OSU students are in for something special at Bedlam

Written by Kyle Porter

I hate “…is back” sayings.

I hate the “Tiger is back” thing people do. I hate “Notre Dame is back.” I hate all of them.

The narrative is what it is. In OSU’s case — with Gallagher-Iba Arena — it hasn’t been a pretty one for the last few years.

There have been countless columns, articles, posts, tweets, instagrams, facebook statuses, tumbles (not sure this is a thing), and any other ways you can possible express things via the Internet that the basketball arena in Stillwater is devoid of people.

Devoid of fervor, really. Devoid of a lot of things

Does it bother me that it took one of the five best players in the country, the best dunker, and a six-game winning streak to barely sell out GIA for Bedlam?

Sure, but all that matters now — literally the only thing that matters at this very moment — is that GIA is sold out for Bedlam.

And students, you have no idea what you’re in for tomorrow.

You probably thought it was loud last year when we rocked No. 2 Mizzou and a bunch of you ran on the court to celebrate.

You might have thought Gonzaga was loud, or it was rowdy when we beat Kansas in Sean’s last year as the head coach.

But when your head is throbbing at halftime tomorrow because the echo of 13,611 maniacal, screaming people does crazy things to your inner equilibrium, you will know what Gallagher-Iba is supposed to sound like.

Two of my favorite places in the world: utterly empty, dark GIA and packed out, standing room only GIA. Both are mythical places — people lie to say they’ve experienced both.

So while you guys are at Murphy’s tonight partying like we’re the frontrunners for the Big 12, that dude who makes $10.50 an hour will be sweeping the 75-year-old maple in a cold, dark arena.

He will make sure that 12 hours later the floor shines so brightly Cade Davis could do his hair in its reflection.

And 12 hours later you will pour into the tentacles of that wonderful place. You will fill it to the brim and talk about seeds and brackets and college for the next two hours.

Then you will get to try and harness this toy Travis Ford has given you. And let’s be honest, I’m not sure if you still remember how to do it. It’s not your fault — it’s been a while since you’ve needed to carry a team.

There’s nothing like it. 13,611 people burying a team’s sharpshooter early in the first half. 13,611 people climbing into the mind of the other team’s leading scorer. 13,611 people directing a team towards the tournament. 13,611 people defying losses, willing victories.

There is nothing like it.

You’ll see, students.

You’ll see that despite all the whining from people like me and all the articles and stories, that the decision you made to attend OSU and to be an OSU basketball fan was a good one.

You will know GIA and it will know you. You will leave your spittle and your jeers and potentially parts of your vocal cords on its floors.

And you’ll feel like you can’t wait to do it all over again against Kansas on Wednesday.

When OU leaves, they’ll know too — I hope they know anyway. GIA swallows teams whole. You should make them crave playing at Allen Fieldhouse. At least the sun shines through the rafters there, a small offering of hope.

There should be no hope for teams like OU in sold out GIA. You should make sure they’re terrified of ever entering this place again.

I can’t wait either. I feel like a proud father letting his kids see for the first time how exhilarating it is to jump off the high dive.

You’re all going to be so drunk on the wonder of Gallagher-Iba you won’t even know what to do with yourselves. It is a magical, wonderful place.

Very much unlike what you’ve experienced at Boone Pickens Stadium. Boone’s house is great, don’t get me wrong, but it’s new and shiny and it’s grand. You’ve spent many a (probably) tipsy Saturday night and it has delivered over and over again.

GIA is different though. There’s no place like GIA when it’s swaying in the second half of a conference game. Loud like setting a firecracker off in a tin can. It will electrify you. You will question your sanity.

OSU is ready too. Marcus Smart and Markel Brown have their back braces on and the pieces are in place. Forte is cash at home, Cobbins is playing the best basketball of his career. Murph, Gardner, BWill, Jurick, even Nash — everybody knows their role.

And when Smart taps out at the very end and lets Markel have the hammer, you will know as well, students.

Everyone will.

