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Letter to the Editor

Baseball without tobacco?

Like all baseball fans, I was saddened to learn of the death of Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn in June, and I followed closely the outcry from fans and the sporting world for Major League Baseball to ban smokeless tobacco use among players. I thought it would be a great idea, but would never happen … smokeless tobacco is just a part of the game, right?

So imagine my surprise when my ESPN text alert the week of the MLB All Star Game said the commissioner of baseball and the players association were aiming to eliminate smokeless tobacco use in baseball.

MLB has made some efforts to curb smokeless tobacco use among players, like banning its use in the minor leagues, not providing dip to players, and not allowing tobacco use during interviews. But can professional baseball survive without tobacco, something that seems to have been married to the game as long as anyone can remember? I think yes, and it would be for the best.

Players like Stephen Strasburg of the Nationals and Addison Reed of the Diamondbacks have publicly come out to say they are kicking their tobacco habits because of Gwynn’s death. But if baseball can ban the use of smokeless tobacco, future generations of baseball players, from high school through the pros, may not have to quit – because they never started.

Kids want to do everything their favorite players do – from wearing the same cleats and copying their batting stance, to using (or simulating the use of) smokeless tobacco. The tobacco industry already spends millions of dollars marketing smokeless tobacco as grown up and manly; kids don’t need to have that message reinforced by their favorite baseball players. Already here in Oklahoma, 21.2 percent of male high school students – more than one in five – use smokeless tobacco.

A ban on smokeless tobacco in professional baseball would not only benefit the health and well-being of current players, but also that of future generations of baseball players at all levels. I commend the commissioner and the players association for even approaching the subject and look forward to seeing what the outcomes are during their next collective bargaining.

Jenny Kellbach

Tobacco Prevention Coordinator, Canadian County

Communication missing from water hunt

By Ray Dyer

One word is obviously missing when learning how members of the Central Oklahoma Water Resources Authority, also known as COWRA, were taken by surprise by the Oklahoma Water Resources Board’s plan to study the same issues undertaken by the local authority.

That word is communication.

COWRA lobbyist Shawn Lepard said he was planning to discuss the OWRB plan with COWRA members at a meeting in Yukon last Friday. Lepard did not attend the public meeting held last spring in April that was hosted by OWRB. That meeting, also in Yukon, was to gather input from “stakeholders” interested in water issues. Lepard said he thought a COWRA representative was at the meeting, but wasn’t for sure.

J.D. Strong, the executive director of the OWRB, said he too believed a COWRA authority member was present, but again he wasn’t sure. Lepard said the Yukon meeting was lightly attended, while Strong said it had strong attendance, until told of what Lepard said, then backed away from his earlier statement.

Strong said he and Lepard have worked closely on water issues over the years.

But is Lepard working closely with COWRA, the entity that is paying him a handsome sum of money to help develop a “secure water source” for Canadian County?

When city managers and county commissioners who serve on the COWRA board don’t know what’s going on until contacted by reporters, the answer may not be yes.

The people who serve on the COWRA board, in my opinion, deserve credit. They are taking on a task, whether right or wrong, apparently without seeking compensation. It appears they are people who are trying to make a difference.

Hats off to that.

Can the same be said for the paid lobbyist?

Don’t know. Hope so. But don’t know.

Strong and Lepard both said COWRA needs to continue its independent work at finding a source of brackish water. Lepard said the local folks, meaning COWRA, shouldn’t expect the state to do for it what it should be doing for itself.

At the same time, Strong said the federal government is no longer interested in building a lake or reservoir so that option is off the table. He agrees, a body of water would produce a far greater economic impact than simply drilling holes in the ground.

“The low hanging fruit is gone,” Strong said, referring to a lack of federal support for such an undertaking.

So, COWRA is supposed to be independent, but OWRB isn’t? Is that what I’m hearing?

One point that did stick out, at least in my mind, that causes me concern, is that no one from the Oklahoma Water Resource Board or COWRA, from what I can gather, has ever picked up the phone and called the Cheyenne and Arapaho leaders to discuss water.

Oklahoma City is involved in a lawsuit with two powerful Native American tribes over an effort to pull water from lakes in southeastern Oklahoma. How long will it take to get that resolved?

From what I understand, Concho, home of the C&A tribal headquarters, sits on about 6,000 acres. Under this land that runs along the North Canadian River are natural springs. The springs supplied water for cattle drives that moved through here in the 1800s. It gave water to Native Americans and early settlers. From what I’m told, the springs are still running. And yet, no one has picked up the phone and invited the C&A to the water talk table.

