GAVEL GAMUT By Jim Redwine

“Ill blows the wind that profits nobody.” 

Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part III, Act II, scene v, ln. 55.

Category 4 Hurricane Ida has caused immense emotional and economic loss to the citizens of Louisiana and surrounding areas. The beautiful and historic city of New Orleans was hit hard. Numerous institutions such as Tulane University lost power and will need weeks or even months to recover. Many of Tulane’s students have been evacuated to Houston, Texas and the Tulane Green Wave football team that was scheduled to host the Oklahoma Sooners has graciously agreed to travel to Norman, Oklahoma for the first game of the season September 04, 2021. Perhaps there is an opportunity to find “profit” from Mother Nature’s fury.

In 1943 the fiercest football rivalry in America was the annual Army-Navy game. The two service academies have produced such luminaries as Admirals Halsey and Nimitz plus Senator McCain and President Carter from the Naval Academy as well as Generals MacArthur and Bradley plus Presidents Grant and Eisenhower from West Point. As the saying goes, “At West Point, much of the history we teach was made by people we taught.” Our service academies, all of them, have been crucial to our country’s success but the vigorous competition between West Point and Annapolis in football is special. 

So, it was truly inspiring when on November 28, 1943 Army cadets divided up and half cheered for Navy. President Roosevelt as Commander-in-Chief had declared certain WWII restrictions on the game so all the midshipmen from the Navy were not allowed to travel to Michie Stadium at West Point. In the spirit of fair play half of the Corps of Cadets supported Navy. You can probably guess how the game turned out; Navy won. Well, no good deed goes unpunished. Regardless, O.U. and Tulane have a similar opportunity to show fellowship and sportsmanship.

I suggest the people of Oklahoma extend the hand of emotional support to the good folks from Louisiana and rename the Sooner Schooner the Ragin’ Cagin’ and serve gumbo and beignets instead of chili and mud pies. The O.U. band could easily ramp up their trombone section and pound out a few rousing choruses of “When the Saints Go Marching In” while the whole student body marches around the field at half-time. Now, one more thing. Unlike the ingrates from the Naval Academy in 1943 who beat our son Jim’s alma mater, I fully expect the genteel southern folks from Louisiana to have the good graces to LOSE!

p.s. I realize this column will probably not appear in the newspapers before the game is played. However, Peg put it out on our website ( Tuesday, August 31st several days before it appears in the papers and several days before kickoff. As I am confident the countless faithful fans of Gavel Gamut include Oklahoma Coach Lincoln Riley and Tulane Coach Willie Fritz along with O.U. Athletic Director Joe Castiglione and Tulane’s Athletic Director Troy Dannen they should have ample time to incorporate my suggestions. Of course, free tickets and some etouffee for Peg and me would seem to be a proper lagniappe for our involvement.

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