This team is for real and they have a chance to deliver over the next few weeks what only Kansas has for nearly the last decade.

A Big 12 title.

  • Clint Davison (@IDPokefan)

    Just. Awesome.

  • Andrew Perry

    I. Can’t. Wait.

    • Andrew Perry

      You’ve outdone yourself again with this post, Kyle.

  • Aaron Snith

    Only wish I could be there. It will be totally insanely awesome if the people will come out and bring their lungs to support the cowboys. Bless all of you who go and do unto the Sooners before they do unto ;us. Bury them in sound and support those miracle Cowboys..

  • C.L.

    I’m bringing my ear plugs!

  • Brad

    Best post you’ve ever written. Up there with the Squinky post from GrandLand.

  • jetgirl

    Pounding headache at halftime. Dizzy and breathless from screaming. Thinking you might be on the verge of having an actual stroke the whole 2nd half of the game. This is what GIA is to me. GO POKES! Beat OU!

  • Tess

    Every word you say is true. Make another entry in the book of history for the ages tomorrow OSU students. You will remember forever. Go Pokes! Class of 1978, forever Bleeding Orange for OSU Basketball

  • Troy

    This. This is the best thing I have read on your blog ever. I’ve been to a few sellouts with my grandfather back when we had Desmond, Jameson, I-Mac and others from the 90s. And these students have no idea what to expect. It will be great!

    I got chills listening to Hunziker when Jameson nailed that 3 to send us to the final 4.

    • Nate

      Oh my utter face palm. You can no longer call yourself an Oklahoma State basketball fan. Good gosh…

      • Troy

        I meant John Lucas, simple mistake dude.

    • So well done bro! You nailed it. I have my ticket. Cain’t wait until tomorrow!

  • Nate

    Mother. F%#*ing. Awesome.

  • Katie

    All of this. Currently crying that I will be working and missing this epic game. And as someone who went to high school with him, I love a good Cade Davis vanity/hair joke.

  • Katherine

    Well done. I love walking out of GIA with ringing ears. Can’t wait for tomorrow and hope the students get a good glimpse of what they’ve been missing!

  • Ryan

    I can’t wait for Saturday. I am probably one of the few students who remember GIA in the glory days, even rarer, what it was back before the renovation. This has been a long time coming for me!

  • Brent

    I am beyond excited for the current students to get a chance to experience GIA the way it should be. The way I remember and cherish it. The way that made sleeping outside on the concrete in Jan/Feb worth every cold sleepless minute of every night. The way that made social norms of personal space not matter. The way you hung on every shot, boo-ed every bad call, and hugged strangers that you met only by chance of ending up next to them as the initial surge of students flooded the floor seats 1.5 hours before tip off. The place that fostered new friendships and created everlasting memories betweens existing friends. The place that I cherish.

    Even though the return to this atmosphere has been slow, and yet to be sustained, I can’t help but think that one taste of that place in all its ear splitting glory is going to be enough to make a new class of GIA faithful fall in love with that place.

    Come early, wear orange, get loud and BEAT OU!! GO POKES!!!

  • Gayle Shriver

    I attended OSU 78-82…I was at every basketball game and wrestling match at Gallagher. Your post gives me goosebumps…students will be we forget their experience tomorrow . Go Pokes!

  • Tyler

    I got goosebumps reading this!

  • Christy

    Such a great post, Kyle. It has been a long time coming. I remember, like so many other alumni, how the floor pulsates if you ever stand still long enough to feel it. How you could scream at your friend next to you and they still wouldn’t have a clue what you said. How the noise was so deafening that your ears would still be ringing and the roar would be in your head as you tried to finally go to sleep in the wee hours of the morning. It truly is a wonderful place and I can’t wait for a new generation of Cowboys to know that for themselves.

  • “You should make them crave playing at Allen Fieldhouse. At least the sun shines through the rafters there, a small offering of hope.”

    One of your best lines, yet.