Of course, Oklahoma City hasn’t been invited to the COWRA table either, even though it’s the largest city in Canadian County.

Communication is a big deal.

Veterans News

American Legion Post 353 of Mustang and Auxiliary Unit 353 meet on the second Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Mustang Community Center in the senior center room. We invite all veterans and their families to join us at our next meeting, scheduled for Thursday, July 10. For information about meetings and events, contact Paul Ray at 921-5819.


Post 353 scholarships. Congratulations to the Mustang High School graduates who received the Mustang American Legion Scholarships: Jimmy Nguyen, Erica Diebold, Austin Leith, Cole Biermann and Micah Hinton.

Golf tournament. Post 353 will host its annual fundraiser golf tournament on Sept. 27 at Willow Creek Golf Course, 6105 S. Country Club Drive, Oklahoma City. It will be a four-person shotgun start at 8:30 a.m. Two persons and singles are welcome. A catered barbecue lunch will be provided. Please mark your calendar and join us for a day of golfing fun. Watch for ads in the upcoming newspapers. For information, call Doug Gingerich at 641-1075.

2014-2015 officer installation. Officer installation will be held at the July 10 meeting. The incoming officers are Paul Ray – Commander; Don Kuntze – Adjutant; First Vice Commander – John Traffanstedt; Second Vice Commander – Dave Schacher; Finance Officer – John Bishop; Judge Advocate – Gary Shidell; Sergeant-at-Arms – Clarence Marcaurele; Service Officer – Doug Gingerich; Chaplain – Karen Douthit; and Historian – Duane Douothit.

Navajo Code Talker dies. Chester Nez of Albuquerque, N.M., was among 29 tribal members who developed an unbreakable code that helped win World War II. He was 93 when he died and the last of the original U.S. Marine Code Talkers.

Before hundreds of men from the Navajo Nation became Code Talkers, 29 Navajos were recruited to develop the code based on the then-unwritten Navajo language. Nez was in the 10th grade when he enlisted, keeping his decision a secret from his family and lying about his age, as did many others. It’s one of the greatest parts of history that they used their own native language during World War II.

Of the 250 Navajos who showed up at Fort Defiance, Ariz., then a U.S. Army base, 29 were selected to join the first all-Native American unit of the Marines. They were inducted in May 1942. Nez became part of the 382nd Platoon.

Using Navajo words for red soil, war chief, braided hair, beads, ant and hummingbird, for example, they came up with a glossary of more than 200 terms that later were expanded into an alphabet. Nez has said he was concerned the code wouldn’t work. At the time, few non-Navajos spoke the language. Even Navajos who did couldn’t understand the code. It proved impenetrable.

The Navajos trained in radio communications were walking copies of the code. Each message read aloud by a Code Talker was immediately destroyed. The Japanese did everything in their power to break the code, but they never did.

After World War II, Nez volunteered to serve two more years during the Korean War. He retired in 1974 after a 25-year career as a painter at the Veterans Hospital in Albuquerque.

Nez was eager to tell his family about his role as a Code Talker, but he couldn’t. Their mission wasn’t declassified until 1968. The accolades came much later – the Code Talkers are now widely celebrated. The original group received Congressional Gold Medals in 2001, and a movie based on the Code Talkers was released the following year. They have appeared on television and in parades and routinely spoke to veterans groups and students.

Nez threw the opening pitch at a 2004 Major League baseball game and offered a blessing for the presidential campaign of John Kerry. In 2012, he received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Kansas, where he abandoned his studies in fine arts after money from his GI Bill ran out.

Despite having both legs partially amputated, confining him to a wheelchair, Nez loved to travel, meet people and tell his story.


One Size Fits All?

By Sean McDaniel, Mustang Public Schools superintendent

Thank God Oklahoma has some of the brightest and most passionate legislators on the planet!  If not for legislators who ask sincere questions, ask for input from those who would be most affected by proposed legislation and take action to advance or in some cases halt legislation, many, many lives might be altered in a very negative way.

During the 2014 legislative session, Rep. Katie Henke took on a fight that she could have just as easily turned down. In a professional and diplomatic manner she penned and promoted House Bill 2625, and in doing so took on not only several of her counterparts and colleagues in the Legislature, she took on the leadership of the state Department of Education as well.

