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Oglebating: Is it okay to cheer for a school that you did not attend?

OSU defenders block a field goal attempt during the second half of the Bedlam college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the Oklahoma State University Cowboys (OSU) at the Gaylord Family –Oklahoma Memorial Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 28, 2009, in Norman, Okla. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman ORG XMIT: KOD

With it being Super-Amazing Bedlamageddon Bedlam Week presented by The Oklahoman, we thought it would be fun to tackle an age-old Bedlam debate: Is it okay to cheer for a school that you did not attend?

Most OSU fans would say "Yes," while most OU fans would say "Who Cares." Then again, most OSU fans root for the Cowboys only because they went to school there, whereas most OU fans cheer for the Sooners because they are fair-weather fans who support the state's only tradition-rich sports program.

Anyway, Clark Matthews and I are going to Oglebate the topic today. Check it out:

Clark Matthews: NO!

"We" is a term that gets bandied about as a fan: "We really took it to those Shorthorns," or "We need to get a better kicker." It is a word that implies an intimacy with the team, like the person saying it is a part of the product. With that kind of affiliation, fans feel the connection that calls for them to angrily call for the head coach to lose his job in a public forum whenever that coach comes up short in the big scrimmage, or denounce a kid who is not allowed in a bar legally for botching a play.

College sports programs came about as part of physical education curriculum. Students at the school joined the teams like they would a fraternity. The best of the kids who wanted the extra curricular would compete against other schools and the student body would roll out to support the team that represented their university as a matter of school pride. In essence, the only purpose of having college sports was to represent that college.

Fast forward to present time, and the majority of fans for at least one school in this state have never done so much as attend a single class on the campus. If you were not blessed with a rocket for an arm, are unable to run a 40-yard dash in 4.3 seconds, and are limited in frame to less than six feet tall and 300 pounds, there is a simple way to earn that intimacy that makes one a part of "we." Become part of what the team represents. In this case the school.

Instead, Sooner fans--primarily the most obnoxious of them--bash Sooner opponents as "you" and speak about the University of Oklahoma as if they obtained a degree from there while most of them have never been on the campus unless it was to watch a game. Meanwhile, just about any of them would pity someone who cheered on Northeastern A&M unless they not only went to the school but also played for the team. Then with no sense of irony, they sing the school fight song.

"Sooner-born, Sooner-bred, until I die and I'm Sooner-dead."


Patrick: YES!




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