The trip last year was one that money can’t buy, and will probably never get repeated again (I still need to ask Kenny if he has had many random requests from Brits coming over to hook them up now!?). I have been busy the past day looking through the blog and seeing what things I just never got round to putting on here, which obviously needed to be here. This is one great thing I am rectifying now and the other will be coming over the next few days! Why was this so great? Well it made my mum and nan cry when they got a to read a copy, and it’s quite surreal seeing an article in print about yourself!
News OK Sports Writer Travis Haney got in touch about meeting up to do a story on the trip over. After missing each other the night before due to workload, we managed to squeeze in 5 minutes in the middle of each of our hectic days, at the tailgate! Now trying to direct someone to where you are at a tailgate is not easy, especially when all I can say is im in the middle of the road on Lindsey near Asp. Yeh, me and a few thousand others! Met up with Travis, managed to have a good chat about everything, the beginnings, the trip and so much more. But I’m not the writer, so I’ll leave the rest to Travis and put the article below and linked to the original here.
He’s visiting Norman for the first time. Saturday night’s OU game, against Missouri, was his first at Owen Field.
“It’s not like this at home,” he said, pointing toward the pregame scene. “We don’t have the tailgating, the BBQ. We don’t have people setting up the day before games.
“And, the best part, when you walk up, people are so inviting. They want you to come hang out and tailgate with them.”
Yes, Deakin is from England. Yes, he’s a Sooners fan.
How’d that happen? Just did, really. Deakin was on vacation in Florida watching the 2004 OU-Texas game. He needed a team for which to cheer. Texas was the proven product to him, even across the Atlantic Ocean. He was curious about the Sooners, who had a running back named Adrian Peterson who caught his eye. Peterson rushed for 225 yards in a 12-0 OU win, and the Sooners had a new fan.
This trip – pilgrimage, if you will – came about because of a chance conversation last year on an English Premier League soccer message board. Deakin noticed an Oklahoma resident talking about Arsenal. He started talking to the Okie about the Sooners. Deakin suggested a trade-off: Come to England to see Arsenal play and let me visit America to see the Sooners.
That was it. Deakin welcomed Scott Mossman, the son of OU sports information director Kenny Mossman, in November. Now he’s on the return end of the football-futbol home-and-home. Deakin and girlfriend Stacie Ridley arrived in the States last week, in time to see OU’s big road victory at Florida State.
In Tallahassee, they met coach Bob Stoops and several members of the team, including Tom Wort, who was born in England. Teammates and team officials were stunned by how quickly Wort slipped into his native tongue, slang and all.
Deakin didn’t mind taking a little credit for Wort’s outstanding game against the Seminoles. Wort also had family from England at the game.
“Travis (Lewis) being back helped, I’m sure,” Deakin said, “but I’ve got to think the British Invasion helped.”
Deakin and Ridley, 24, got to Norman this week and attended practice Thursday, catching up with Stoops, Wort and others at OU’s practice. Deakin was astonished that Stoops, “with 120 players and plays and all he has to remember,” instantly recalled their names.
But, c’mon, how many English dudes show up to practice?
Deakin talked about how great it would be to play a little on the practice field, so OU went and grabbed a football. He ran pass patterns with no signs of fatigue.
“He would have stayed out there for hours,” said David Bassity, another member of OU’s sports information department. “Finally we were like, ‘Hey man, we’ve got to go.’”
Deakin and Ridley walked through the tunnel, onto Owen Field, after practice. Even without 85,000 in place, Deakin called the experience “monumental” and “epic.” Ridley, an accomplished gymnast, has spent time working out this week at Bart Conner’s facility in north Norman. They chatted for an hour with him Friday, since both Conner and Ridley have great passion for autistic gymnasts.
It’s all felt like a dream this week for Deakin and Ridley. Deakin said he’ll likely need to get home before he really absorbs the experience.
“It’s kind of been like a week at Disney World for them,” said Kenny Mossman, their Oklahoma host. “Every time he encounters something new, it’s absolutely the greatest thing.
“He’s seeing things we take for granted. It’s refreshing. It makes you want to do more for them.”
Deakin literally struggled to explain Saturday afternoon what he had seen this week.
“I’m losing my voice,” he said, “and the game hasn’t even started yet.” = Trav
I was delighted to see this online. I didn’t know initially if it was going to be in the papers or not. I checked on Sunday and it wasn’t there and we were leaving town! A frantic message on Twitter from near Orlando, Florida on the Monday morning had a huge number of replies, It was there. Good job I work in logistics, and the great kindness shown by Oklahomans once agin to send me several copies over. I have to thank Scott Templin for buying and shipping several copies to Florida for me before I left there to go home. Was a great package to receive and then to take home to show the family!
I miss Tailgating, it really is something we shall never have here in Europe!