That’s the “battle cry” for the University of Oklahoma Sooners, the football team. Based on what I remember, I believe that they typically have what is called a good team, often great. Isn’t that right cousin H? Apparently, these Sooners have won a lot and they attract good players from high schools, and there is something called professional football too, and many Sooners end up participating in that.
I have no idea about it all, really, as you may remember from “Play by Play”, but I do know that the OU Sooners have a good band as well. Maybe we could talk about high school and college band sometime; I’d like that . . .
The university adopted the name Sooners from the same sort of cry that was proclaimed back when my native forefathers lost their lands, yet again. My people lost their lands to cheaters of an already-corrupt system, and here is a history lesson about that.
There are many native-sounding place names in Oklahoma, but there is one that is special to me: Bluejacket, Oklahoma (named after my six-greats grandfather who was a chief). That is where my dad grew up, and he was called racist names (to be clear: he was called a “red nigger”) for his dark skin. Standing there on his home turf surrounded by the descendants of cheaters, he was the one being called names . . .
After the Sooners arrived in Oklahoma, followed by the droves, the land was no longer what it had been; it had been taken without reservation, albeit with hard work, perseverance, wagon ruts, and history-book kinds of adventure. After having already been dislocated (an overly-kind word for a horrible series of multiple acts), now the natives were exiled from their hunting grounds, places of temporary residence, refuge, and worship that they’d treated with reverence and honor. And they were made to leave it behind.
And they have made the best of it, all without cheating. And they have much better places to be anyway.
Have you ever had a “place” you wanted to be and you did not know how to get there without cheating (like those bad Sooners did, making history in the process)?
What do you do in that case? Well, maybe you just go with the flow for awhile. And you pray a heck of a lot! I’d say “hell of a lot”, but that doesn’t seem right connected with prayer. And you may question this metaphorical place you want to be, sure you do, but still, you like it very much, and you want to be there. And so you pray and you wait and you look for signs and you listen and learn and you love, all the while you love with the love from the Great Spirit, and it grows deeper, all of it. But, there is no movement. You and that place (remember, it’s not a place; it’s a metaphor for whatever you are thinking when you are reading this), grow deep so deep and close so close, but there is no movement. Still . . . you pray. And you believe it, that we are told to pray and never to give up and you simply accept it and do it.
And then, maybe even in a single day, it showers down upon you, all of the goodness from the “Great Spirit”, and all of your waiting and praying and refusing to cheat and all of the steps and the non-steps, begin to fall into place—into that place—and there is some movement. And with joy, none of it easy of course, but with joy, the pace quickens even as your heart does. And the movement joins that flow and it all becomes a river, and everything does begin to fall into that one place. And it is a place where Beauty resides.
That was all a sort of question actually, to which I can say, “Me too.” I had some things to do today, and they are done; easily, with joy and a quickened pace.
And this whole post was a discourse intended to do a few things:
- I wanted to rant about injustice.
- I wanted to honor my ancestors.
- I wanted to frame this entire post in a way that you can relate to, with your own set of injustices and your own “place” and your own wants.
- I wanted you to know that I am from Oklahoma and that I want to visit Bluejacket again someday and to think about it all there.
- I wanted to write “Boomer Sooners” for my cousin Holly:)
- I wanted to thank God (a.k.a. Great Spirit) for his Flow and to recognize the validity of prayer, and to express gratitude to those who truly pray—sometimes sacrificially, I know.
- I want you to know what kind of day I have had. The Bible calls it making your paths straight (Proverbs 3:6). I call it “Sooner, rather than later” . . .
Photograph “On the Move” © 2018 Timothy Waugh