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September 29, 1995

Congratulations to Steve Smallwood, Perry high school's former speech and drama coach, who just won "Oklahoma teacher of the year honors at the Oklahoma City State Fair. Steve lives in Rattan but teaches in the Broken Bow school system. He was a member of the Perry faculty until going to Lawton some 18 years ago. He left his mark on this town in many ways. He was founding director of Stagecoach Community Theatre, and he is a past president of the Oklahoma Community Theatre. His former students and other friends in Perry are proud of Steve for winning this latest honor.

Do you suppose commercial bus lines are going the way of passenger trains in Oklahoma -- fading out of existence? Every time I see a Greyhound Bus or one of the others on the highway, they appear to be almost totally devoid of passengers. It's hard to tell for sure, with the heavily tinted glass now used in windows all around the buses, but that's how they look to me. Perhaps one of these days we'll be wondering why there are no buses and clamoring to have them restored.

The real demand for buses is for charter service. You've all seen the huge number that descend on this area for bingo weekends at the Otoe Indian Bingo Hall up at Red Rock. They come here from all parts of the Midwest, and they are loaded with bingo fans eager to try their luck.

Does it seem to you that the Oklahoma City sports writers try awfully hard sometimes to create a controversy for the new OU football coach to deal with? The quarterback situation is one aspect of that; but they also appear to be conjuring up questions each week about hypothetical matters that require answers from Coach Schnellenberger. I have a feeling that one of these days he's going to inhale deeply and then unload his feelings when some smart sports writer uncorks another question about a non-existent problem in the Sooner football program. Give him time to establish a record of some sort at OU, then find some appropriate, legitimate questions. This old coach has proven himself elsewhere and he'll get the job done at Norman, if they give him enough time.

Bob Simmons, the new head coach at OSU, seems to be escaping the kind of press treatment that Schnellenberger is being subjected to. Of course, Simmons has plenty of other problems to worry about. His Cowboys are young, raw and trying to learn a whole new system. Don't give up on them, or on Coach Simmons. Everything you hear and read about him sounds very positive. He appears to have the right moral character for the demanding role he's been called to fill. I'm glad he's in Oklahoma.

It's easier to root for the Dallas Cowboys again now that Barry Switzer has the reins down there. Jimmy Johnson's caustic remarks about Oklahoma after he took the University of Miami job pretty much soured me on him, and I still find it hard to forgive the way he and Jerry Jones treated Tom Landry. While Johnson was the coach at Dallas, I was barely interested in how the Cowboys were doing. Now, however, with Barry's enthusiastic visage once again visible, it's fun to root for the ‘Boys. I never lost my admiration for Henryetta's Troy Aikman, even when Jimmy Johnson was his coach.

Which reminds me -- all of us need to get out and support our Perry high school football team. Coach Ralph Baker has only 25 young men in uniform this year and that makes it pretty tough to compete in class 3A, but those Maroons are giving it their best shot. Let's follow them to all their games this season and make them know we appreciate their dedication and hard work.

Isn't it great fun to be talking about football again?