Sunday, January 11, 2009

Hanging in Norman for the National Championship Game, Thunder Super Fan and Bull Riding at Club Rodeo

January 8th finally came and went. Over the past month the talk of the town has been the college football national championship game between Oklahoma and Florida. The Sooners had an opportunity to win their 8th national championship game and what better way to watch the game then to head on down to Norman and watch the game at a sports bar located next to campus. A handful of us had talked about it for a while and I thought we were going to have a decent sized group making the 20 mile trip south of OKC to watch however people started dropping off one by one and some people decided to go to a co-workers apartment so it ended up being me and JB. The media outlets were reporting that the Norman bars would be packed and that tables would be hard to come by but we didn't care as we just wanted to be part of the atmosphere. I was also excited for the game because I am now a Sooners fan. Not the same way that I love my Huskies but I am still a Sooners fan and was ready to wear my heart on my sleeve.
We were told that the most popular sports bar in Norman, O'Connells would be packed so we should go to a place called Coach's. Got there about 20 minutes before kick off and found it to be crowded but far from packed. One big reason is that OU is still on winter break until next week and most of the students are not in the area. It was still great to be a part of a large festive group that cheered when the Sooners made big plays and moaned when the Gators had success. It was a tight game all the way but Florida scored the final 10 points over the last 10 minutes and won 24-14. I would have loved to have been a part of the celebration that would have taken place on the streets of Norman but it just wasn't the Sooners night. Still enjoyed the experience.
Friday night the Thunder had a home game against Houston and lost another close one (we did beat Chicago on the road last night and now have 6 wins). It also was the night that I took on a new role for the organization and that was as a Thunder Super Fan. They asked me to get dressed up so that I could grab a seat in the stands and start dancing during one of the timeouts so they could put me up on the big screen. I failed to take a picture but I will eventually get one up on the blog. I wore a Lone Ranger type of mask that was colored like the american flag, a cheesy cowboy hat, hawaian shirt and crazy shorts. They hit me with the camera and played James Brown "I feel good" and for 15-20 seconds so I danced in the aisle while thousands of people watched up on the scoreboard. The things I do for this company :-) My Director John wants this to be a possible re-occuring role and one that could grow into me throwing t-shirts into the crowd and help getting everyone cheering. Stay tuned.

After the game some of the Ford Center employees decided that some of us Seattle folks needed to have an OKC experience and took a bunch of us to Club Rodeo. This was a true Western experience as it is large bar/club that is located about a 10 minute drive from the arena. Club Rodeo has a large dance floor for western dances and one of my Oklahoma friends tried to teach me how to 2 step and how to do a line dance. The 2 step was frustrating because she is good and I am lousy. I didn't feel as bad about the line dance because all of the Seattle folks were on the dance floor for that as well and we were all pathetic and many of the locals were not much better.

What really seperates Club Rodeo though is that they have a Bull Riding area and every hour the dancing stops and everyone heads over to watch actual bull riding for 15 minutes. A dance floor right next to a bull riding ring in the same building!!! How great is that!! I had never seen bull riding in person and it is impressive. One guy got tossed off and the bull then turned around and flipped him over and into the rail. The rider wiped himself off and ran off. Those guys are tough.

Also got to hang out with my buddy Rob on Friday. Rob is a Seattle entertainer that has been performing at our halftime shows for around 15 years. He and his buddy John used to have a juggling unicycle act and they called themselves the "Gentlemen Jugglers". John decided a few years ago to pursue something more 9 to 5 so Rob went solo and now calls himself "Roberto the Magnificent." Every time Rob performed at the Key Arena, he and I would talk about hanging out in Seattle sometime since we lived about 5 minutes from each other however he travels a lot, is married and has a daughter so we never did. Rob had also never been to anything like Club Rodeo so we dragged him out with us and he was also impressed.
Hope everyone in the Pacific Northwest is surviving the flooding. I miss everyone and the area but I don't miss the rain. So far it has yet to rain here in 2009 and I am okay with that.

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