The stakes were high. Hundreds and hundreds of Oklahoma’s third-graders would have been retained based upon a single assessment and/or their failure to meet any number of possible exemptions. Proponents of this “one-size-fits-all” mandate espouse that third-graders should be retained if they are unable to demonstrate that they can read at grade level. They typically use a variation of the slogan: “If they can’t read, they can’t do anything else.”

The slogan, though, is incomplete. It’s a no-brainer that reading is important. What most proponents fail to acknowledge is that reading skills are developed over time with sound instruction and a commitment from parents and teachers to an intensive process that results in reading proficiency. To place a deadline at the conclusion of third grade equates to a complete lack of understanding of the vast amount of research that speaks to the development of reading skills. Certainly, a third grade end-of-year assessment can add to the body of evidence that should be considered when discussing the retention of a student, but to use a single assessment as the end-all is dangerous.

In Mustang, a very straightforward and simple exercise was conducted in order to determine the potential impact of the third grade retention law. Because educators understand that reading is a developmental process and that students progress at varying rates, the results of the exercise surprised no one. Progress for all 2012-13 fifth-, sixth- and seventh-graders in the Mustang district who scored unsatisfactory on the third grade reading test when they were in third grade were examined.

A total of 89 students from the three grades scored unsatisfactory when they were third-graders on the third grade reading test. These 89 students, along with their parents, would have faced the real possibility of retention and many of them would have been retained. Fast forward to 2012-13. Fifty-four of the original 89 students who scored unsatisfactory as third-graders scored at least limited knowledge on the state assessments as fifth-, sixth- or seventh-graders. In fact, 23 students of the original 89 scored proficient or advanced as fifth-, sixth- or seventh-graders. Additionally, of the 35 students who scored unsatisfactory as third-graders and again as fifth-, sixth- and seventh-graders, 24 of them actually showed progress at a 41 point average growth rate from their original unsatisfactory score as third-graders to their unsatisfactory score as fifth-, sixth- and seventh-graders.

At the very least, what this data seems to suggest is that students do indeed progress at varying points in time, particularly when sound instructional strategies are in place and effective instruction is occurring. When making decisions about retention, academic progress is a significant piece of the conversation and must be considered; however, it is a piece that was missing entirely from the third grade reading law.

An important question to ask is what has been done for the 35 students who scored unsatisfactory as third-graders and again as fifth-, sixth- and seventh-graders in 2012-13 – particularly the 11 students who have not shown progress?  The answer to this very important question is critical. In Mustang, like in many other districts, there are individual learning plans in place for every single one of these students. Teachers and administrators, along with members of each schools’ support staff, know exactly what the areas in need of improvement are for each child. Teachers receive training on research-based strategies that are being incorporated in the classroom for each child and these strategies are monitored for effectiveness and modified or changed as necessary.

The truth is, every struggling student was very likely identified by a team of educators as far back as kindergarten and a variety of measures have been and will continue to be taken until each student is proficient in reading. It is not an accident, nor is it a coincidence, that students continue to show progress in Mustang. The idea that one single pass or fail score based upon a single assessment, at a single point in time in the spring of a student’s third grade year determines whether or not to retain a child is not the answer. HB 2625 is the answer, as it places the decision whether or not to retain back into the hands of the educators and the parents.

We are grateful for legislators like Katie Henke who do more than simply take up a cause. Anyone can do that. Rep. Henke took up a cause, provided evidence to support the cause and fought until she had persuaded others that this cause was worth the fight. Thanks to her and to others who studied and listened carefully, Oklahoma students are the winners.


Top-30 MHS athletes: Part one

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I am doing a six-week series of columns counting down my current top-30 Mustang High School athletes. The series started this week with Nos. 26-30 on my list.

26. Madison Maxwell, senior, girls basketball

Madison Maxwell has developed into one of the top girls basketball players on the Lady Broncos roster in the past two seasons.

As a sophomore, she was thrust into the varsity rotation when fellow sophomore guard Bailey Flynn went down with a season-ending injury. The young Lady Bronco struggled at first, but eventually developed confidence and played a key role in the Bronco girls making it to the regional championship game against eventual state champion Booker T. Washington Hornets.

Her junior year campaign was much more consistent for Maxwell. She led the team in scoring in multiple games and developed a reputation for creating turnovers and leading Mustang on many fast-break opportunities throughout the season.

