Oklahoma brings a lot of baggage to Seattle
Brian Bosworth and Clay Bennett. Oklahoma City and the, um, Thunder. The state of Washington and the state of Oklahoma. You can almost cut the animosity with a chain saw.
Seattle Times staff columnist
Brian Bosworth and Clay Bennett.
Oklahoma City and the, um, Thunder.
The state of Washington and the state of Oklahoma.
You can almost cut the animosity with a chain saw.
Oklahoma vs. Washington has become Erik Bedard vs. Seattle baseball fans, Olbermann vs. Matthews, the Capulets vs. the Montagues.
As Keith Jackson might say, "These two states don't like each other very much."
You would think they would have almost nothing in common. Oklahoma and Washington are as dissimilar as a roughneck and a computer programmer.
But sports have forged a rivalry as hot as the Yankees and the Red Sox, Army and Navy, the Raiders and reality.
It's gotten to the point where wearing a Seattle T-shirt in Oklahoma City could be dangerous to your health. Squatch probably would be detained at the Oklahoma City airport.
And let's be frank, the roughnecks have been rough on Washington recently.
Sure, back in the day, Oklahoma gave this city a Rose Bowl-winning football coach in Jim Owens and, on top of that, a Hall of Famer and maybe the best football player in Seahawks history, Steve Largent from Tulsa.
But that was a generation or three ago. And soon after, the Sooners balanced that bit of Largent largesse by giving Seattle the unproductive headache that was linebacker Bosworth.
When it comes to Washington sports, Oklahoma has been more about larceny than Largent.
It took Washington State basketball more than a decade to recover from losing coach Kelvin Sampson to Oklahoma. And this city is, and will be, smarting from the loss of the Sonics to Bennett and his billionaire boys for a long time to come.
Oklahoma City is as giddy over the NBA as a kid with his first crush. Meanwhile, Seattle's just been crushed.
It's all part of the rivalry.
Aubrey McClendon and Mike Moore.
Both couldn't wait to get out of Seattle. McClendon took his money and his team and went home with Bennett to the Ford Center.
And right-handed Oklahoman Moore took his nasty stuff from the Kingdome mound to two World Series with the Oakland A's.
Just like the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, "Oklahoma," the rivalry between that state and this state has been all about fights and feuds and the theft of affections.
It's been as ugly as Bosworth's Mohawk.
Now, to rub salt into Seattle's slow-healing wounds, Bennett's favorite football team, the third-ranked Oklahoma Sooners, are coming to Husky Stadium this weekend to play the 0-2 Huskies.
And while the Huskies won't quit the way mayor Greg Nickels and the city council quit its lawsuit against the Sonics, the odds are steeply stacked against Washington.
It seems an entire sports lifetime has passed since the 1984 Huskies beat Oklahoma and won the 1985 Orange Bowl.
That was the soggy New Year's night the Sooner Schooner, the covered wagon that rides onto the field after Oklahoma scores, stalled in front of the Washington players.
Oklahoma seemingly had kicked a go-ahead 22-yard field goal that night in the Orange Bowl. The wagon raced onto the field, but its driver was unaware that an illegal-procedure penalty had nullified the kick.
The wagon got stuck in the Miami mud and an unsportsmanlike penalty was added to the Sooners' woes. The next field-goal attempt, a 42-yarder, was blocked. Oklahoma never recovered, and Washington won 28-17.
But that was yesteryear. Time passes quickly in sports.
It was only yesterday in sports time that Howard Schultz tried to turn the sale of the Sonics into a citywide celebration, tying balloons to sneakers and hailing that summer day in 2006 as a great day for Seattle basketball.
Since then the sports landscape has changed dramatically in both Washington and Oklahoma
Now, it's advantage Oklahoma.
Still, Saturday is a rivalry game, just like the Apple Cup or Oregon. It's a chance to take a few shots at Oklahoma, whether you're Washington linebacker Trenton Tuiasosopo or a tuba player in the Huskies' band.
In fact, the band's entire halftime show should be dedicated to the unholy alliance between Bennett and Schultz and the avarice of the NBA. The band could form a dollar sign and the league logo and play songs like "Sell Out" by Reel Big Fish, "Material Girl (Boy)" by Madonna, AC/DC's "Money Talks" and Dire Straits' "Money for Nothing."
The band could morph from spelling Sonics to Thunder and play Steve Miller's "Take the Money and Run." And P Diddy's "All About the Benjamins," "For the Love of Money" by the O'Jays and, of course, Pink Floyd's "Money."
Even in these dire times in sports in Seattle, we should have some fun with this rivalry. We should let Boz and Aubrey, Clay and the Thunder know they remain in our thoughts, even when it's advantage Oklahoma.
Steve Kelley: 206-464-2176 or email@example.com
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
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UPDATE - 9:02 PM
Steve Kelley: What happened to the once-scary Huskies?
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