POSTED ON MAY 4, 2011:
A look back at a productive post-football sports season
Breathe, Tulsa, breathe. The breakneck sport's pace typically slows once football season goes into hibernation. This year in Tulsa, not so much.
Our anticipation of the NCAA Tournament kept us dialed in. The climax and aftermath was cigarette-worthy.
Then a couple of our local home teams entered the playoff fray in their respective leagues. Bam, bam, bam.
So before summer and all its glory kicks in full effect, let's recap, remember and romanticize about our teams.
We wanted playoff hockey and the Oilers delivered. A first-round victory showcased the grit and determination Coach Bruce Ramsey has preached since coming onboard.
Even the game-five defeat in Bossier-Shreveport illustrated the greatness of playoff hockey and a champion's heart. Down 4-1 heading into the third period of the fifth and deciding game, a lesser team would have folded and looked for the nearest golf course.
The Oilers fought back to a gut wrenching 5-4 loss. Would a finals appearance have been nice? Absolutely. But for once the team can skate into the offseason with helmets held high.
The redheaded stepchild of Tulsa's pro sports also acquitted themselves quite nicely. This marked the second consecutive year the 66ers made a trip to the postseason.
Postseason basketball rules. This year's NBA playoff-a-palooza is off the charts, especially for Thunder fans. Watching Kevin Durant make a leap in Game 5 against the Nuggets will go down in the annals.
The often forgotten bonus for the 66ers is its partnership with the Thunder. At any given time during the year, the parent company in Oklahoma City can send a high caliber NBA prospect to Tulsa for playing time.
There is a good chance next year's NBA season will be shortened if not cancelled. Think NFL labor issues only much worse. When the season does commence, expect the Thunder draftees to make Tulsa a secondary home.
On a side note, perhaps it is time to rethink the nickname and logo for our D-League squad. The team changed color scheme to match the Thunder. But the logo and "66ers" still sets them apart. They should consider a citywide fan contest to create a new and improved logo and nickname. You can Thunder Up but can you 66er Up? Lightning perhaps?
We are forever inundated with collegiate scandals. USC and Auburn are the big dogs sucking wind these days, but it is nothing new to the landscape. Salacious sells. We get it. Cam Newton, the first overall pick in last week's NFL draft, certainly has not paid a price for shady behavior.
Is it too much to imagine a wild and crazy scenario where student-athletes were, you know, student-athletes? Kentucky basketball is a feeder program for the NBA. Fine. Texas' Rick Barnes would recruit 15 more Kevin Durants if he could, and who could blame him.
So let's take a moment from our quest to view the best and praise a few athletes that undoubtedly cruise under the radar.
The University of Tulsa calls them the "Ultimate Team" but I have a better idea. We'll call them winners. Next stop? Torpedo of Truth Tour.
The honorees were defined by having exemplified qualities and characteristics that are consistent with the missions and values of The University of Tulsa. They are a tad less stringent than the BYU Honor Code.
The qualities and characteristics considered include academic success, campus involvement, community outreach, athletic participation and other areas of student involvement.
Members for the 2010-11 academic year are Kelsey Klein (Women's Track and Field; Sam Masters (Men's Track and Field); Summer McCall (Spirit Squad); Ashley McInnes (Men's Soccer); Brandi Neilson (Women's Soccer); Hannah Stout (Volleyball) and Rusty Turpin (Men's Tennis).
Bravo contributing, athletic members of T-Town. Bravo.
How about TU's dominance in Conference USA while on the collegiate kick? We tend to lavish praise and over value conference championships in two sports: football and men's basketball.
The Golden Hurricane have fallen short in the two main sports over the years. However, C-USA opposition has been TU's piñata across the board.
Since the current C-USA alignment was formed in 2005, the University of Tulsa has racked up 33 league titles. This includes regular season (11) and post-season (22) conference crowns.
The next closest schools are Rice and SMU with 20 apiece. Bringing up the rear are Marshall and Southern Miss with three each.
This year alone TU has captured five titles including men's and women's cross country, volleyball and most recently men's and women's tennis.
Boycott the NFL
NFL fans unite! The players, owners and commissioner all say they are on the fan's side. This makes them all liars.
Owners draw strength at the bargaining table because they have the money and write the checks.
Players make the game worth watching, thus have leverage on their side too.
The fans chanted during the NFL Draft "We Want Football" until they were shushed by Roger Goodell. Does this affect the decision makers? No.
The only card we, the fans, hold is the power of our money. We need to unite and stop buying merchandise. Stop watching their programming. A boycott of the NFL Draft would have sent a strong message.
But the truth of the matter is I wanted, no I needed to know who the Saints were drafting. Had I protested and missed two excellent picks the only one on the losing end would have been me.
So congratulations to the NFL owners and players. You have the fans right where you want us.
We Want Football.
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