It had been 30 years since I played my trumpet in front of 80,000 or so rowdy spectators. Fortunately, expectations are modest for the Pride of Oklahoma’s Alumni Band homecoming performance. I hadn’t practiced much, but like anyone who’s ever donned a Pride uniform, I can play “Boomer Sooner” in my sleep, even three decades later.
The Pride had a rough couple of years in 2013 and 2014, with a new Director that turned out to be controversial and short-tenured. Predictably, the alumni had strong and varied opinions about how best to deal with the situation. The University’s fairly brilliant solution was to convince my 1980s friend and bandmate, Brian Britt, to come back and take over for good. Our Pride is in good hands. So this year’s alumni band homecoming was a one of the biggest (and best, I’m told) ever — a reunion, a reconciliation, and a celebration. I made it a priority to be there.
The sports pages the next day described the amusement of the alumni band as a perennial hit. Hopefully, we’re back in a mode where the band alumni make the newspapers only once a year. Maybe I’ll become a regular, too.
The phrase “Boomer Sooner” is repeated fourteen times in our famous fight song, and the song itself echoes through the stadium dozens of times before, during, and after every game. But to true Sooners, “Boomer Sooner” never gets old — even if the folks playing it do. Spending a beautiful fall day on the OU campus is a sure reminder of all the reasons to be proud of the place. Live on, University!
A seemingly major breach of stadium security: If you held a credible-looking musical instrument and wore a crimson polo, you could “march” right onto the sidelines. Of course I abused the privilege. That’s me with the Texas Tech “Raider” mascot in the last image.
*This modified Blues Brothers quote had multiple apt meanings in this context.