Saturday April 22, 2023. Team 129’s first chance to take the field at Owen Field at Gaylord Family Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma. My dad, oldest son Bodhi and I loaded up and made the hour trip northeast to Norman. First we stopped at Rudy’s BBQ to eat a little lunch before heading to the Lloyd Noble Center parking lot to board the tram that would end up dropping us off just on the west side of the stadium. At Rudy’s, we ran into our friends Caleb and Cruz. Bodhi and Cruz gave each other high fives, then, of course, followed up with knucks. I enjoyed talking to Caleb for a while, then, as I just said, we hopped on the tram and headed north bound to the POTP.
Bodhi enjoyed the 5 minute commute to the stadium in the tram. He’s rode in a bus before but never quite that type of transportation. He enjoyed being able to look out the windows and made sure that I saw all the OU flags, people wearing OU and all the crimson and cream the campus had to offer. “Look dada! That guy has on an OU hat like me!” he said with excitement once. I explained to him there would be a few people with OU hats on like him today where we were going.
There’s something magical about watching your kids experience new things while they are taking it all in. It’s almost as if I am somehow re-living things for the first time through him, and I love it. I’ve been an OU fan my entire life. I went to school there and have spent so much time in Norman and to be honest, I’ve been waiting for this day for a long time, and that is, the day I would get to take my own kid to an OU football game (well… sort of… it is just an inter-squad scrimmage, after all). Dad and mom have 2 season tickets and 99% of the time, it’s dad and I that go. I was thinking this may be the season I take Bodhi to an actual game, not just a scrimmage… but maybe not. I’m getting to that, haha.
Once we got off the tram on the west side of the stadium, Bodhi was in full explore mode. His little legs couldn’t move any faster and he might as well of been a little owl, the way his head was on a swivel. He was taking in all the sights and asking ALL the questions. “Why is there food under here? Why does everyone have on OU stuff at this place? Why can’t I see the sky, dada?” I hate using the word I’m about to use, as a man… but it truly was…. cute. We forget how innocent young children are. Anyways, after a couple of minutes of making our way up to the northwest corner where the section 13 tunnel would lead us up and out into the opening, where we could finally “see the sky”, I had to make sure I pulled my GoPro out and get footage of Bodhi’s first ever experience laying his eyes on Owen Field.
I could tell he was really enjoying taking in all the sights. He saw the Sooner Schooner pulled by the shetland ponies, the Ruff Neks, the cheerleaders, and to my satisfaction more than anything for him… the band. I’m telling you, Bodhi and his 2 year old little brother BOTH can hum and chant every single number the Pride of Oklahoma performs. I have a playlist on Spotify that has all the band’s songs and they both want to listen and sing/hum/chant them all the time. It was like some amazing coincidence to Bodhi that the band in the stadium started playing all these “OU songs” that he had heard before and I think that was his favorite part of the trip (at least as a 3, soon-to-be-4-year old).
We arrived probably about 30 minutes before kickoff and by the time pigskin finally did take flight off the tee, Bodhi had pretty much seen and heard everything he needed to. As Jackson Arnold was trotting out onto the field to take his first snap as a Sooner in a spring game, Bodhi tugged on my sleeve and asked “Dada, are we about to go home?”. I really wanted to make it until at least halftime to take in the ceremony/tribute for 2018 Heisman winning quarterback Kyler Murray, but that would have been a big ask for Mr. 3-Year-Old himself. So we left, knowing I could que up ESPN+ some other time and watch the scrimmage and Kyler’s tribute.
I took the cameras along and filmed and edited my 347th vlog to document the day so Bodhi can someday see how his first ever trip to GFMS went. Below you will find said vlog.
Bodhi and dad, I had a great time with both of you. I treasure these moments so much, even if we don’t even make it to half time. 🙂