The Senate voted 54-44 in favor of a stop gap budget resolution today which will allow the government to continue to function until the middle of November. Before the vote democrats deleted the provision which required the defunding of the Affordable Care Act from the measure. Ted Cruz got mad and now the whole thing goes back to the house where John Boehner has about as much control over the radical right wing yahoos in his party as he does the weather in Sri Lanka.
But, if you're a fan of the University of Oklahoma football team you don't give a rat's ass about that. You know what is important.
Here is how it is. This is a dusty place subject to searing heat and bouts of brutal cold. There are only a little over three and a half million people in Oklahoma. Nearly half us live in two metropolitan areas, which leaves an awful lot of empty space when you consider the state has 69, 989 square miles. The great depression traumatized us so much that a hefty chunk of the population moved west to California. As John Steinbeck chronicled, those Oklahomans who went, the Okies, weren't exactly welcomed. For decades there was very little to do here. Hell, you couldn't even buy a bottle of whiskey legally until around 1960. The only real release was athletics. We dove into sports both as participants and fans. We became addicted to games. We have never shook it.
It is a little different now, thanks to Clay Bennett bringing the NBA and the Thunder to Oklahoma City, but traditionally the big sport has been college football. And since those rubes up at Oklahoma State just recently figured out how to play the game, college football pretty much meant, OU football.
When you grow up as an Oklahoma Sooner fan you are inundated with glorious stats that are usually dated from 1946, because before then the University of Oklahaom was the portrait of mediocrity in the sport.
Stats like, since 1946 the team has won more games than any other major college program, has a higher winning percentage and has had more consensus all american players. There have been seven national championships. Then we come to the winning streaks. Since 1946 (what did I tell you about that year) Oklahoma won 31 games in a row, then a few years later won a breathtaking 47 games in a row and finally, twenty or so years after that won 28 straight.
The fly in the ointment has always been Texas. They are such an arrogant and obnoxious outfit that most people, even in their home state, don't like them, so you can just imagine what we think of them.
However, the greatest bugaboo of them all, the one team that will drive an old time Oklahoma fan into a rage quicker than anything else on the planet is Notre Dame.
Notre Dame is the kryptonite. It is the ebola virus and the swine flu all wrapped up into one. It is Attila, the fucking, Hun.
As I type, Oklahoma has played Notre Dame in football 10 times. I was six years old the one and only time we beat them. That was so long ago neither team had a black player starting on their squad. It was so long ago, Christopher was still a saint and milk was hand delivered to your door three days a week. One year after that win, Notre Dame was the 48th game in the 47 game winning streak.
My father is 88 years old and is the person who taught me I should never judge a person by the color of his or her skin, that segregation was inherently wrong, and republicans are generally cruel and unusual people. This same man, whose father was a devout Roman Catholic, to this day, refers to Notre Dame players as, "those God damned fish eaters." His grandmother was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland and he will invariably look at a Notre Dame Fighting Irish line up and in disgust tell you, "There isn't an Irishman anywhere on that God damned team." Yeah, he uses those two words a lot when it comes to Notre Dame.
So what is important right now for many in the Sooner state is that in a scant few hours Oklahoma will play Notre Dame for the 11th time. Ted Cruz can caterwaul all he wants, the government can grind to a halt, and the great apocalyptic asteroid can be only four days out from slamming right into this blue ball, but all that matters is that our guys take the field in South Bend tomorrow.
The beer has been bought, as have the chips and dip. Kickoff is set for 2:30 pm Oklahoma time. The memory of last year and all those previous nightmares sit with OU fans like some collective malignant tumor poisoning our guts. There is only way to exorcise this particular demon. There is only one cure for the itch we haven't been able to scratch.
It is, quite simply, beat God damned Notre Dame!
And while we're at it, Boomer Sooner!