Sunday, November 26, 2006

it's really just a game


My OKLAHOMA STATE UNIVERSITY COWBOYS lost a heartbreaker to the University Of Oklahoma Sooners yesterday, 27-21, just missing a catch in the end zone as time expired. Earlier, what appeared to be a touchdown then fumble, was ruled a fumble before the ball crossed the plane of the goal line. I've not seen the replays to know whether it really did or not, but even with that against us, we still nearly pulled the big upset.

Yes, I was there. Yes, I was upset. However, in the overall picture, OSU played spendidly, just giving up a few too many big plays, but overall playing like a team that could, and should, have won the game. OU's defense did not shut down OSU's offense, and OSU's unhearlded defense actually DID shut down OU's rush defense in the last quarter, holding them to One Yard Rushing.

I'm very proud of my OSU Cowboys. Last year was a disasterous 4-7 after Les Miles deserted us for LSU. In came favorite son Mike Gundy, a former superstar at OSU. Before last year he cleaned house of some of the riffraff left behind, including some quality players. However, they were problems off the field, and not really team players. It hurt us last year, but it showed Coach Gundy was serious about his team, and making it not only a quality football team, but one made up of quality men, on and off the field. That is admirable. We don't want, or need, thugs on our team to be successful. He's proven that this year.

OSU is now 6-6, but could so easily be 10-2, perhaps even 11-1. Our loss to Houston was one of nerves, as much as anything, for our Quarterback Bobby Reid, returning to his hometown for the first time as an opposing player. The comeback by Kansas State to defeat OSU may not have occured if OSU's defense was playing then, the way it is now. OSU was really not ever in the game against The University Of Texas compared to the way it had been the last 3 years, so that's the one that looms as "not even close". A last minute score by Texas A & M tied up the game, and OSU's blocked extra point after the touchdown in Overtime lost that one. At Texas Tech, we had our chances with the last possession, but just could not put the ball in the endzone. Same thing yesterday against OU.

Yes, OSU is 6-6. However, it's a very respectable 6-6. This team is SO vastly improved over last year, it is an incredible coaching staff accomplishment. The coaches have worked tirelessly and it shows. The players have gotten faster and stronger, and it shows. OSU soundly defeated Kansas earlier in the season, after falling behind 17-0 into the second half, it became the OSU Offensive Show of the year. OSU also convincingly beat University of Nebraska at home, after getting down 16-0. Nebraska won the Big 12 North Division Title, and will tackle OU for the Big 12 Playoff in Kansas City. The fact that OSU soundly beat one of those in the title game, and nearly upset the other one, is a true credit to the work ethics of Coach Gundy and his staff, and his players. Coach Gundy is there to coach, because he loves OSU and coaching, with no desire to go anywhere else. He's down to earth, and tells it like it is, much like former Coach Pat Jones. Coach Gundy doesn't make excuses, but at the same time, doesn't accept defeat. That was obvious yesterday, as he was on the referees about several not-called penalties for Holding, etc. His team is out there playing their hearts out, and he's fighting for them on the sidelines, trying to make sure a fair game is called. Yet, he doesn't whine after the fact, as he knows there is nothing that can be done about it.

Given the loss, OSU will now have to see where that leaves us for the Bowl picture. OSU is bowl eligible, but not guaranteed of a bowl. With or without a bowl, it's been quite an incredible turnaround from last season. One that only gives us a taste of what next season may bring. ORANGE ........ POWER.

In spite of all the hoopla and tailgating that surrounds Bedlam Football (a term that only applies to OSU - OU games in any sport), it all comes down to the fact, that it really is just a game. I was reminded of that the day before the game, as my previous post details having to put to sleep one of my cats. Life is precious, whether it's family of the human kind, or of the animal kingdom. Life is more important than sports. That doesn't mean don't enjoy sports for what they are, as I well do so. But, just keep it in perspective, and don't forget to smell the orange blossoms.


Friday, November 24, 2006

It's been a bad day


Twelve years since my Dad passed away, on this day. That year the 24th was actually on Thanksgiving Day.

This year, my cat Allie, who has been diabetic for abour 12 years, and has suffered through just about every problem a cat can have, finally could no longer fight, and is now chasing mice in the sky.

Thanksgiving is not shaping up to be my favorite time of year.

I had taken Allie to the Vet before Thanksgiving, as she had been prescribed some new medication, and she was not responding well to it. She'd recently been diagnosed as having pancreatitis. She had lost weight, and was not her usual energetic self. When I took her in this week, she had lost another pound in just a few weeks, and for a cat already short on padding, that was not a good thing. She was not fond of the new medication, and I was having a horrible time getting any of it in her. It was a powder that needed to be mixed with her food to break it down, before she ate it. Pills or liquids were not good options for this medication. I tried giving it to her with some canned food, but she had no interest in it. All 4 of the other cats came running and begged for it, but she turned up her nose at it. Spoonfeeding her was the next choice, but even then, she would fight me, and would clamp down her jaws to refuse it, or even spit it out. Facing all this, I took her to the Vet, hoping they could turn things around while I would be out of town for the Holiday, and knowing that the medication regiment was too much to ask of the cat sitter.

This morning, I got the first of several calls. Allie was not doing well, and not responding to things they had been trying. Things did not look good, and they were concered. She had been having some seizures, and was not responding well to the IV, etc. They wanted to alert me, and would keep me posted. Next phone call, things had improved a bit, but not significantly. She was more responsive, but staring off into space a bit, etc. However, they were optimistic. The next step though, was to take her to the all night Emergency Vet tonight when my Vet closed up for the night, so she would not be alone, and could be monitored.

The next call changed all that however. The call at 5pm, just when my Vet would be closing, was that Allie was less responsive, had been having more seizures, and going downhill, and they felt like she would not last much longer, probably not even overnight. It then came time for them to ask that dreaded question, that I'd felt might be coming. Did they want me to put her out of her misery ? I'd discussed that with the Vet earlier in case it came to that, since she had been through so much in her 15 years. I just didn't know if her frail body could take much more at that point. She'd gotten so thin and quiet.

Fortunately, I had spent the last few days she was at home, giving her some extra attention. Not just in trying to get her to eat, but in trying to perk her up in spirits and hopefully revive her health by making sure she knew she was loved. I spent time making sure I cuddled with her, and made sure she knew I was spending extra time with her, even though the other cats thought they were being ignored. They were not, of course, but I just gave her first priority for those few days, as I knew the way she was losing weight, etc., that the outlook was not good.

I did have to tell the Vet that it was time. Time to allow Allie to let go, and not just exist. It was so tough to say that. Especially not being there to actually say "goodbye". I could have had them wait until Saturday, and driven home to say goodbye in person, but she would have spent Friday night suffering and miserable, and maybe not even being able to last until 9am Saturday morning. So I told them it was time. Time to release her, and set her free.

I have so many good memories of Allie, but also rememberances of brushes with death before. 12 years ago or so, she was so sick, I thought she would not survive that. She had an infection, and it was in discovering that, that she was first diagnosed as diabetic. Finding that she was diabetic, they first had to treat the infection, and clear it up, before they could treat her diabetes and insulin level. She really nearly did not make it through that. But the same Vets that saved her back then, did all they could today, to save her, but it was just her time this time. She had an extra 12 years as it was, so I know she appreciated that. I always was sure she knew she had almost not made it through that illness 12 years ago. She always was so much more affectionate after that near miss.

My memories will always be good. Even at the end at home, she was always the lady. She never went outside the litter box, she did not complain, and she always let me know she loved me. What more could I ask for ?