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First sign of trouble and fair-weather fans show true colors



Losing sure brings out the ugly in people.

The Oklahoma-Texas game from Oct. 11 produced the ideal example of unsightliness. The Longhorns scored to take a 45-35 lead with 4:02 left in the game, and before the two teams' respective kick units could get lined up, thousands of Sooner fans started lining the aisles to depart the Cotton Bowl.


We're not talking about 1,000 or 2,000 ladies and gents who simultaneously decided to take a bathroom or concession stand break. No, we're talking about 20,000 or more folks who fought the traffic and braved the early 11 a.m. kickoff just so they could simultaneously determine the game was over early and that walking out on the No. 1 team in the country was their best option.

Sure, leave early. Go enjoy some rides at the State Fair of Texas. Beat the traffic.

Forget about the fact the Sooners are only down 10 points with more than four minutes to play. Forget about the fact their five previous scoring drives against Texas that day had taken 2:48, 1:48, 2:29, 1:30 and 4:15, respectively.

More importantly, forget about loyalty. Hey, when the going gets tough, the fair-weather fans get going, as in headed for the exits.

It was shameful to see so many people dressed in crimson and cream flooding to the parking lots, especially with so much time remaining and especially with the final outcome far from decided. Oh, and the message board posters on all of the OU-related sites " well, let's just say the carnage was even more deplorable than normal.

For all of the folks " the 30,000 or so OU fans at the Cotton Bowl " who stayed and held out hope to the bitter end, or watched or listened until the final seconds ticked away, you can stop reading at this point.

Some fans actually get it.

Get what, you ask?

The fact that college kids, no matter how talented, are not always going to be perfect. And college coaches, no matter how sharp, are not infallible. Good teams sometimes lose, and great teams are few and far between.

It's the nature of college football.For those pretenders who gave up and abandoned ship Saturday, feel free to read on.

You are so predictable. It's kind of sad, really. Some are bandwagoners and some are simply spoiled brats. When "your" team is undefeated and ranked No. 1, all is right in the universe. You're hopping aboard like the driver is handing out hundred-dollar bills, and singing the praises of everyone right down to the fourth-string quarterback.

That is, until the first sign of trouble shows up on the radar. Then watch out. Like they say, "hell hath no furry like a bandwagon fan scorned."

You paid for your tickets. That gives you the right to cheer like a champion or bitch about the play-calling until you're blue in the face.

But if you are going to wear the gear, paint your face and decorate your car, then learn how to act like a real fan. Embrace the team " warts and all " through good times and the not-so-good times.

For Sooner followers, one of those rare not-so-good times unfolded in the fourth quarter against Texas last weekend. Down 10 points in the waning moments, OU needed that boost from the 12th man to potentially help them find a way to rally.

Unfortunately, a bunch of quitters disguised themselves as empty seats for the last four minutes of the game.

For all of the folks who stayed and never gave up, hats off to you.

For all of the impostors who left early, maybe try watching on TV next season. It may just be you don't have the heart for it. "Jay C. Upchurch


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