I remained an OU fan into my adult years and beyond. In fact, even though living in Texas, I had never in all those years pulled for any team that dared to challenge my Sooners.
Until the night I killed Sweetie Pie.
If you’re wondering what all the black magic in the air was that night, the spell that made three low-percentage Boise State trick plays in the Fiesta Bowl work flawlessly in the last 1:07 of regulation and through the overtime period, I can tell you, it was the devil trying to get back at me.
He was furious for my having killed Sweetie Pie, so he thought to himself, what could be better than making this guy’s team lose to a mid-major in front of the entire nation, on, get this, three improbable trick plays?
What the devil didn’t know was that for the first time since being birthed by my mom, I switched loyalties that night.
For a six-year period in the '90s, I was in Boise serving time as sports editor for the Idaho Statesman.
Somewhere along the way, I was infected with Smurf Turf disease. It causes Boise fans to react in a berserk manner, and for opponents to sneer. “Football’s supposed to be played on green grass.”
Right, and also on blue turf.
So I strayed, what can I say? I knew players, coaches and athletic directors and what they had been through, and the chance to beat a great program like Oklahoma’s was too much to resist.
I am deeply sorry.
Before I could watch the magic (black, of course), I was seated on Gene’s couch, waiting to eat Gene’s steaks, when Sweetie Pie looked up at me with big, beautiful dawg eyes. I knew what she expected. I would massage behind her ears for hours at a time during football games, and then stroke her back until she went to sleep. Then she jumped into my lap.