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Sunday Letters – Oklahoma State University

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Dear Oklahoma State University,

I’m writing you late on Sunday night because the words just weren’t coming to me earlier. For what words can I even summon to surmise this week full of melancholiac articles and poignant ceremonies?

I’m writing you to tell you how thankful I am for how everyone associated with the events of 1.27.01 has handled themselves. I couldn’t imagine a classier or more well put-together seven days of mourning, celebration, and remembrance. I know that leadership at entities like yours is usually top-down oriented and I know better still that there isn’t a classier school president in the entire nation than V. Burns Hargis.

Mrs. Pistols and I met his wife, the first cowgirl, at an alumni event on Friday and asked her about Wednesday, about how she felt everything went. She proceeded to thank us for asking and assured us that everyone in Stillwater is still processing that day that seems ten years new, not ten years old. It’s still fresh and yet often so distant, as if it happened to another school or in some other lifetime.

But it didn’t, and for a week every year we are reminded that it was real. We are reminded when Rick Barnes lays a bouquet of ten flowers at the feet of our thick, marble fallen cowboy in the southwest lobby of Gallagher-Iba Arena. We are reminded when Desmond and Gottlieb stand before the 13,611 clad in orange and tell them why the fell in love with your school’s tiny little town. And we’re reminded when ESPN shows us shots of tearful parents, sober siblings, and heartbroken well-wishers. It’s becoming distant for sure, but still, it’s so blatantly fresh once every calendar year.

That week is tough to get through too. It’s necessary, but tough. I emailed Mike Noteware, head of basketball media relations, on Tuesday with a request. He earnestly apologized citing that he was overwhelmed with requests and activities regarding Wednesday night. Good, that’s the way it’s supposed to be.

You were supposed to retire that number too. Not Barry’s or Robin’s or Bob Kurland’s, just that 10 with the empty zero-shaped hole a reminder every time we walk in GIA of everything we’ve lost. It’s fitting that your school has never recognized any single individual to be worthy of sporting immortality over his or her peers, but rather that such an honor as the retirement of a number is fit to be bestowed only on a group of Cowboys. Our whole has always been greater than the sum of our parts.

Burns said so too in his speech at Bent Tree Country Club Friday night, “we’ve never had the resources of a Texas, we’ve just always done more with less.”

And now we are less. Ten less to be exact. But once again this week you have proven that family is more. As Gallagher-Iba emptied after the Texas rout and I hopped in my car already writing the recap in my head, I imagined the lingering students and alumni standing in a semi-barren arena singing as the band played, and I hummed the words all the way home.

Home. Family. You nailed it this week. You always do.

Peace Love & Cowboys,
Pistols Guy

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