  • Kaytie

    I’ve seen both GIAs. I miss both of them. Saw games from the student section and the Spirit Band, truly nothing like it. I live on the east coast now, or one of those sold-out seats would be mine.

  • Daniel

    This made my heart start racing! I know that feeling and it is beyond special! One of your best.

  • Twatty

    Great post. I am glad the new generation of students will get to experience ear-shattering GIA like i experienced with regularity during my college days.

    Still, of everything you wrote, you my memories came sweeping back when you mentioned your two favorite places: standing room GIA and empty GIA. I was a lucky one who experienced both – I worked for the physical plant one summer changing air filters. I must have gone in GIA every day for three weeks; in the wrestling rooms, the offices, the weight rooms, rooms where all there was was the interworkings old piping and electricals from the construction. But I still recall looking straight down on the court from the rafters and climbing up onto the roof overlooking over Stillwater. And of course standing at center court with the lights off and thinking to myself “God I’m glad I came to a school that loves basketball as much as I do”

    Go Cowboys. Cheer a loud as you can. Beat the Sooners.

  • Cowboysig

    The 1981 Bedlam game in Old GIA, I arrived 5 hours early and stood at the door to get in. We were let in and my floor-mate and I bagged front row seats on the floor and then for two hours watch them sweep the floor and cheered every time the sweeper passed our section. We weren’t behind the goals then but on the floor. Then the girls came out and played to a large but not packed house. That game went into overtime and by the time it ended Gallagher was already loud. I remember yelling at an OU fan sitting in the second tier. We would scream at each other the whole game. After the men’s game was over and we won, I will never forget that feeling. (I even got to hand a loose ball to HIghtower!) It has stayed with me all these years! Yes these students have no idea what it’s like! Hope they do after Saturday. GO POKES!

    • Nolo

      “I got to hand a loose ball to Hightower!” Haha that’s incredible.

  • David Latimer

    Great Post! You are making remember what it was like when I was a student 20 years ago. I remember a big Monday in either 94 or 95 against Kansas. I swear my ears rang for two hours after we beat KU’s butt that night. Great job! GO POKES!

  • This got me going! Hell of a post, Kyle!

  • Miles

    I’m only in high school, but I still remember going to games in the early 2000s and screaming my head off to cheer on the cowboys. One of my favorite sports memories of all time was the 3OT game against Texas, right up there with Bedlam and the Fiesta bowl last year. The ramifications of the game weren’t as high, but the energy and excitement of Mario Boggan hitting that three while 13,000 people went wild was truly awesome.

    My cousin is a freshman at OSU and is hooking me up with tickets, so I will be sitting in the student section as a high schooler (doesn’t hurt to get an early start!). I haven’t been this excited to attend an OSU basketball game in years. I seriously think it has affected my schoolwork this week because I keep thinking about this game haha!

    You can be damn sure I’ll do my part tomorrow to make sure the land thieves dread ever setting foot in this building again.

    Go pokes.

  • Brian

    Nicely done. And overall the best orange blog out there. Thanks!

  • Patty B

    Well, know, this was my favorite part:

    “You will leave your spittle and your jeers and potentially parts of your vocal cords on its floors.”

    GIA has been asleep way too long. You have sounded the wake-up call, Kyle….and it was beautiful!

  • dooley

    This is a great post! It gave me goosebumps, and has me even more pumped for tomorrow.

    Then I thought, “I need to set my DVR,” and I can’t find the game on any of the channels. Is it only online on ESPN3 in the DFW area? I mean, c’mon, ESPN calls this rivalry week and you don’t show BEDLAM?!?!

  • Brian

    Unreal, walk-off HR post…. Goosebumps galore, and it’s been awhile for that to happen in basketball. Well done! Now I’m not sure I can sleep

  • Brad S

    This is undoubtedly the best post you have ever written and you have written some great posts. I literately have chills sitting here reading this in my kitchen in Wisconsin (not because it’s 8* here) wishing I could be there. You are right in the students have no idea what they are in for, nothing but complete bliss as a fan. I am one of the few that has experienced both as we used to play pick up games after FCA my freshman year and only once but we had to wait for the lights to get turned on and it was so cool. I can’t wait to watch this butt kicking on TV.

