2020-06-15 sp-emigcolumn crybabyhill

Spectators cheer for riders as they make their way up Cry Baby Hill during Tulsa Tough in 2019. MEGAN ROSS/Tulsa World file

I’m about to disappear for a week, so this must do for a reminder:

Take deeper breaths between now and next Sunday morning. Figure out a way to sprout thicker skin. Be as patient and kind as you have it in you to be, but also be resolute.

We’re up against it this week. I hope everything goes off without too many hurt feelings or worse. I worry, though.

It’s crazy how much our city has going for it. All it takes is a mile on my bike down Riverside to know that. My arms tingle. It isn’t fatigue.

Please do what you can to keep that vibe intact and to keep us together. You might consider this impossible, given what has happened here, who is coming here and the wedge being driven down the middle of this country, let alone Tulsa.

But I wouldn’t be asking if I thought we didn’t have it in us. I have seen too much since I moved back here three years ago to believe otherwise. I see too much every time I take my bike for a spin.

A close friend found work here a few years ago. Then he discovered the city.

“I had no idea,” he says today. “Tulsa is such a gem.”

Yeah. She is.

Let’s take extra care to keep her sparkle through this week. Please.

As for last week...

This made me laugh

I enjoyed George Stoia’s Sunday piece on Cry Baby Hill, and how much we miss that party this year. I wonder... If the Hill is the living, taunting, belching organism we know it to be, shouldn’t it be able to reproduce?

Shouldn’t we use the time until we welcome back Tulsa Tough to christen a “Baby Cry Baby Hill?”

My two suggestions:

1 – The climb that tells you the River Parks Trail is about to give way to the Creek Turnpike. Riders call it “Harvard Hill” because it spits you out along South Harvard. “Hades Hill” is more like it, given what it puts you through in the dead of a summer’s day.

Or 2 – The climb that takes you from the trail along the Arkansas River’s west bank up to the Turkey Mountain trailhead. It starts slightly uphill for 100 feet that feels like 500, levels off for a left turn and then... Bam! Just when you’re breathing again, you’re grinding your way up a 45-degree incline that feels like 90.

I know there’s only one Cry Baby Hill. Maybe, though, she can have a couple Babies by next June?

This made me think

Friday’s bulletin that the University of Houston was suspending all workouts for athletes on campus after six symptomatic athletes tested positive for COVID-19.

That was startling enough, but how about this nugget from Joe Duarte of the Houston Chronicle:

As Cougar athletes returned to campus, the university “only tested student-athletes that showed symptoms (of COVID-19) or came from areas that had a high number of positive cases.”

Wow. I’ve been concerned about the frequency of testing as athletes move through their workouts. I never thought a university would foul this up right out of the chute.

From the UH statement Friday: “As was contemplated prior to the return of student-athletes on June 1, UH Athletics is adapting its protocols to include repetitive COVID-19 testing as a component of any resumption of workouts on campus.”

There can be no “contemplating” of testing and health and safety procedures when schools bring back their athletes. There can be no such “contemplating” as athletes proceed through workouts.

No “contemplating.” Just “assuring.”

Otherwise, Houston’s is going to the first of many setbacks.

This made me cry

An actual email from an actual reader named Gene in the aftermath of my Sunday column on Tyler Lockett:

“An objective reporter would have asked Lockett if he has any empathy for the hundreds of businesses and buildings destroyed and lives lost as a result of the planned anarchy we have witnessed the last few weeks. Freedom without responsibility is anarchy. Anarchy seems to be what we are seeing today. When you reject authority you always end up destroying yourself.”

I see that and I think back to my conversation with Lockett last Friday, how careful he was to articulate his thoughts over our hour together on Zoom.

“I don’t know, for me I have hope,” he said at one point. “That’s the thing that I lean on.”

I have hope, too, as I tried to point out at the top of this column.

But gracious it can be so damn hard right now.

Please hold it together this week. OK?

Guerin Emig




Twitter: @GuerinEmig

Sports Columnist

Proud father of Gretchen and Holden. Devoted husband to Christy, who has been my best friend since biology class at Booker T. Washington. I covered the Oklahoma Sooners for 15 years. That was both challenging and rewarding. Now I get to write columns.