Fall is my favorite time of year.
The temperature gets cooler in the fall. Your wardrobe gets more interesting. The leaves on trees turn into spectacular colors.
Fall signals the holiday season, beginning with Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving and then eventually Christmas and New Years. That’s five big holidays in four months.
And, of course, fall is known for football.
I probably spend too much time thinking about and watching football. That includes college football and the NFL.
When I was in high school, I was a big high school football fan but not so much any more. There are too many teams to follow and I just don’t have the time to go to Friday night games.
The last time I went to a high school game was more than 10 years ago when my oldest son was in the Memorial High School Marching Band. It was fun watching him perform and there is something special about being at an outdoor stadium on a crisp fall evening.
His younger brother and sister didn’t care much for me accompanying them to high school games, so I didn’t.
The college game is much more exciting. I love going to games at Tulsa University because no matter how far behind they might get, you can expect a run in the second half. It’s a shame that the Golden Hurricane field such a great team yet the stadium doesn’t sell out for home games.
Many times, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State fans could watch their teams on television and still make it to a TU game in person. That might make for a long day of football, but guess what – most of us guys don’t mind sitting in our living rooms and watching up to 10 hours of football on TV.
The drive to Stillwater to see Oklahoma State play is a nice little trip. I went to see OSU play Texas A&M a few years ago when the Aggies were still in the Big 12 Conference. I am not a big OSU fan but I do cheer for them in most games.
The pageantry around Stillwater on gameday is exciting and unique. I went to a Bedlam Game (OSU versus OU) back in the 1970s and that whole city was rockin’ and rollin’.
I also went to a Bedlam wrestling match 40 years ago and I had never been in such an electrified atmosphere as Gallagher Hall in Stillwater.
Going to an OU game in Norman is a major accomplishment. It’s 130 miles from my house to the stadium. Before a game, the traffic on the Turner Turnpike is unusually heavy and it builds as the kickoff grows closer. I have heard in the past that as many as 10,000 fans come from the Tulsa area each week to see OU play in Norman.
The real traffic snafu is between I-40 near Downtown Oklahoma City and the OU campus. My plan is always to get through that stretch at least 2 1/2 hours before kickoff. If you come later than that, you will get trapped in traffic.
One good strategy is to exit the Turner Turnpike and then go east on I-40 until you reach Sooner Road – which goes straight into Norman. You have to stop for traffic lights and you will hit a traffic jam on the northern side of Norman but it is much better than I-35 an hour before game time.
Getting out of Norman after a game is tricky. If the game is a blowout, a good portion of the crowd will leave at the start of the fourth quarter and that eases traffic.
If it is a tight game, most everyone stays and the traffic is terrible just after the game. In that case, we hang around the campus for an hour and two and let the traffic die down. There’s really no reason to leave right away unless it is a night game and you want to get back to Tulsa before 2 a.m.
Fortunately, almost all of the OU and OSU games are on television and a lot of TU games are. All three schools’ games are broadcast on radio in the Tulsa market but it has been years since I listened to a game on the radio.
If a game is on pay-per-view, that is cheaper than buying a ticket. And if you are really cheap, you will find a buddy or two and split the cost of the pay-per-view. Or, you can go to sports bar/restaurant and linger over your dinner for three hours while you watch the game.
Some people hate football and I understand why. It is a dangerous sport for the players. It is a time waster for fans. And it’s expensive.
But it is almost fall in Oklahoma and that means it’s time for some football.