Remember when we were kids? Playing sports meant learning fundamentals, sportsmanship and teamwork. At the end of the season, everyone left with a trophy and a smile.
Fast-forward to high school when the winners were separated from the losers. Loser is a harsh term for sure, but if everyone succeeded, sports would become boring and predictable. What fun would that be?
Race fans watch NASCAR for the spectacular crashes. Olympic ice skating is not about the French judge. People want to see the skaters fall and complete their ice time with a forced smile and tears.
For years, ABC's "Wide World of Sports" famously advertised "the agony of defeat," as a skier plummeted off the side of a mountain. Losing is part of the game even when it hits close to home.
But losing doesn't mean the end of the road. It can be a painful but practical learning experience. The Oklahoma Sooners were soundly defeated in the 2003 National Championship game by the LSU Tigers.
They dusted off their jerseys and made a return trip to the BCS Championship game in 2004. Sure they were blown out by the USC Trojans but at least they were number two. The rollercoaster ride each year left sweet, vivid memories.
The point is this. The trip alone is worth the agonizing defeat. Tulsa's men's golf team tasted the NCAA Championship tournament. The results were disappointing.
Consider this, only 30 teams in the nation made the trip to Williamsburg, Virginia. The bitter taste of failing to make the cut will linger for some time.
A missed putt here, a stray drive there but enough about my golf game. Seriously, these guys put Tulsa golf back on the national stage.
The team, led by four seniors, can take solace in the fact that they won the NCAA Central Regional Championship. Ryan Henry, Sam Korbe, Brett Myers and Mitch Cohlmia represented the university in a classy manner.
Coach Bill Brogden won the NCAA Division I Eaton Golf Pride Regional Coach of the Year award. Hopefully he can parlay the success of this team into future championships as TU continues to compete on a national level against much larger schools.
Oral Roberts climbs an even larger mountain. They manage to find themselves in the thick of the postseason play each year. ORU's baseball success is no secret in these parts.
A year ago, the Golden Eagles reached the super regional with a legit shot at the College World Series. Home cooking helped the Clemson Tigers repel the Eagles in two hotly contested games.
The Eagles played a who's who in their pre-conference schedule this season. The battle tested group once again dominated Mid-Con play to capture their 1,000,000th straight league championship.
For their troubles, they were sent 130 miles north to Wichita, Kansas. The NCAA Wichita Regional featured the hometown Shockers, Arizona Wildcats, ORU and New Orleans.
After a rain delayed lose to the Wildcats, ORU came up short against the Shockers. A bitter ending to another stellar season.
One of these days, skipper Rob Walton will manage this team to the CWS. It is nearly impossible to be consistently this good yet come up just shy.
Somebody stop me! I am admittedly out of control. You know things are ghastly when you start calling yourself out.
However, I would be remiss if I failed to deliver the following news. Does it interest anyone besides me? Time will tell.
The state of Oklahoma's passion for football is second to none. The only other sport I can think of that comes close is wrestling. Would you agree so far?
In football, players out of high school compete at several different levels of collegiate ball. From there, they can ply their trade in the NFL, NFL Europe, AFL, CFL or the new goofy-looking Mark Cuban led UFL.
In wrestling, the next and last step is the Olympics. This is a fabulous alternative if you are indeed world-class. However, the summer Olympics only roll around every four years.
What if you are not one of the top 10 or 12 in the world? "Captain America" Randy Couture has an idea. It's called Team Takedown. Who is Couture you ask?
He was a decorated wrestler for the OSU Cowboys. He competed as an alternate for the 1988, 1992 and 1996 Olympic teams. He is a world-class Greco-Roman wrestler.
His next step was into the famed octagon of the UFC. He is currently the heavyweight champion. Couture decided to open a gym and sign the best collegiate wrestlers in the nation.
The transition from a collegiate wrestling background to mixed martial arts is a natural one. They must learn boxing, submissions and grappling but the basic agility and competitiveness are set.
It should come as no surprise his first two students hail from OSU. Jake Rosholt is a four-time All-American who captured the national title in 2006 and 2007 at 197 pounds.
Johny Hendricks also captured two national titles. He was named All-American four times in the 165 pound division. Once he graduated from college he moved to Las Vegas with his wife.
From there, he rejoined his former Cowboy teammate and started training under Couture. Hendricks is exactly what the UFC is looking for: a brash young man who fears no one. It doesn't hurt that he speaks his mind.
Time will tell if these young fighters have what it takes to make it big time. In the past they wouldn't have an opportunity. Today, they have a punchers chance.
And I dare you to call one of them a loser.
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