BACK IN THE AUTUMN OF 1974, we left Tulsa and headed west. Being young and fairly newly wed, leaving friends and family brought challenges and great times. We’ve been gone from Tulsa for a long time now, and even though we return often, I still miss it. When we are there, I feel like I’m Home.
You’ve probably heard the old joke: Show me someone with an OSU (Oklahoma State University) hat and I’ll show you someone who went to OSU (or had a family member that did). Show me someone with an OU (Oklahoma University) hat and I’ll show you someone who went to Wal Mart.
If you live in Oklahoma but outside the Tulsa metropolitan area, chances are good that you either have a red shirt or an orange one. You might not even know there is another Division One football team in Oklahoma.
There is. It’s the Tulsa University Golden Hurricane. Strange mascot moniker, right? Why the mascot picker chose “hurricane” for a school that’s 500 miles inland, I have no idea. And, why the singular hurricane is golden is even more perplexing. But I don’t care. TU is my school. I went to school there and have the hat. I can whistle the fight song and even know most of the words. The Gold and Blue and Red stir me as much as the red or orange of those other teams do for their fans.
Tulsa’s best season was in 1942, going 10-0, including wins against Oklahoma (23-0), Oklahoma A&M (now OSU) (34-6), and Arkansas (40-7). The Golden Hurricane went to the 1943 Sugar Bowl against Tennessee. Tulsa lost the game on a late Volunteer touchdown, justing missing a National Championship.
Being the smallest school in Division One, as Golden Hurricane fans, you never go in to the season thinking this could be another 1942, the year we win it all. Here’s the cool thing about that, you can just enjoy the atmosphere of a college football game in its innocence and simplicity. If you have indigestion after the game it is likely because the hot dog, nachos and “cheese” covered pretzel you had are indigestible, not because the “game” has become so much more than a game that we work ourselves into a frenzy that sets priorties that might include going out to find another multi-million dollar coach. (Although, I will confess that I’m really glad to have that former Baylor Offensive Coordinator, with his high-flying offensive schemes as our head coach.)
Spending an autumn Saturday afternoon at Skelly Field in the heart of Tulsa is just as fun today as those Saturday afternoons I spent there as a kid.