Saturday, November 10, 2007
Baylor Gameday: Oklahoma!
Today's Baylor opponent is the University of Oklahoma, which is well-known for strong programs in football, women's basketball, and a variety of academic programs. Though one might not guess this of an institution that now includes among its students 600 national merit scholars, the school started with nothing more than a dream. Let's find out more about this fascinating place!
The University was founded by Norman Oklahoma, a Tennessean who headed westward in 1890. He was wealthy, intelligent, free-wheeling, bi-polar, and driven to found a leading institution of higher education. Having heard about new territories to the West from a friend, he mistakenly headed South, ending up in Biloxi. While there, he commandeered a Dutch schooner which was in the harbor, and set out to find his destiny. It was on that schooner that he eventually settled the University which now bears his name. Sadly, the schooner had to be carried the last several hundred miles, and hundreds of Dutch men died on the prairie. To honor them, the University of Oklahoma's teams are still known as the Schooners.
When he got to the point where there were no longer enough men to carry the ship, Oklahoma built his school, using the timbers from the schooner to erect the first building, a tavern. For some 15 years, the tavern remained as the only building at the school, and Oklahoma was the only teacher. During these years, the students were primarily from the local population, but also included those drawn to the school by fraudulent advertisements placed in popular magazines such as Maxim and Blender.
Sadly, in 1905 Norman Oklahoma died in a tragic accident. He was testing a new device of his own invention, (the "Jet-Skiier Machine") off the coast of Jamaica when he was struck, ironically enough, by a schooner. Interestingly, this is consistent with the tragic deaths of other college founders at the hands of men and beasts later made the mascot of that university. Taylor Cincinnattus, founder of the University of Cincinnati, was mauled to death by a mixed group of bears and wild cats which had escaped from a private roadside zoo; Ernest Vanderbilt was killed in a duel by Commodore Edmund Peary; Franklin LaCrosse, founder of the University of Wisconsin, suffered a fatal stroke when he was attacked by badgers; Thomas Jefferson died due to mistakes by his physician, Robert Cavalier; and, perhaps most famously, Judge Ted Baylor was attacked by bears. Even old Eric Tech, founder of Texas Tech University, suffered a similar fate. His home was invaded by hordes of fire ants seeking out his large collection of cheese. Tech was nearly fully consumed by the greedy red raiders, who also stripped the house of the cheese. Even lesser institutions have been affected, including junior colleges and universities. For example, Leland Stanford, founder of Leland Stanford Junior University, was eaten by a single Cardinal while climbing a particularly hideous tree.
But today, let us celebrate the legacy of Norman Oklahoma, whose wildest dreams may even be exceeded at today's game! The game will be televised, giving us a glimpse of many OU traditions, including the Parade of The Midnight Freshmen, and the school's proud mascot, Military Chicken (pictured above).
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I have always loved the tradition of Military Chicken pecking at corn left by graduates every homecoming. He leads the parade that way, pecking corn from the ground and making obscene gestures.
What a crazy mascot, Military Chicken. There must be a good story behind that, O Great University Historian . . .
At least he's not a scary-looking Military Chicken. Speaking of military types, I saw the Zurich riot police out in full force and full gear tonight. Kind of a shock, to be reminded that I live in a real city and not something straight off a postcard like it is most of the time. Those guys looked like something out of "A Clockwork Orange," in bright blue jumpsuits and big round white helmets and guns and ammo. Brrr . .
Did Busby Berkeley found that one school out in California? I know that Buddy Cornell was eaten by ravenous Polar Bears fleeing the melting icecaps of the great Heat of '08, so there's no mystery there. Is it true that Pandemonium Yale started a rather marginal law school on the East coast when his wife was eaten by whales off of Greenland and he couldn't find anyone to sue Denmark? How do these stories get started anyway?
Looking forward to your research into the origins of "Okie-Lite" for this weekend's games. Should be easy pickins'Post a Comment
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