I love college sports, especially football and basketball. As an Oklahoman, I cheer for both the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University, except on the occasion of their battles on the gridiron and hardwoods. In my heart of hearts, I have always been an OSU Cowboy fan. Orange is beautiful! OK, so I have now divided my readership.
This past week has been a tough time for all Oklahomans. On Friday night, OSU dropped a tough game to Iowa State to severely hamper the possibility of a trip to the BCS Championship. Then on Saturday night, OU lost for the first time in history to the Baptist boys from the south ending any thoughts for a championship bid.
But football is just a game. Win or lose, the essentials of life do not change and eternity is not shaken. Good coaches, players and fans recognize that the joy of competition never supersedes the realities of life.
The real news of this past weekend was not the losses of OU and OSU football. It was the loss of coaches Kurt Budke and Miranda Serna, along with dedicated supporters Olin and Paula Branstetter. Oklahoma State University, Oklahoma and all of sports lost when the plane went down in Arkansas. For a second time in 10 years, the OSU family has been struck by tragedy.
I just finished watching the memorial service, which was a fitting tribute to these fine people. Heart wrenching, yet uplifting. It was so impressive that Sherri Coale, OU women’s basketball coach, and her team along with Joe Castiglione, OU athletic director, were in attendance. At a time like this, we are not Sooners or Cowboys/Cowgirls, but Oklahomans. I am very proud to be an Oklahoman on this day. Watching the uniting of hearts to support families of those lost in the tragic accident warmed my heart.
A game is a game, but life has a way of reminding us of the ultimate realities of life and death. Life is truly fragile. We must live every day to its fullest. We should not leave words of kindness and love unspoken, nor wait to demonstrate our love to family and friends. As has often been said, we do not know what a day will bring. Eternity is one breath away for all of us—be prepared through a personal relationship with Christ.
Oklahomans and the OSU family have suffered a great loss. They need our prayers. The families of those who died on that plane need our prayerful support most of all.
Anthony L. Jordan is executive director-treasurer of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.