The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

February 7, 2014

Slurs put damper on rivalry

Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — A dart to the Northern Oklahoma College Tonkawa fans who displayed some of the worst sportsmanship I’ve seen in my 35-plus years on this newspaper Monday at the Mabee Center.

These fans chose to rudely line up parallel to the scorer’s table, blocking the view of the people working there.

They were asked to move, once by the officials and a  second time by the public address announcer .They moved briefly only to return to their spot. They were right on the inbounds line.

This wasn’t the worst of it. That just created an inconvenience for those on the scorer’s table.

One could hear a few racial slurs toward the Jets players — most of them by name.

There’s good-natured razzing in any rivalry such as NOC Enid vs. NOC Tonkawa or any basketball game.

There’s nothing wrong with being intense in supporting your team and maybe giving a bad time to the opposition and their fans.

“Saying ‘overrated,’ ‘airball’ or ‘go start the bus’ is very acceptable. May even (mention school) sucks as long as it doesn’t go any further than that. OU fans can call their OSU brethen “Aggies’’ and OSU fans can call the Sooners “tea sippers.’’

But there’s no room for the N-word. I don’t know if the Jets players heard it or not, but they should be commended for keeping their head if they did.

A generation ago, there were some racial slurs reportedly thrown at an out-of-town basketball game. It certainly created additional tension to an already stressful game.

It may have contributed to a fight after the game between the two teams, which resulted in two Enid players being dismissed from the team.

Covering the two NOCs against each other is usually fun because there is atmosphere.

Most Mavericks fans concentrated on supporting their own team instead of going to the gutter.

Let’s hope the ones that created the tension stay home next year.

• A laurel to Oklahoma State for renewing its Baseball Hall of Fame. Capron native Danny Thompson, a former Enid American Legion star, was one of the three inductees.

It was shocking to learn no one had been inducted since 2004.

Former OSU coach Frank Anderson had been criticized for going away from some of the traditions established by  precedsors Gary Ward and Tom Holliday.

Former OU coach Howard Schnellenberger learned the hard way when he tried to go away from the traditions set by Barry Switzer and Bud Wilkinson.

He was crowing how there would be books written and movies made about his teams and how he wasn’t hired to run the wishbone.

Bob Stoops was wise enough to have Switzer by his side when he was hired and said he had always been an Oklahoma fan.

Respecting the tradition before him is one reason  Stoops now is OU’s all-time winningest coach and Schnellenberger lasted only one season.

Second-year OSU coach Josh Holliday, the son of Tom, is well aware of honoring tradition, especially in Thompson’s case.

“We’re excited to honor him and his family and make sure his place in Oklahoma State history is properly secured,’’ he said.

Thompson, who died of leukemia at age 29 while still a member of the Texas Rangers, deserves such a place.

Let’s hope there will be an Enid Majors Hall of Fame someday. Thompson should be one of the first inductees for that — a class act all the way.

Campbell is a News & Eagle sports writer.