This is a very long article, which covers a sad time for the Oklahoma Sooners, talks about Texas Longhorns Baseball, then talks about the Big 12 Baseball Tournament. I would highly recommend reading the below article, then clicking the link to finish it. This is a fantastic, well written article … as Trey McLean always does. Hook ‘em! Randy
From the Stands
By Trey McLean
Let’s talk some oklahoma sooners, shall we?
As you probably know this is not a topic I frequent very often for one simple reason: I hate them. I hate everything about them. I hate their colors, their coaches, their dumb song, the wagon and the girl in a prom dress that rides in it, the obnoxious kids in their white pants and bb guns on the sideline, the down horns they do when Texas is not the opponent, the fact so many of their students, alums and players are from and/or are now living in Texas and pretty much anything else you can come up with. They write Texas upside down and backwards and add a very clever extra “s” in there occasionally when spelling it, so I return the favor by never capitalizing anything associated with them or ever speaking about their games if they do not involve the Longhorns. Like I said, I don’t like them and I don’t think I can be any clearer than that.
And now I say none of that matters when tragedy strikes. This week the oklahoma sooners suffered two major blows to their football program when linebacker Austin Box and the brother of defensive coordinator Brent Venables died within 24 hours of each other.
Box was found “unresponsive” in a friend’s house in El Reno, OK by said friend on Thursday morning and paramedics rushed him to the hospital. He was then airlifted to Oklahoma City for more intense treatment, but it was not successful and he was pronounced dead Thursday afternoon. The internets were ablaze with rumors and reports, and with head coach Bob Stoops in Europe on vacation it was Brent Venables who took the mic to tell the sooner world that it was true. Box was a fifth year senior and starter when healthy. He started 20 games in 2008 and 2009, but missed five games last season due to back surgery and I think he was still battling the pain as he was not fully involved in spring practice, taking every other day off to keep the pain and complications to a minimum. He was, actually still is, listed as the starter at middle linebacker for the sooners in 2011 and as a fifth year senior he was going to be one of the leaders of the unit. Reports, unconfirmed, say that Box’s death was the result of an overdose of an unknown “dangerous controlled substance.” From the outside looking in, it sounds like Box was taking some pain pills to overcome the pain of back surgery and it got away from him. Doesn’t matter what the substance was, no one 22 years old should ever be found dead and no parent should ever have to bury their child. Brent Venables was visibly shaken when addressing the media that evening and understandably so. Not only was he on his team and with him every day, he was Box’s position coach and he was the guy that recruited Box to oklahoma five years prior from Enid. The coach stood tall and answered every question asked, through tears and a lot of emotion. The day would only get worse for Venables and the sooner program.
As everyone was still trying to process the loss of Box, Brent Venables received a call Friday morning that his brother had passed away. Other than Venables texting a local paper to tell them he had to leave town to deal with the death of his brother on Friday, very little is known. He was 43 and it was unexpected and some internet message boards have said his name was Kirk Venables. So before the coach could even deal with the loss of his player, he loses his brother.
I never lost a teammate to a tragedy like this and I can’t imagine how the sooners get over it or respond. It’s weird enough when someone is dismissed or leaves the team and is no longer around, but for them to be gone completely is a different thing entirely. How do you move on from that? How do you see his locker, his film, his jersey, his family and not completely fall apart? I don’t know. How do you replace that leadership, that locker room personality that he had? I don’t know. And then you add the loss of the coach’s brother to it and everyone is probably numb. Right now it isn’t about winning games and moving on, it’s about getting through the day.
I don’t have the right words to say how sorry I am for your losses, oklahoma sooners, so I will simple say I am sorry. Thoughts and prayers to you and yours and I hope that everyone can heal and mend and move forward and be in a good place. When something like this happens you see how silly and ridiculous these games are we get so emotional about and how little they mean in the big picture. I wish you all well and we’ll see you in Dallas in October.
With the baseball post-season about to start, we are going to suspend the Texas football roster for a week and talk some Texas hardball. Back with more baseball next week and the class of 2010 in two weeks.
CLICK BELOW LINK TO READ THE REST OF THIS FANTASTIC ARTICLE
From the Stands