As weird as it sounds, when I remember Jan. 27, 2001, when I “Remember the 10,” I think about being young. I think about being a kid and remembering what it’s like to not give a damn about anything that was actually important, thinking OSU basketball and Jenks Trojan Football were the only two things in life that mattered. I remember how completely ignorant I was and missing that.
Most of my high school graduating class has also graduated from college by now. This means out in the “real world” with jobs, bills, and all the other annoying parts of being an adult. As nice as it is to feel accomplished with our young careers, it sucks not living free of room and board and food and cable and internet and video games and and and and and.
When it comes to Jan. 27, 2001, what I think about is remember that sometimes you have to stop stressing out about all the real troubles life throws at you everyday. If you don’t let yourself relax and have the mentality of your younger self every once in a while, you’ll drive yourself crazy.
Today is Jan. 27, 2011, and I am about to jump on a plane to fly back home to Colorado from Oklahoma (isn’t it ironic, don’t you think … a little too ironic, and you really did think … ). On my flight I’m going to take that time to stop stressing out about the job search and just relax. I’m going to remember what being a kid was like and put my mind in a happier state.
We all need this every once in a while. Just take a few minutes out of your day this afternoon and try to do the same. I promise it will help ease any stress you may have.