OKLAHOMA CITY — When Tim Walton was talking on Wednesday about how he came from Southern California to go to school at Oklahoma because of how great the people are here, I got it.
But only because this is my fifth trip to the Sooner State.
Four Women’s College World Series and an NCAA Tournament. It’s one of the real perks of being a sportswriter, getting to visit so many different places.
And since I’ve been here five times, I can tell you that Oklahoma is unique. The people are genuinely friendly and great to spend time with. My experience here this time started with a lovely young lady named Callie at the Renaissance. As usual, the NCAA botched my hotel request and she slid me in.
Every restaurant, every bar, every store, every convenience store. Just really good people.
I’m not saying I’d want to live here. I still prefer Gainesville. But it’s a great place to visit.
On Thursday night, I went to my favorite place, a blues bar that used to be called “The Biting Sow” but has changed its name to “Mojo’s.” All of the same people work there. Gloria gave me a hug when I walked in and Lanny, her husband and the drummer for the band that played the night away, chatted me up.
Jake behind the bar looks a little like a skinny Kevin Smith and can wax all night about movies. Jessica, who used to work the bar, was there having a couple and we recalled the night five years ago almost to the day that I first went in there.
These people have seen a lot of tragedy. The bombing in 1995, the tornado in ‘99 and the tornado less than two weeks ago have taken their tolls but the people respond. Going to Moore, Okla., was a life-changing experience. I tried to put it into words in my piece for The Sun in Friday’s paper, but words can’t describe how terrible it is.
No matter how much you see on TV or see pictures in our paper, you really have to see it in person to understand how terrible it is.
I don’t know how long I will be here because my stay depends on the Florida softball team. But I’m already looking forward to the next time I come back to Bricktown.