The slick ball-handling guard has a rare knack for getting inside the paint area and despite her smallness in size, can get the ball to the rim despite having taller defenders around commentary new.qxd

27. Sarah Kellogg, junior, girls basketball and girls golf

Sarah Kellogg is one of the bright up-and-coming young athletes at Mustang High School.

Kellogg competes in two sports for MHS. The tall, athletic junior is a reserve forward for the Lady Broncos basketball team and one of the top golfers for the Bronco girls golf team.

As a sophomore, Kellogg played the role of scrappy rebounder and defender for the Mustang girls basketball team. In numerous games, she would come in and provide a much-needed spark for the Lady Broncos.

On the golf course, Kellogg improved her game dramatically by the end of the season last year. Her game got more consistent with each round she played.

As a junior this coming year, Kellogg will play a much bigger role for the girls basketball team as well as well as being a key cog on the girls golf team.

28. Josh Vannoy, senior, boys soccer and football

Josh Vannoy is a dual sport athlete at Mustang High School and he has made his name with his right foot.

Vannoy is a defense-man on the Bronco boys soccer team, where he utilizes his size and strength to fend off offensive attacks from opponents.

On the gridiron, Vannoy does the place-kicking for the Broncos. Last season, he was consistently good on his extra points and his powerful leg gives Mustang head coach Jeremy Dombek confidence to use him when MHS needs points deep inside the opposing territory.

Vannoy will be counted on this coming year to provide leadership both on the soccer field and on the gridiron.

Look for Vannoy to have an impact at the end of a Bronco football game this fall with the clock winding down with a chance to win the game with his right foot and the ball sailing through the uprights.

29. Bailey Flynn, senior, girls basketball

Bailey Flynn would be much higher on this list, but she hasn’t seen much action on the basketball court because of the injuries she sustained her sophomore and junior years.

Flynn started every game at the point guard position for the Lady Broncos as a freshman. She made her name with her ability to knock down long-range 3-point shots and the leadership she provided at a young age.

If Flynn can stay healthy this season for the Bronco girls as a senior, she will have a big impact on the squad. As a freshman, she led the Lady Broncos to the state tournament, let’s hope she has that same kind of magic for this year’s group.

30. Lauren Sloan, senior, girls golf

Lauren Sloan came on strong late in the season for the Lady Broncos golf team this past spring.

The senior right-hander started off the year with a few bumps in the road, but from the midpoint until the state tournament, the young Lady Bronco made her name known across the state.

Sloan’s solid play in the postseason tournaments will sling-shot her into her senior season with a lot of confidence. She will be counted on to provide a lot of leadership to a relatively young team next spring for the Bronco girls on the golf course.

Salomon can be reached at

June in Scotland

By Emily Kindiger

Since I focused so strongly on my dissertation preparations in May, I tried to do a few more fun activities for June. One Danish Independence Day dinner, three trips and one competition made for an amazing month of adventures.

Emily Kindiger on a lookout of the North Sea. (Photo/Courtesy)

Two of my classmates hail from Denmark, so on June 5 they invited a few of us over for traditional Danish sandwiches, a chance to try their homeland’s schnapps and to teach us about Danish independence. Traditional sandwiches are eaten open-faced with usually herring, tomato and cucumber, but other toppings such as egg are common. This type of schnapps is very different from the Swedish kind most of us Americans are used to. It’s called Akvavit (aquavit), meaning “water of life,” and has a difficult-to-describe flavor. It was definitely not something I would drink again, but I can at least say that I have tried it.

For my first trip this month, I went to the Dumfries and New Lanark area, visiting the Falls of Clyde, Drumlanrig Castle (the Pink Palace), Caerlaverock Castle (a moated triangular castle from the 13th century) and the city of Dumfries, which is the hometown of the 18th century Scottish poet Robert Burns. This was a stunning trip and Caerlaverock Castle was amazing because, although small, it has not been renovated since 1640.

The next trip was to the east coast of Scotland to Stonehaven, Dundee and Aberdeen. The town of Stonehaven houses Dunnattar Castle, which rests high on the cliffs, overlooking the North Sea. The view was spectacular. This castle is known for housing the Scottish crown jewels from Oliver Cromwell’s invasion during the 17th century, the phenomenal scenery and for serving as the inspiration behind the castle in the movie Brave. About an hour’s drive from here is the third largest city in Scotland, Aberdeen, which is known as the Granite City since nearly all the buildings are made from white granite. It rests on the coastline and has a beautiful beach view of the North Sea, as well.

