(FROM FIRST BOOK)
If you played football at Norman High in the early Seventies, you had to behave on and off the field, or risk getting benched, a fate worse than death.
But after our senior football season in the fall of 1973, we grew our hair long and thought we had a licence, if not a duty, to be obnoxious.
Which takes us to the Grandstand Boozers (and Alvan's Army)
The Boozers had long been a fixture at Norman High basketball games, and we carried on the proud tradition, possibly assisted by a few pre-game adult beverages.
We were renowned for being extremely loud and obnoxious to opponents and refs.
If we made them worry that we might, oh, I don’t know, chuck a piano onto the basketball court or something, then we had done our jobs.
In all modesty, I’m pretty sure that several NHS wins our senior year were due to Boozer antics.
We were so good at being loud and obnoxious that 15 or 20 core members of the Boozers ─ including yours truly ─ easily transitioned from being Boomer Conference obnoxious to Big Eight obnoxious.
Alvan Adams was OU’s super stud center from ’72-’75. He helped OU become a bona fide basketball force, but he could not have done it without the support of Alvan’s Army.
The Army sat in the OU Field House’s pull-out bleachers just behind the south basket, and we wore custom silk-screened T-shirts and assorted hard hats and Army helmets.
The Field House was way too small for a major college basketball programme. But it was perfect for Alvan’s Army. We were slightly louder than a Boeing 747 engine. And we could literally reach out and touch the players. Or a ref.
What could possibly go wrong?
“Todd” is the answer to that question.
Todd was the tallest and loudest member of the Army, and he made history during an epic conference game.
The score was excruciatingly close, and one of the refs made a terrible call on Alvan, directly in front of his Army.
We erupted as only teenage boys can erupt.
Todd leaped out of the stands, screaming his head off and slamming his nylon jacket to the ground. It sort of bull-whipped, and the metal snap on the end struck the ref right on his bulbous nose.
Now, I’d seen adults get angry before. I’d seen football coaches come completely unglued on a few occasions.
But I had never, ever seen an old Big Eight referee, right in front of a sold-out crowd, on regional television no less, turn beet red and prepare to kill one of my best friends with his bare hands.
It was just so great.
As an organisation, Alvan’s Army was immortalized by the Norman Transcript and, dare I say it, Sports Illustrated, which devoted an entire paragraph to us.
OU’s Athletic Department even included an Alvan’s Army t-shirt and hard hat alongside Alvan’s Number 33 jersey in the official display case at Lloyd Noble Centre.
#Alvan'sArmy #AlvansArmy #OklahomaBasketball #SoonerBasketball #OklahomaHumor #MoreMemories #GrowingUpInNorman #GrandstandBoozers #NormanHigh #NHSHumor #HighSchoolHumor #highschoolboozing #SoonerBasketballSeventies) #LNC #LloydNobleCenter #OUFieldHouse