Tag Archives: basketball

How Do You Say That?

In honor of tonight’s NCAA Men’s basketball final between Louisville and Michigan, don’t you think it’s about time to revisit Southwestern Oklahoma – home to some of the best small school basketball teams – and make sure we know how to pronounce those town names?  Just in case you’re wondering how to pronounce the capital of Kentucky, it is pronounced, “FRANK-fort”.

Red Dirt Kelly gave birth to the Red Dirt Chronicles just a few short years ago. Since that time she has posted Red Dirt trivia questions on Facebook about all things related to Oklahoma. My favorite trivia questions are the ones that focus on Oklahoma places. When it comes to Oklahoma place names, the trivia can include more than just location, it might even pull out the old “how do you pronounce . . .” routine. As Jeff Foxworthy might say: “You might be from Oklahoma if you know how to say ‘Gotebo’, ‘Hobart’, ‘Eufaula’, Oologah, or Skiatook.”

Southwestern Oklahoma has its fair share of names that make you either grin or raise an eyebrow before attempting to say them. Go pack a snack now, and a tall glass of sweet iced tea, and we’ll take us a little road trip around Southwestern Oklahoma and discover some of these places. Leave your GPS devices at home for this trip – just pick up a copy of the free map of Oklahoma that the tourism department provides. It’ll save you a hundred bucks or so, and give you a better idea of where you are going.

Driving along US 62, halfway between Altus and Lawton, there is that sign that says “Gotebo –>”. Gotebo is one of those place names that exposes the non-Oklahoma roots of weather reporters. Very few know that it sounds just the way it is spelled, “go-tee-bo” with all long vowels. Gotebo is located in Kiowa County, at the junction of State Highways 9 and 54. It was founded around 1901 and has a current population of 226.

Northwest of Gotebo is Retrop. Some may wonder where this strange name came from, but it is quite simple, really. Spell it backwards and you have the surname of the first family to settle in Retrop. When the town applied for a post office, they discovered there was a town in Indian Territory named “Porter”. When word came back to Retrop about Porter, the forefathers said, “Let’s just spell it backwards.” Retrop is located on the Washita/Beckham county line, along State Highway 6, not too far down the road from Sentinel.

Up the road a ways from Retrop are two towns located a few miles apart on either side of State Highway 54, and nearly always paired together on the highway signs. Corn and Colony are their names. I’m not sure if they grow corn in Corn, or if any colonists remain in Colony, but I do know that one has family ties to John Denver. Continue reading How Do You Say That?

Lessons Learned from Tragedy

A crying cowboy is surrounded by the faces of the ten men who died in a plane crash on January 27th, 2001 (courtesy tulsaworld.com)

Editor’s Note, 11/18/11: After the devastatingly sad plane crash last night that took the lives of Oklahoma State women’s basketball coach and assistant coach, we began to receive a great many reviews of this post (pub. 1/28/11) once again.  Our thoughts and prayers are most certainly extended to the families, team members, and Oklahoma State community for this most recent plane-related tragedy, and to those connected to the two others who died in the crash as well.  Kelly Ogle at News9 just posted a Twitter photo of the girls’ team gathered around the kneeling Cowboy memorial, circling in prayer. You can view the photo HERE. ~ RDK


by Rob Loeber

It is impossible to walk past the memorial and not feel…something.  Front and center inside the doors of Gallagher-Iba arena is the tribute to ten men who had their lives cut short.  A single Cowboy kneels and cries, representing the tears of a team, a university, and a state.  Looking out at that Cowboy are the smiling faces of those ten men.  It’s as if one look is at once a reminder of our grief and a lasting image of just how joyful life can be.

Thursday marked the tenth anniversary of the plane crash that claimed the lives of those ten men.  Ten years later, an unspeakable tragedy in a field in Colorado, still echoes in the hearts and minds of everyone who lives in this state.  Those associated with OSU have taken every step to ensure that no one will ever forget what happened on the night of January 27th, 2001.

Time may indeed heal all wounds, but some wounds need to be recognized and embraced for the benefit of those left behind.  This is one of those wounds, and a celebration of those men is exactly what OSU continues to bring forth a decade after their lives were ended.  The University honored those men beautifully on Wednesday night before, during, and after a game against Texas.

Continue reading Lessons Learned from Tragedy

Get Over Yourself Tulsa

A few weeks ago, the Tulsa World published this article about how more Tulsans are embracing the Oklahoma City Thunder.  Overall, the tone of the article is positive.  It cites increasing ticket sales and rising TV ratings from the East side of the state.  However, if you read the article and read some of the comments, you’ll quickly realize just how ignorant, jealous and petty so many folks are about the Thunder bearing the name “Oklahoma City.”

Tulsans don't need to go to this extreme, but you get the idea. (courtesy bleacherreport.com)

I don’t want to admit this is true, but having lived in Tulsa for almost seven years now, there is an inferiority complex for too many people when it comes to competition with OKC.  These are the same imbeciles who need something to be offended by, something to rant about on sports radio, and who cling to the past like it’s keeping them alive.  The ridiculous sentiment of this pathetic crowd is, “They’re not the Oklahoma Thunder, so why should I care? They don’t market themselves to Tulsa or play games up here, so why I am going to support a team that doesn’t acknowledge me?”