The mudder team – Kyle Mylrea, Emily and Cassandra Zawojek. (Photo/Courtesy)

The third trip was to Oban and the Isle of Seil on the west coast. On the way, I saw Inveraray Castle in the town of Inveraray before reaching Oban, which means “the little bay.” Besides a lovely coastal view, the city is home to McCaig’s Tower — a Coliseum-like structure built by architect John McCaig in the late 1800s into the early 1900s. It was based on the Roman design, but was never finished due to McCaig’s death. After leaving Oban, I passed the Atlantic Bridge (Clachan Bridge) with links Seil to the mainland—legend says that crossing the bridge on foot brings good luck. Seil is a beautiful, small town bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and mountains. The view from the top was breathtaking, with the cliffs on one side and ocean on the other.

In between the second and third trip, two friends and I took part in a Tough Mudder Competition. The goal of competition is to get you and your team through the 12 mile, 20 obstacle course. It was originally designed for Special Forces units for training purposes, focusing on teamwork. The competition tests physical and mental limits and includes swimming through ice water, climbing steep walls, leaping off tall structures into more water, crawling under barbed wire, swinging from bar to bar, electrodes, etc. It is basically training for the military but the whole thing is covered in every type of mud imaginable: slick, clay, sticky, suction. We were covered and drenched in it throughout the whole day.

Its slogan is “probably the toughest event on the planet” and it lived up to that. Pain, cold, and exhaustion pressed our limits, and by mile eight, some of the thrill and fun of the obstacles was wearing off. However, I have never felt a larger sense of pride and accomplishment as when my team and I crossed the finish line, receiving our “finisher” headbands, pints, and shirts. Although difficult and strenuous, this competition was truly amazing and absolutely fun.

All the participants take an oath at the beginning about teamwork, camaraderie and overcoming challenges, and each person I saw held that oath highly. Tough Mudder isn’t about who crosses the finish line first; it’s about everyone (you, your team and your fellow participants) reaching this end: no one left behind.

Tough Mudder was a challenge I could not be prouder to be a part of. It is one of the most amazing things I have ever done, and I cannot wait to form another team and do another in the future. I wear my shirt and the remaining cuts and bruises with honor, pride and the greatest sense of achievement.

June was a wonderful month of adventures—and yes I have been working on the dissertation too. It was beyond my wildest expectations and I am thrilled to see what July holds in store.



Bible history class deserves study

There’s been a lot of controversy lately over a proposed Bible history class for Mustang High School.

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It’s a topic that’s generated a lot of talk and a lot of interest, with a spotlight shining brightly on Mustang Public Schools. Some supporters of the proposed class say students should be entitled to study something as important as the Bible, while detractors question whether this would truly be a history class or a veiled attempt to bring religious education into a public school district.

I believe a lot of the concern about the class can be traced back to its source – Steve Green and the Green Foundation. Green, of course, is head of Hobby Lobby. With the Supreme Court’s decision on Monday ruling in favor of that company’s stance on contraceptive provisions in the Affordable Care Act, the debate about the MPS Bible class is sure to flare up again.

Green makes no apologies about his religious beliefs. In challenging the Affordable Care Act, Hobby Lobby stirred up a hornet’s nest on a national level, with women’s rights groups clashing with those who waived the flag of “religious liberty.” No doubt the debate over the 5-4 decision will continue for the foreseeable future. All of that aside, it is Green’s approach to religion which seems to have caused so many issues for opponents of the planned Bible history course.

The release of an early draft of the course curriculum didn’t help matters. Reading through that draft, there were things that I, as a parent, questioned – I’ll be honest. Perhaps I wouldn’t have had those thoughts if my religious leanings conformed exactly with those of the Green family, but that doesn’t really matter because the key word in that sentence was “draft.”

According to school district officials, the curriculum has undergone numerous changes since it was first presented to them. How substantial those are no one knows because they haven’t been made public. While I believe that could possibly relieve some of the questions that have been raised about the course, it’s not my place to make that decision. And it is possible that wouldn’t make a difference to course detractors at all.

There are two issues here – does the course’s content conflict with the U.S. Constitution and is this a course worthy of study by our students? Mustang Superintendent Sean McDaniel seems to be taking great pains to make sure the answer to the first question is no; he says the Green course has components that make it worth the extra trouble the district has encountered with the proposal.

