He was sporting the requisite crimson and creme ball cap with the bold OU labeling, matching shirt, soiled chinos and off-brand sport shoes. Beneath his shirt lay the protruding gut of too many beers while sitting on too many barcaloungers while watching too many team sports contests on his tv.
Immediately I saw my wife put as much of herself between OU Fan and the girls who were happily skipping along, keeping track of the ratio between empty mall stores and occupied ones. She herded them in my direction and it wasn't hard to detect why she had executed such a defensive move....OU Fan was rabid.
Never did like OSU...worst school in the world far as I'm concerned....never supported them and I never will..." were the basic tenets of his jocular rave as he passed by the orange and black Cowboy section that Steve and Barry's displayed at the front of their mall chain store.
Not being from here, and having little to no exposure to what a "typical OU fan" was before relocating to the panhandle state, I may be a bit more impartial to what my Wife's family characterizes as a "typical OU fan," - local(s) who never set foot on the OU campus to attend classes, let alone any institution of higher learning beyond the 8th grade.
To be fair, my in-laws and kin-through marriage (least those we maintain contact with) are self-labeled Oklahoma fans - meaning they cheer for whatever Oklahoma team is playing, be it TU, OCU, OSU, OU, or the myriad of other campuses with the circular letter of their home state embedded in the representative school name acronym. To my knowledge, they share an equal amount of diplomas from colleges spread throughout the state, including a smattering of degrees from both OU and OSU.
Given that, I'd have to say that they're pretty much just "O" fans.
Even during "Bedlam" they hoot and holler for each team that scores a touchdown, just happy to see someone getting some points on the scoreboard and make for an interesting game.
So why then do they (my local extended family) as a group, propagate the negative stereotyping of OU fans as loudmouthed, uneducated, beer-swilling, narrow-minded, haters of anyone who doesn't bleed crimson and cream?
Can't answer that for them. Perhaps just rooting as an Okie is enough, seeing as how the state as a whole is still struggling to find some respect in the nation's minds eye.
But guys like OU Fan at the mall seem to back their claim up time and time again. Heck, Ross the Intern on the Leno show found some slightly humiliating OU fans at last years Red River Shootout that ranks up there with the best shirtless/toothless/twister-took-my-trailer post-tornado local news clippette on YouTube.
Back at the mall, once I determined that OU Fan was relatively harmless and not of any immediate danger, I smiled and waved at him like any good OU-lovin' compadre of the sports paraphernalia would do and cheerfully hollered out, Hey, what year did you graduate from OU?" to which he answered with surprising articulation and verbal acumen, "I wouldn't waste my money on going to college, get real."
Getting real over here, thanks. How's your reality treating you?
My friend MB (who has more education that any one person needs, but it's his real world experience, high IQ and moral character that has carried him forth to his perfect life) has an enlightening take on the whole "my team beat your team" mentality that is pervasive in certain segments of the world's population (face it, team fanaticism outside the US puts our OU/OSU rivalry to shame).
In his blog posting, he muses,
"I just don't get the concept of the taking credit for others work just because you watched. Be it "our team won" or "we won so many medals"
...it was them, you sat on the couch."