Really?  Sometimes you people sound like too much like the kid who gets picked last for dodge ball.  Did you ever think it’s because maybe you’re not good enough?  Instead of whining and complaining just get better.

The BOK Center is a start, bust more downtown renewal must follow.

Let’s face facts here; Oklahoma City had a vision back in the mid-nineties.  The MAPS project was executed flawlessly and now OKC has transformed itself into a big league city that is deserving of a professional franchise.  Tulsa is a fantastic place to live, and offers plenty of things that OKC doesn’t, but it just isn’t on the same level when it comes to being ready for pro sports.  Sure, Tulsa has the BOK Center downtown.  It’s a beautiful facility and it’s a huge step in the right direction.  But Tulsa also has a city council that squabbles incessantly, excruciatingly slow development along the river, and surface streets that make this town the perfect place to open up your own alignment shop.  What takes Oklahoma City ten years seems to take Tulsa 25 years to accomplish.  Believe me, Tulsa is changing and improving, but it’s not there yet.

Continue reading Get Over Yourself Tulsa

Does Capel Deserve More Time?

Could Jeff Capel's tenure at Oklahoma be over? (courtesy thespread.com)

Jeff Capel is a good basketball coach.

“Good” will cut it in just about any profession, just not Capel’s. Good coaches get fired every season and some in this state believe now is the time for a change in leadership of the Oklahoma program.

Capel’s detractors have a case. The Sooners finished the season last night with a 20-point loss to Texas and an overall record of 14-18. For the first time in 46 years, OU has posted back to back losing seasons.
Capel’s squad will also miss the NCAA tournament for a second consecutive year. The Sooners haven’t been left out of the dance two years in a row since 1994.

There was a brutal string of nine straight losses at the end of last season. At one point this year, OU dropped eight in a row and wound up losing nine of its last eleven.

Can Capel win without Blake Griffin? So far, the answer seems to be no. (courtesy sportige.com)

The Sooners have fallen close to the cellar in the Big 12 conference. Only Iowa State finished lower than OU in the standings, and ten of the Sooners conference losses were by a margin of ten points or more. It isn’t just that Capel’s team was losing, it’s that his team wasn’t even consistently competitive. It looks worse for OU when you look at recent history against the top teams in the conference. The Sooners have now dropped four in a row to Texas, four in a row to Texas A&M, and six straight to Kansas.

Critics also love to point out Capel’s recruiting history. Willie Warren, Tommy Mason-Griffin, and Tiny Gallon were all McDonald’s All-Americans and were supposed to be the next wave of Sooner superstars. They were going to pick up the slack after the departure of Blake Griffin, and continue to keep the program in a position of prominence. Warren played two seasons and bolted to the NBA. Mason-Griffin skipped town after only a year and was quoted in the Houston Chronicle saying, “School work was just not in my comfort zone.”  Gallon also left Norman after his freshman season amidst allegations that he and his mother received $3,000 from a financial adviser. OU assistant coach Oronde Taliaferro was rumored to be connected to the adviser and the NCAA launched an investigation into Taliaferro’s actions.

Continue reading Does Capel Deserve More Time?

Call Me Commish

Acting as Commissioner of a professional sports league cannot be an easy job.  It requires business savvy, knowledge of the law, negotiating skills, and the ability to wade through piles of criticism while maintaining a tough, confident appearance.  Most of the job responsibilities aren’t glamorous, and the hours are long.  Commissioners are rarely praised and often vilified.  For the most part, I think the four Commissioners, David Stern (NBA), Roger Goodell (NFL), Bud Selig (MLB), and Gary Bettman (NHL), do a pretty decent job.  But every fan wonders what it would be like to be in charge.  We’d all love to take the ownership reigns of our favorite team for a week, but how does one attempt to change an entire league?  Well, like this for starters.


Is anyone else tired of talking about the same players and the same teams over and over? (courtesy bumpshack.com)

The first thing I’d address as NBA Commissioner is what I like to call the “redundancy factor.”  The league’s biggest problem is that 75 percent of its teams are almost irrelevant.  This is a league that revolves around seven or eight franchises at the most.  The conversation, the media, and the telecasts, focus on these so-called elite teams like the Lakers, Celtics, Spurs, Mavericks, Heat, and Magic.  The rest of the league is barely worth talking about and that has to change.  The gap between the “haves” and “have-nots” has to close for the NBA to become an all-around better product, because when only a few teams have an actual shot to win a title before the season even starts, then why is the regular season interesting?  Where’s the drama?  Right now, we’re all just biding our time until the playoffs start.  In my mind, the best way to solve this problem is contraction.  I know it’s a dirty word, but it’s time.  Too many small market teams (Milwaukee, Utah, Sacramento) acquire star players only to see them bolt in a couple years for one of the big cities.  The teams that can hold onto stars are eventually forced to trade them away because the players have too much power (i.e. Carmelo Anthony and Deron Williams).  Getting rid of six teams would help bring the league back into a better competitive balance.  Talent wouldn’t be spread so thin, and increased parity is the result.  In other words, a more interesting, compelling NBA than what we have right now.  It gives me no pleasure to do it, but I’m taking the ax to these teams:

Continue reading Call Me Commish