My feeling as a parent is this – the course is an elective, a class which will only be taken by students who choose to sign up for it. It could be different if it was a requirement, but it is not. If parents have issues with the class, they can direct their child to abstain from signing up, and any youth not interested in it can just pass it by.

As for whether the course could be used as a tool to sermonize, that would become pretty clear pretty fast once students were actually sitting in the classroom. And while I wouldn’t be thrilled if that was the perception my son might have of the class, as long as it didn’t violate constitutional ethics, I would be OK with it. At some point, we have to allow our children to hear things we might not strictly believe – and it’s up to us to teach them to filter their lessons so they make up their own mind, no matter what the subject.

To me, one of the most neglected subjects in school is history. With the focus so strongly on testing – something not reflecting shortcomings of local teachers but poor choices by administrators not involved in our children’s day-to-day education – it seems a full education has taken a backseat to test results.

“Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it,” said Edmund Burke. It’s time we encourage our children to study history and really learn about our past, whether it’s Bible history, knowledge of our veterans, where our country and world have been and where they could be going. If this course can be part of that, I’m all for it.


There’s no match for OU-Texas

Which is the better rivalry? Bedlam or the Red River Showdown?

By Kyle Salomon,

When it comes to rivalries in sports, you hear about the Yankees-Red Sox, Lakers-Celtics or Michigan-Ohio State, but the one rivalry that trumps them all is the Red River Showdown between Oklahoma and Texas.

Now my counterpart, Patrick Osborne, believes the annual Bedlam clash between the Sooners and their bitter in-state foe, Oklahoma State, tops OU-Texas when it comes to rivalries.

Osborne will dazzle you with ideas such as the in-state brotherhood or that on-campus sites are better than the neutral site, but in reality, in no world is Bedlam ever bigger or better than the clash of crimson and burnt orange every October in Dallas.

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First, we have to look at the tradition of the rivalry. Oklahoma and Texas are consistently among the top two programs in college football. The Longhorns lead the series 60-43-5 over the Sooners, but OU is closing the gap rapidly.

Every time these schools meet, it almost always sets a clear picture for what the rest of the Big 12 football season will look like. The winner of the big game will have the upper hand to win the conference the majority of the time.

Yes, Bedlam is always one of, if not the final regular season game of the year for both OU and OSU, but only in this decade have the two Texas Logoprograms been comparable on the field. The Sooners lead the series 84-17-7. Not much of a “rivalry” if you ask me.

Next, we take a look at the venue of the Red River Showdown. The Cotton Bowl on the fairgrounds of Dallas is an historic football cathedral with a backdrop that will drop your jaw and open your eyes to true college football history.

The stadium holds a capacity of 92,000 people with 20,000 or 30,000 more crazed OU or UT fans outside the stadium watching on the big screen. The game always takes place in the middle of October, which is always in the middle of the Texas State Fair. It’s simple, you take one of the craziest and most fun state fairs across the whole country and put a football game of that magnitude right in the middle of it, you have yourself one heck of an atmosphere.

However, with all that being said, possibly the coolest thing about the venue at OU-Texas is the split right down the middle of the stadium. One side of the stadium is completely doused in crimson and the other side is filled with burnt orange. There is not a better site in all of sports.

Remember what former Ohio State and NFL star running back Eddie George told former OU and NFL star Roy Williams in his first OU-Texas experience. “Yeah, this is a lot bigger than Ohio State-Michigan. I’ve never seen anything like this.”

Those words say it all.

While the on-campus site argument is valid from Osborne, the 60,000-seat stadium in Stillwater just wouldn’t quite compete with the atmosphere in Dallas. Perhaps if OSU could actually fill up the stadium for a Bedlam game he might have an argument. Then again, when it comes to the Red River Showdown, it takes a backseat to no other rivalry. Just ask Eddie George.

When it comes to rivalries, Bedlam tops them all

Which is a better rivalry? Bedlam or the Red River Showdown?

By Patrick Osborne

With the college football season rapidly approaching, it seems like the perfect time to talk about what is the better rivalry, the Red River Showdown or Bedlam?

Bedlam, the annual matchup of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, wins this battle. Although Bedlam does not have the same pageantry or tradition as Oklahoma and Texas, it is the better rivalry all around.

As an Oklahoma fan who attends Oklahoma State, I’ve seen both sides of this great rivalry. I’ve experienced the heartbreak of defeat and the joy of victory in both crimson and cream and orange and black.