    GO POKES BEAT ou!!!!

  • Wow! Amazing post. It truly captured the feel of GIA. I was there when we beat Louisville in the 80’s. Sat in the top row with a rafter over my head & in the dark. The noise was unbelievable. I also got to do the halftime half court shot. I missed. I could not hear until the next day. Then in college, sat on the third row on the bleachers. I remember the fear in the KU players eyes when they came near the side. It is amazing and you caught the feel so well. Thank you!

  • Nevik Sucrab

    Reading this gave me chills. I mean like James Earl Jones “they will most definitely come Ray” speech at the end of Field of Dreams that always gets me. Great job!! GO POKES GO POKES GO POKES GO!!!!!

  • Ron

    Wow! Thanks, Kyle. That was epic. David H – I was at Gallagher Hall with my baby daughter when the Pokes beat Louisville. It got so loud it blew out the amplifiers for the broadcast, and Bob Berry got silenced on TV. What memories. Can’t wait for tomorrow.

  • C.L.

    I was a Junior at OSU when Defending National Champ Louisville came to town (Remember Half-Court Eddie Hannon?) We camped at the door of Gallagher Hall in the freezing weather so we could get the best floor seats. We froze all night, and the next morning a couple of gentlemen came to the door, bringing us donuts and coffee. Those two gentlemen – none other than Mr Iba and Sam Aubrey!

    Thanks for the great post, Kyle!

  • Paul

    I’ve been in GIA during just such games. It got so loud on a last second shot that beat OU that I got dizzy. I’ve never felt anything like it since.

  • Kiki


  • Philip J

    I only missed a handful of home games between ’99 and when Sean’s squad beat Kansas in his last ditch effort to salvage his job. I gave up my tickets when I moved to STL. I have only made it to two other games since that Kansas victory. I showed my wife the above video in hopes that she would understand why a guy who could not bounce a ball to save his a$$ loves basketball so much. I’m hoping for a crowd like I enjoyed while watching Bedlam in the early 00’s.

  • You’ve inspired me! Family had an extra ticket. Just made the trip from Dallas! Can’t wait to smash ou!!

  • Great, great job. I hope the team plays to the level of this post.

    • Pat

      I love this reply, this post was awesome! If the pokes played to the level of this post, ou will leave GIA w/o scoring a point.

  • Toby

    I saw nearly every home game in D-Mase’s career. Court side. The feeling has no adjectives other than stunning.

    Go Pokes! Beat ou!

  • Christine

    Great post! Wish I could be there, but you might just hear me yelling through the tv. Go pokes!

  • Justin Wilson

    Without a doubt your best writing to date, Kyle. The line about making them crave Allen Fieldhouse is all time.

    The best part about this is these students probably think they have an idea of what loud is. They’ve been to see the boys at the thunderdome and, yeah, the ‘Peake gets pretty rowdy, but nothing like what GIA can be. When they are standing there with the very ground they stand on vibrating from the sound, when they have legitimate fear that the whole place might collapse around them, they will know what loud is. Cowboy basketball as God intended it.

  • Jmac

    You just went Denzel in “man on fire”. Masterpiece

  • Greg2funny

    Lol, good first half cowgirls. Good job little brothers.

  • Pat

    I was there. I was there when the seats were made of wood. That means: less people=more volume. I saw Ronnie Daniels hit a buzzer beater to beat OU by one. The flags on the ceiling were shimmering. Asbestose flakes were falling like snow from the ceiling. I was there when Eddie Hannon hit the half court shot to beat Louisville. Wow! I was there when Big Country sent the Missouri game into OT from close to half court. What memories of a truly magical place and many magical times. I wasn’t there today, but experience, (and the fact that my son rushed the court with the rest of them), tells me it was another magical moment…one my boy will never forget; nor the rest of us. Awesome stuff! The rowdy was back today for sure!