Yes, Those Are Tears of Joy

Shhh! Don't tell my wife, please. But I am having an illicit love affair. My passions – I am sure she knows this – run deep for another. I am all about pleasing my mistress. I am in love, you see, with Oklahoma State University.

Today, barely a dozen hours after watching fans considerably younger than me strew themselves across seemingly every square inch of Boone Pickens Stadium's floor, I remain groggy. And not from the sacramental wine I consumed afterwards.

No, today I am drunk – not simply hung over – with satisfaction. The grand Poo Bahs of the Bowl Championship Series – and, mind you, the man (Bill Hancock) who stood on my left during my wedding ceremony is the grandest of them all – can say or do with us as they please. My mood today cannot be soured.

Not possible.

Today, you see, my feet float a few feet above Mother Earth. Today, you see, I don't walk; I swagger. Today, you see, we are the champions.

Saturday night as the final seconds ticked off the clock and the student section moved from the northwest corner to the middle of the playing surface, I could not fight back the tears. I knew they were coming – my wife suggested as much a month ago – but could not stem their tide.

I cried like a baby.

Of course, I cry nearly every time I hear those words. "Loyal and true" does it to me. You throw out the line "proud and immortal" and I become a puddle.

The reaction began Jan. 31, 2001, during the playing of the alma mater at the memorial service for what all of us have come to know simply as "The 10." My nephew, the kid brother I never had, was among them. But it was not so much him I wept for. It was not so much myself or others. I wept that day for my school. My love.

The affair began when I was but a child and witnessed from the south grandstand at Lewis Field a Cowboy demolishing of second-ranked Colorado. Thirty-one to six or something like that, it was. I thought every OSU game eventuated in such fashion.

Years later, I knew better. Like others, I had been pained by crucial, often embarrassing, setbacks. I had seen, far too many times, our program follow one step forward by two in the opposite direction. I was there in 1976 – again against Colorado – when somehow, someway, we failed to grasp the outright Big Eight championship. I was there in 200whatever, when a 17-point lead – in the fourth freaking quarter! – was not enough to slay Texas.

I was there last year for Bedlam, when, I was convinced, we were the better team. And did not win. So Saturday night, as the score mounted – 10-0, 24-0, 34-3 and, finally, 44-10 – the emotions poured out of me and thousands more dressed in orange.

We are the champions. The Big 12 is ours. Not shared. No tiebreakers needed. Outright numero uno.

For years I dreamed such could be the case. I watched Iowa State and Kansas State and the like win eight or nine games on a regular basis and surmised, "Surely we can do that, too." Can't we?

Now here we are, having won 40 games in four seasons. FORTY. And counting.

That the crowning moment came against THEM was mere coincidence, really. But certainly it was a sweet, savory coincidence.

To hand THEM a beat down on our special night – a night that made us the No. 1 team in the No. 1 conference in America – well … finding the right words is a reach.

I did not want to leave the stadium. Only at my wife's urgings did I not venture onto the The Strip and join in the revelry of youngsters. Amid the uproarious celebration on the field, we sang the alma mater. As with every time since Jan. 31, 2001, it brought tears. My father, a proud OAMC alum, and my nephew smiled down at me.

I realized, at that very moment, we had arrived.

Maybe the BCS sends us to NOLA. Maybe not. Whichever, the pride I have in the team that represents my university could not be greater.

Thank you, Cowboys. You have given this lifelong fan the thrill of his lifetime.

(Jim Perry is an Oklahoma State graduate and longtime Cowboys fans. The views expressed in this guest column are his own, but could easily describe the thoughts of thousands of OSU Cowboy fans who are proud and immortal.)


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