In nearly ever college football season, a team goes through turmoil, adversity, and injuries. It’s all just part of the game. Symbolically in the game of football and sometimes basketball, whenever a team’s player is injured or hurt on the field or court, the entire team will take a knee as to kneel out of respect and concern for that teammate. In some occasions, the opposing team will also take a knee to honor the opposing hurt player as well. The term “Taking a Knee” can also be referred to as a closing play where the quarterback knees the down to run out time on the clock or to prevent injury.
However, at Oklahoma State, the events of this weekend have redefined the whole meaning of “take a knee” to an entirely different level. After arriving on campus yesterday to watch the OSU game with my friends at their tailgate, I lost my emotions. Hearing stories of those wounded, and trying to rationalize a reason for motive was beyond my comprehension. No doubt, the atmosphere of a traditional college football Saturday felt very different. This day shook us to a core. With the tragedy that had occurred just hours before kickoff, the mood of the crowds were reflective and solemn. However, despite the divide in team loyalty you would normally find at every college game, you couldn’t find much of that in Stillwater. As I saw Kansas fans hugging Oklahoma State Fans. Entire stadiums in both Norman and in Stillwater standing in moments of silence in honor of those lost to the tragedy. OU would also remove their Crimson flag and instead raised our OSU banner in front of all their fans saying: “Today, we are all Oklahomans.” One old man told me in response to the flag change: “We may act like we hate each other at bedlam, but at the end of the day, there’s more care in our hearts for one another than any rivalry will ever have.”
But what caught my attention more than anything was when my fellow friends, peers, and classmates chose to take a collective knee in reverence of all those who had been injured. No, it wasn’t a knee like you’d find on the football field, but a knee to pray and humble themselves before the Lord. Our student body chose to honor the victims rather than hate the violator. Our student body chose to pray for peace rather than harp for hate. And our student body chose to kneel united with fans of both sides, teams, and cities saying, “We are Stillwater Strong. And we are State Strong.” Never in my life has my heart been filled with so much heartbreak for OSU, but also never in my life has my heart been filled with so much pride for my University, student body, and State.
Our Homecoming Celebration highlighted a statement this year from our Alma Mater song: “…Ever you’ll find us Loyal and True.” On many house decks and wall paintings, you’d find the words “Still Loyal & Still True” in reference to our song. How fitting that we honor that statement for never once have those words been more prevalent than now. We must never forget the moment we all chose unity in something greater than ourselves. And we must never forget the day, our state chose and continues to take a knee, that no matter the circumstances, the heartbreak, or tragedies we endure, I know for certain this statement will always be right: “…Ever you’ll find us (OKLAHOMANS) Loyal and True!” A Salute: “To Our Alma Mater: O-S-U!”
#PrayForStillwater #TakingAknee #StillwaterStrong