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Cox: Three OSU Things I’ve Missed Most During Quarantine

Kyle Cox pines for college hoops, answered spring questions and more.



The impact of the current global crisis on life, livelihood and lifestyle cannot be overstated. So it seems a little crude for me to complain about any lack of sporting entertainment. But with all the stressors that come from the pandemic itself and the lesser that are compiling due to our altered way of life, the natural place most of us would look for a release or distraction or escape is to the teams we love following so much.

So in what seems like Day 100 of the absence of our favorite pastimes, here are three things that I’ve missed the most.

1. A Rematch with KU in Kansas City

With Cade Cunningham and the rest of Mike Boynton’s currently ninth-ranked recruiting class coming in, it was a little bit easier for OSU fans to move on from sudden stoppage in hoops. But the 2019-20 Cowboys squad had the rug pulled out from under it in Kansas City just as it seemed to be finding its footing.

A seven-game opening win streak was soon forgotten thanks to Isaac Likekele’s ailment and a six-game conference-opening skid. But after reaching the .500 mark down the stretch, the senior-laden Pokes won their last three games of the season and their Big 12 Tournament opener over Iowa State in Hilton-South, on what would be the last night of Big 12 basketball.

Their run was probably going to last just one more game with top-ranked Kansas up next. Regardless, I would have loved to see veteran group that included longtime Cowboys Cam McGriff, Lindy Waters and Thomas Dziagwa go out on their own terms.

2. Opening Day at O’Brate

The abrupt stoppage of sport cheated OSU fans out of the opening of the Cowboys’ newly finished O’Brate Stadium. Or at least it delayed it indefinitely, which is a real shame.

That long-awaited ceremony even included a former U.S. president throwing out the first pitch. I hope George W. Bush is still able to christen O’Brate, whenever it is the new ballpark hosts its first game, even though it still wouldn’t be his most notable opening pitch.

Bush’s sacramental start to the 2001 World Series signified that America — and the sports world — was getting back to business following a national crisis, the likes of which we had never seen. If and when he takes a rain check, he would be helping send the same message for a much smaller community but one coming out of a global crisis.

But we’ll get to open up O’Brate at some point, and this current situation makes me pine even more to see it.

Those facilities? State of the art. The fan experience? Second to none.

The list of resources for players and staff is long, but OSU also went all in to create what looks like it will be a one of a kind gameday experience.

O’Brate includes 13 suites and a club, a plethora of amenities, plenty of food and drink options and even built-in grills for fans to use.

“I wanted to build a place that produces more stories and more lives like Josh and Matt Holliday,” said Mike Holder in an OSU release. “It’s not about the sport. It’s about them basically growing up at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium. It was where they spent their childhood. It’s amazing listening to them talk about their memories of those days and the influence it had on their lives.

“I want that for a lot more youngsters. I want families to be in that stadium. Those are my favorite pieces of the stadium—the areas for families.”

I can’t wait to take my family to our first game at O’Brate.

3. Spring Practice (and its Insights)

This is actually not a joke, and it’s not a delusion brought on by a case of severe sports deficiency.

Normally I scoff at the idea that you can learn much of anything about a team based on what we glean from spring practice. And we learn even less from a spring game, which OSU doesn’t even really do any more.

But we as a media organization, and you as consumers of our content, are normally fueled for much of the summer on info, clips and storylines coming out of spring camp. This year — mainly due to its Covid-caused halt — we were all cheated.

The ceiling is high for the 2020 Cowboys because of who is returning, but it will be those unknown answers that decide whether or not OSU can actually live up to its potential. Which running back is making the most strides behind Chuba? How well does Shane Illingworth look? How much will the truncated spring affect his development longterm? Who is the next playmaker primed for a breakout year on defense?

We won’t get those answers and we can’t scratch that football itch any time soon.




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