For around 25 years now, I have owned season tickets for the University of Oklahoma Sooners football games. I have four tickets for each home game, and generally also draw out for the Texas game in Dallas each year. Back in the day, when television coverage was limited, I would make the trip to Norman, Oklahoma for every home game, and most years would head to Dallas for the Texas game.
It was a totally different atmosphere back in day when we first started going to the games, and so much has changed over the years. At one time, we became acquainted with all the other season ticket holders who sat in the seats around us each game, and would look forward to seeing them each year during football season. Back in the days before 9/11, you could come and go out of the stadium at any time during the game and halftime. That all changed after 9/11, if you leave the stadium now, you are not allowed to come back in. I remember a night game back in the early 2000’s, when during the game we heard a loud explosion, on the outside of the west side of the stadium, unknowing of what had happened, everything, including the game, continued on as normal. It was not until later that we heard a foreign student had strapped a bomb to himself and while on his way to the stadium; accidently blew himself up before entering. There was not a LOT of news coverage of this incident, understandingly, to keep from creating panic.
Some of my fondest memories from those days of going to the games back then were meeting up with friends on the southeast side of the stadium before the games. At that time, there was a Subway, a couple of college book stores, and O’Connell’s Bar and Grill that sat on that corner. All these places are now gone to make room for more college housing. Also on that corner, there were always vendors set up selling cold drinks and many different food fares. We would meet friends there before the game to eat, drink, and socialize before each game. At that time, most of the games starting times were usually 1 p.m., unless it was a televised game, then the starting time would usually be 2:30 p.m. So the food trucks on this corner would always provide us lunch before the game.
We would try to arrive to the game site about two hours before kickoff. At that time, I had met a gentleman who ran one the college book stores and lived just a couple of blocks from the stadium. He would always save me a parking spot on the street in front of his house for every home game. It was very convenient, being just a couple of blocks from our before the game meeting spot, and it was also possible to get to your car quick, after the game, and get out of town beating most the heavy traffic.
After arriving to the before the game meeting site, my first task would be to get something cold to drink, and then head to the food trailer that provided my very favorite before the game sandwich, a Philly Cheese Steak. These were so good, and as the years have passed, I got to where I thoroughly missed these sandwiches they made. I don’t know if it was because of the atmosphere of the day, but I thought these were some of the best sandwiches I had ever eaten.
Now days, although I still have my season tickets, I only go to about one game a year, and still walk by that same corner each time I go there. When I do, it always brings back memories of the days when we would occupy that street corner with friends before the game, and I can almost taste those Great Philly Cheesesteak sandwiches I used to stand there and eat.
Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich
2 Large hoagie or sub rolls
½ lb of deli roast beef, sliced thin
1 white onion thinly sliced
1 green bell pepper thinly sliced
2 tsp garlic, minced
½ lb provolone cheese thinly sliced
Oil for grilling
Salt and pepper
Condiments (Mustard for me)
Heat griddle or skillet over medium high heat. When hot, cover the bottom with cooking oil. Add onions and peppers and cook stirring until caramelized/ Add garlic, salt and pepper, cook for about another minute
Push veggie mixture off to the side and add the meat to the hot part of griddle. Cook, continually flipping and chopping the meat into smaller pieces with two spatulas until meat is cooked through
Mix meat and veggies together, divide into 2 portions and top with the cheese to melt. When cheese is melted, place meat, cheese, and veggies in the hoagie/sub roll, add condiments and serve.