I want to take a moment and remember those who lost their lives or were injured at the Oklahoma State University Homecoming parade on Saturday. It was truly a tragic event, and my prayer is that all those affected, along with their families, are brought healing and peace.
Let’s switch gears…
This weekend my husband and I got to celebrate our anniversary by attending Homecoming, at the one and only Oklahoma State University. It is our anniversary tradition to go down and reunite with many college friends. I may be bias, but OSU isn’t known as “America’s Greatest Homecoming” for no reason. It truly is spectacular!
This year was so much fun, as is every year. But this year I learned something new; not just about me, but about many other fellow alumni as well. This year a friend of ours, who happens to be a fan of the enemy (OU), joined in on the homecoming festivities and he proposed a bet with me. The bet was on Bedlam (the OSU vs. OU football game). The terms of the wager were whoever’s team won, the loser would have to put a plate on their vehicle of the winning team. So, if OSU lost I would have to put an OU plate on my vehicle. ABSOLUTELY NOT! I had to decline the bet. He was surprised I declined. He began to poke fun and say things like, “If you’re such a good fan make the bet.” And that’s when it hit me. I didn’t decline because I’m afraid my team will lose. What he doesn’t realize is, I’m more than a fan. I’M AN ALUM!
OSU means so, so, so much more to me than a football team (or any sports team). OSU is a part of me. I grew into the person I am now in part by OSU. I spent four years of my life at this place. I found love at OSU. I found my calling in life. I achieved many goals during my time at OSU. I laughed here, cried here, got extremely angry here. I have some new best friends because of OSU. I would love OSU even if they didn’t have a football team. You could take the whole university away and it would still be a part of me. I’m more than a fan. I am an alum.
Now, I don’t want to discount OSU’s fans. We have a great fan base, and they love OSU. But their love only goes as deep as whatever they’re rooting for. Their love ends with the season. If OSU were to be no more they may miss it, but they would find a new team to root for. They don’t have the experiences, the growth, or devotion to OSU that an alum has. The love from an alum is one that is unconditional, but that of a fan is fleeting (that sounds extremely dramatic and nearly proverbial I almost feel weird saying it, but I’m leaving it like it or not).
I know there are many alum who are unappreciative of their time at OSU, but the reason for that is because they did not immerse themselves in the experience that OSU has to offer. They put in their time, but never made an effort to grow a bond. They missed out on the pride of becoming an alum and earning a degree that grows in you during your time on campus. They are merely fans (and some are hardly that).
My friend who suggested the bet couldn’t understand where I was coming from. He explained that his feelings towards where he went to college were no where near my feelings towards my alma mater. To put it to him quite bluntly: you missed out on a true college experience. He opted for a glorified high school, rather than a big university. Argue all you want, small colleges do not offer the experiences a larger college does. You may love your small college, and that is great, but many small college grads I know do not appreciate their time in college compared to those I know who went to a larger university. This is merely opinion. Forgive me if I am wrong when it comes to you. He didn’t get to experience the exciting, frustrating, exhausting atmosphere created by a large college. He took an easier street and therefore missed out on a bond that builds part of who you are. Again, not saying what he did was wrong. Just that had he gone to a larger school he would understand where I’m coming from. And I know he would because he’s just like my husband and even he gets where I’m coming from. Betraying his alma mater means nothing to him, but to me it means so much more than a lost bet. That is why I had to turn him down.
To a fan OSU is a football team, a license plate on their car, or a place to go to college. To an alum OSU is a part of who they are. “Ever you’ll find us, loyal and true. To our alma mater. O-S-U.” ❤