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I’ve been to the Red River Showdown and I’ve been to Bedlam, I’ll take Bedlam any day of the week. Unlike the other rivalry, Bedlam leaves all the lasting memories on each respected school’s campus.

The Dallas experience for OU and Texas is one of a kind, but nothing beats making the drive to Stillwater or Norman in hopes of seeing your school get the big win in the other school’s house. Neutral sites will never compare to on-campus matchups.

Location isn’t the only thing that makes a rivalry great, and it isn’t the only factor that defines this one. No matter what sport, Bedlam is always fun.OSU Logo

Who can forget Bedlam football? The Ice Bowl round two was amazing, or heartbreaking, depending on which color you wear.

I was there for Bedlam basketball in Gallahger Iba Arena. After the big win, shouts of Boomer Sooner could be heard during the singing of the alma mater by the OSU students. The response was simple – sing louder. So, of course, naturally the shouts returned louder as well.

My first experience of Bedlam wrestling, the sport that gave the rivalry its name, came this past year during my first year at OSU. GIA was rocking, crimson and cream and orange and black combining to make an unforgettable atmosphere and experience. It was pure Bedlam at its purest state.

I can go on and on about my Bedlam experiences as a Sooner and Cowboy, but that would just lead me to the same point. It’s different than OU and Texas, but there is just as much hatred in this rivalry.

OU is that annoying big brother who always thinks they are always better than you and finds a way to get a win on a lucky break. OSU is that increasingly growing little brother who is tired of being pushed around and wants everyone to know it.

At the end of the day they are still brothers of the state of Oklahoma, but when it’s go time neither wants to lose to their brother. They hate their brother so much during the fight because they know losing means a year of hanging their head when they see the other brother.

That’s what makes this rivalry so special. We know the other guy. We work with that Cowboy. We are married to that Sooner. There’s nowhere to hide after a loss and plenty of places to gloat with a victory.

Bedlam is defined as a place or situation of noisy uproar and confusion, and anytime these two schools meet you can plan on plenty of uproar and confusion. Bedlam is bedlam.

Coalition members make future brighter

Canadian County Coalition of Children and Families recently held its “first annual” awards banquet, acknowledging those among us who have shined in their efforts to help children and their families.

While it was gratifying to see people like Dolores Sanders-Alvarez, Billie Linam and others acknowledged, we need to also stop and thank people who every day put their hearts on the line as they work to make better lives for children and youth who have had to deal with situations far beyond their years.

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The coalition probably isn’t known to many outside their own “community,” but it should be. Many of its members work long hours, and do a lot in their own time, to improve the situation for area children. They don’t have an 8 to 5 job they leave at the door; the situations they see and the children they literally help save are a testament to their dedication and caring.

It is people like Ann Parkhurst, Cedric Mills, Rosemary Klepper, Jenny Kellbach and so many others – their fight to help others is something that not only helps those directly involved. They make our communities a better place to live, they raise our standard of living.

Organizations like Gary E. Miller Canadian County Children’s Justice Center and Youth and Family Services are filled with others – many of them coalition members – who work to make the world a better place for the smallest and youngest of us. Michael Ellison has talked to thousands of students about bullying and how it can be prevented. He has helped countless students who have been a victim of other students’ cruelty – and in the process, has most likely helped our county avoid tragedies we see on the national news.

Special Judge Bob Hughey, like his predecessor and namesake at the children’s justice center, Gary Miller, see horrors they can’t even discuss in cases that involve children’s welfare. He makes decisions, day in and day out, that will impact families. Those decisions can be difficult – who wants to actually take a child from his or her parents? But sometimes that cannot be helped and Hughey takes that responsibility on his shoulders. It’s something I wouldn’t want to have to do.

The justice center sees the best and worst of families. They help children and youth who cannot help themselves, but they also work with youth who have lost their way. They may have trouble in school, an addiction problem, started in on criminal activity – Hughey and his staff work to try to turn those kids around, before their actions permanently scar their lives.

Turning lives around is a big part of Dee Blose’s life. The Youth and Family Services director celebrates every milestone, every positive as if it was her own child’s. And the children she and her staff deal with really are their own, through extension. Whether it’s a new playground, a program to help disabled adults or just helping families get through bureaucratic hurdles, these people display dedication and caring every single day.

As the saying goes, the children are our future. We are lucky – and we should thank – all of these people who work each day to make that future a bit brighter.