POSTED ON FEBRUARY 20, 2008:
How to Have Fun, Part I
A visit from a friend called for an action-packed weekend
As your e-mail suggestions for fun things to do in Tulsa continued to overload my inbox, a good friend from Tennessee made his way across I-40 to share in my recent ascent through the local entertainment world. Hanson brothers, watch your backs. He's moving to Utah, and Tulsa was a good stopping point. But, quite obviously, the reason he stopped was to be seen in Tulsa with Isaac.
As I planned our "weekend of debauchery and other stuff," I had to balance many factors, but everything was carefully designed to leave him saying, "Tulsa's, like, a 14 out of 10. It's easily the jewel of the Midwest." And yes, he talks that way.
He loves disc golf, so I searched our many courses with the aid of the Professional Disc Golf Association's website (pdga.com) and chose one that would challenge him and unintentionally make me look like a fool. I like basketball and had yet to attend a 66ers' game, so that made our itinerary. I wasn't consciously planning a weekend jammed full of sports, but all the fighting at the previous Oilers' game made it a no brainer, so a hockey game made the cut. In my mind the weekend planned itself. I allotted some time for beer consumption, reminiscing and a flex period that could be used for additional beer consumption or deep conversation. The moment would have to decide itself. I checked the weather. The meteorologists had finally done their job! Everything was set.
I also wanted to get my friend something that, in the future, would make him think or say aloud, "Tulsa really was the jewel of the Midwest." I considered an "I heart Tulsa" t-shirt but thought that might come off too cocky. What if I won at disc golf or he got food poisoning? He wouldn't want to remember that. I wanted a smallish gift that would help him remember the weekend, but wouldn't have him questioning my judgment. I decided on an "I heart Tulsa" magnet. Not too expensive, but practical. I would present it to him right before our goodbye hug. He would love it. It was perfect.
I forgot to give him the magnet and the CD I had promised. Luckily I don't live too far from the post office. He'll be in rural Utah and will love a package. Maybe I'll include some cookies.
Our weekend began with an on-foot visit to Pie Hole. I live just north of this pizza mecca, still, crossing 15th Street during rush hour is as difficult as it sounds. Fortunately, in spite of our poor decision-making, no one in our party was injured during the jaywalking.
Hockey followed, but it appeared both teams were on their best behavior. An entire game without any fights, are you kidding me? If I was a little more aggressive--or drunk--the best chance for a fight would have been when a gentleman bumped into me and spilled beer down my sleeve. I had a wet and putrid left arm to go with my ticket. The man was a Tulsa fan, so I'm sure he didn't mean it.
After the game, we decided on McNellie's Public House, one of the few bright spots to what I find a spotty downtown nightlife. The beer menu is so lengthy it should come with a bookmark. We laughed, we remembered, and he enjoyed beers from around the United States, one of his goals for the road trip.
The night concluded with story-telling and some mild trash talking on my part. My friend's father always said: "If you aren't going to be able to talk trash after the game you might as well get it in before." I followed his advice as I knew the next day had a beating in store for me on the McClure disc golf course. I was right.
"What a perfect day," I said. It had little to do with my ballooning score or my throbbing right arm and more to do with the sunny, cool day. I have played only a handful of disc golf rounds in my life so I struggle with throwing a Frisbee a great distance. It causes me great frustration and some embarrassment, but being able to spend the afternoon with a dear friend and enjoy a beautiful Tulsa day drowned out my occasional spiking of the Frisbee or creative swear. I could not have thought of a better way to spend the afternoon.
An important aside: I am still bitter about all the litter on the course. If you're going to drink beer, soda pop or bottled water, pick up your own trash. For that matter, if you're going to be outside at any time in your life consider either not throwing down your trash or picking up the trash you do throw down. It's not a terribly complex concept, although some of you make it look like that really difficult math problem in Good Will Hunting. Okay, that's my rant. The moral of the rant is: have some civic pride, or be considerate. You decide on the moral.
After I disposed of the plastic rings that I collected at the disc golf course, my friend and I decided a snack was in order. I needed some potassium after losing so badly. Bananas are high in potassium. We had some bananas. I hope you were able to see that one coming. After our snack, we made an appearance at one of Dwelling Spaces' many hip events. I had a cookie. Mary Beth, the owner, didn't have any bananas.
My grand finale for the weekend rested in the hands of the Tulsa 66ers. They could make it or break it. I had recently read an article here in Urban Tulsa Weekly about the team. I was dying to see some dunks. Then, on a trip to the library, I saw that the 66ers were offering half-priced tickets to anyone with a library card. It didn't take me long to put it all together. It was a sign. Five bucks for a ticket to a professional basketball game made sense to me. After arriving at the game, I realized that even the five dollar seats were good ones. Bring on the dunks.
The Expo Square was basically empty for the game. Maybe that's why they are moving to Bixby. Where's that?
Most of these guys were star college athletes, so I knew we were in for an exciting game, but where were all the fans? It was an up and down game full of dunks, three-pointers and a mascot that seemed to have a tail that was overly perky. Mike Hall, number 99, was the star that night. He helped the 66ers win easily. My friend told me after the game, "I almost thanked him for making it so much fun." Not only that, but the man can dunk and shoot. Mike Hall and the Tulsa 66ers completed an excellent weekend.
For anyone interested in watching a game at Expo Square you have little time left. The 66ers will be going south in hopes of improving attendance. I hope they're successful. Mike Hall, I hope you will be in the NBA at that time.
As far as my friend goes, the package is in the mail. I hope your "I heart Tulsa" magnet will help you remember all the fun we had. It won't be the last.
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