An interesting story from the OU Campus…
Welcome back. For some reason I always enjoy returning to the scene of a massive event the day after. Mostly I like to check out what a relatively small area looks like after thousands of people have invaded. I was still in Norman early Sunday morning after a hundred thousand folks (counting staff and people unable to get tickets) gathered on campus to watch the Oklahoma Sooners play the Ohio State Buckeyes and the scene was what you might expect. Hundreds of trash cans were full and overflowing as crews were just getting started when I got on campus. The huge rain storm that passed through had blown trash into the storm drains, causing more work for the clean-up effort. Tents had blown down everywhere and the trees were full of wind-blown debris as well. On Campus Corner where I spent most of my time during the storm and where hundreds of people took refuge from the rain, the scene was the same. In its own way, everything looked beautiful to me and somewhat artistic. Fortunately no one was hurt during the event and all the businesses reported record setting sales. I can also tell you that everything was completely cleaned up by the end of the day Sunday.
I am also happy to report that all the Ohio State fans I talked to were very impressed by the friendliness of the people in Oklahoma. It was a great weekend for the state and for me as well. As always, during my visit I was on the lookout for an interesting historical story and found a good one.
On the OU campus, sitting right across from the main entrance to the Gaylord Family Stadium sits McCasland Field House. Named for T. Howard McCasland, who was both a basketball and a football star, the field house was originally built in 1928 for basketball and it had seating for 5,000 people. Today it is the home of the OU wrestling team, the women’s volleyball team and both men’s and women’s gymnastics. Over the past 15years the facility has undergone a major renovation including upgrades to all the building systems, installation of new windows and an expansion. Walking by you immediately notice the distinctive architecture of the building and sitting on a bench outside you get a sense of all the great events that have taken place there. In addition to sports the building was also a concert venue in the 1960s and ‘70s and Jimi Hendrix brought his Band of Gypsies to play here as did Frank Sinatra and Elvis. You may be wondering of all the places on campus, how did I find this one? Here’s the scoop:
At every home game, an OU organization called the “Varsity O” holds a tailgate party for all former OU lettered athletes. This means any former student, male or female, who played sports at OU can attend and attend they did. The party was held in the field house and it was full. For a sports guy like me this was wonderful and the conversations among the guests recalling past accomplishments should be on film. I met many interesting people, and found out that OU Athletic Director Joe Castiglione is in charge of the event. After an entertaining couple of hours, the group invited me to return any time and I might just take them up on it. The McCasland Field House is well worth the stop if you’re ever on the OU campus.
Till next time I’ll see ya down the road….