Want to feel good about the world again? Park your car at an airport and spend an hour watching travelers reunite with their families.
A mother and father stood at the Tulsa International baggage carousel Saturday night, back from a trip, when the mom spotted their two little boys coming through the revolving door. She ran over to the door, dropped to her knees and wrapped the littler tyke in her arms.
She would have caught the older boy as well, the one in the blue Kris Bryant Cubs T-shirt, except he had flown past her and everybody else in the waiting area. Little man sprinted toward his dad, took a flying leap and landed in his dad’s bear hug.
Now you know what made me, along with everyone else in baggage claim, cry last week.
This made me think
ESPN’s announcement last Thursday of the top five TV markets for the Women’s College World Series championship series. They were:
1 – Oklahoma City, 8.3
2 – Tulsa, 7.1
3 – Birmingham, 3.0
4 – Austin, 2.2
5 – Los Angeles, 2.1
This isn’t just a product of Oklahoma’s sustained excellence or Oklahoma State’s emerging power. We have figured out what the rest of the nation is learning — the WCWS should be appointment viewing.
It was a novelty when OU won its first national championship in 2000. We watched to see if a pitcher’s arm might fall off after back-to-back-to-back-to-back 1-0 wins. Or to try to learn one of the dugout chants during an at-bat. Or to see what football coaches might show up in the cheering section.
Now everyone flips on ESPN and watches Jocelyn Alo crush a softball as far as Joey Gallo hits a baseball. They see Samantha Show spike her bat like she’s dunking on someone. They discover diving catches in the infield and lunging catches in the outfield.
Pitchers can still take over a game, but the power and athleticism surrounding them are even more impressive.
The dugouts still chirp away, but it’s practically background noise amid some of the best drama and tension in college sports.
The country is catching on. ESPN reported a 45-percent increase in WCWS viewership among the 18-to-34-year-old male demographic, and a 41-percent increase among the 18-to-34 female one.
But just look at those numbers in Tulsa and OKC again. The country is catching on, but we have grabbed ahold.
This made me laugh
I loved last Monday’s bulletin that Bob Stoops had hired Jarrail Jackson, one of the most valuable players on Stoops’ first Oklahoma team, to coach receivers for Stoops’ Dallas XFL squad.
Jackson reveres so many coaches from that ’99 Sooners staff.
“Coach Stoops has always been my guy,” Jackson told me once. “We connected when he first got to OU. I was one of the older guys in that class (of ’99 seniors) and I bought in for him. I will say if I got in trouble with Coach Stoops, I’d go to Coach Spurrier (Steve Spurrier Jr., OU’s receivers coach on that ’99 staff). If I got in trouble with Coach Spurrier, it would be Coach (Mike) Leach. Those four guys, along with Jonathan Hayes (OU’s tight ends/special teams coach then) always gave me courage. I leaned on all those guys.”
He still does.
Stoops helped Jackson get his first college job at Dartmouth 13 years ago by calling Dartmouth coach Buddy Teevens, a colleague from the 1998 Florida staff, on Jackson’s behalf. Leach hired Jackson off the Dartmouth staff to join his front office at Washington State in 2012.
Now Stoops has hired Jackson himself. Pretty cool.
Get your All-World Awards tickets for the June 22 event celebrating high school athletics at allworldawards.com.