Every recruit, every family member, and every visitor who we speak with that has visited Norman, generally starts the review of their visit with one topic in mind…family.
It’s not an exaggeration and I can only speak for myself, but when I’m writing a piece which covers a visit to Norman, I set up my notes knowing that the first topic that will be covered is the “family feel” which will inevitably be the first thing the recruit or family member speak about.
These quotes from our “TFB Quotables” piece following the ChampU BBQ come from the two family members we spoke with…
“I was just talking to Coach Simmon this morning. Definitely one of our best visits to Norman this past weekend for the Champ U BBQ. Nothing but a ‘Family Feel’ from us. All the love is shown to everyone, not just our Bridges family but lots of love shown for all the recruits and their families. All the OU coaches and their families, their wives, their kids, they all played a part and made it a great Champ U BBQ weekend. This past weekend just confirms even more that Oklahoma was the right move for my son Trejan…” – Jack Bridges
“FAMILY AFFAIR!! I couldn’t believe how ALL the coaches participated in everything! Even the president! Pie and water balloon fights! – Ruth Cooper
With that in mind, it sometimes gets lost on me as a writer, just how much impact that “family feel” can have on a recruit and their families. I almost take it for granted and become numb to it because it is such a common theme in every interview I do.
So it makes me extremely grateful when something I see makes me sit up in my chair and take notice of just how special the university, and the people at the university, truly are. Last night, Twitter served up one of those moments to me.
As I was scrolling through my Twitter feed, I saw a picture of sophomore running back, Trey Sermon, holding a baby in front of the stadium after practice. Cute right?
Continued scrolling…there’s Ronnie Perkins holding a baby after practice. Ok, very cool, two players took a minute to take a picture.
Continued scrolling…Lincoln Riley – holding a baby, next picture was Marquise Overton – holding a baby, next picture was Dennis Simmons, Tre Norwood, Levi Draper, Tre Brown, and Robert Barnes…gathered around…holding a baby.
That made me sit up and smile. I immediately reached out to the person posting the pictures and was pleasantly surprised to find out that it was one of our Donors. I asked him if I could use his pictures in a tweet collage and thankfully he gave me permission to proceed.
You may have seen the tweet the other night…
Every recruit, every family, every fan that visits Norman always has one thing to say…
“It just feels like you’re family when you’re there”
…looking for proof? ⬇️
— TFB Sooners (@TFB_Sooners) August 8, 2018
When I asked the individual who tweeted out the pictures if I could use them in a tweet, he responded by saying “Yes you can. Please make sure to mention that every single player was as respectful as can be towards my family and how much that meant to us. Hell, do an article on the tfb about it. Lol I’m a donor. I’m MIKEYOUDNA”
Mikey continued by saying “They were all very respectful young men. Coach Riley came out of his way to take the picture when he was busy. Same goes for Coach Simmons. Tre Brown said let me hold the princess and played with her. Ronnie and the OL made her smile. Justin Broiles was absolutely a respectful young man. Que Overton stopped mid traffic and parked his car in a non-parking zone just to grant us a pic with him. Every single one of these guys was worn out from practice and they all took the time out to take pictures with us. Alvarez, Ford, Dalton, Evans, Samia, Coach Riley, Coach Simmons, Broiles, AD Miller, Overton, Tre Brown, Barnes, Norwood, Draper, Perkins, Kenneth Murray, Trey Sermon and etc. So cool”
He then added “Lincoln looked tired as hell. Was heading straight towards his vehicle and saw my family and he saw that we didn’t wanna bother him, but still managed to come over and greet us. He shook my hand and said what a beautiful baby girl and asked can I hold her? I said yes sir.”
“I asked do you mind taking a quick picture with her and he said ‘not at all, do you mind if I hold her for the pic?’ I replied go ahead, coach. He then took a picture with my wife and me also. When he was done I said I’m sorry for bothering you and your team his response is what blew me away.”
“He said. Don’t apologize. We do it for you guys, the fans. It’s an honor. He then said bye and right as he was about to walk away he shook my hand and thanked me for the pic.”
“We proceeded to take pictures with the rest of the team and when I got to my vehicle I told my wife did you notice Coach Riley and how nice and respectful he was about this all. He could have easily said ‘no thanks’ or ‘not today’ or ‘unfortunately we are worn out’ but instead he was as nice and respectful as can be.”
“Que Overton said we are worn out we’ve been at it since 5 am. Keep in mind this all happened tonight at 8:30-9 ish. You can word it how you’d like because you are a way better writer than me but I just feel I need to state all of this”.
One last thing that Mikey added…
“PS my birthday is Sunday lol this is an awesome gift haha Boomer Sooner can’t wait to read your article”
Happy Birthday Mikey, and thank you for writing the article, and reminding us all of what it means to be part of the Sooner Family.
Laila made some memories.