Maybe it was just the full moon. Or maybe the week before the Texas game always brings out the crazies. For radio sports talk show host Jake Lauterbach, this Wednesday night had been his most bizarre night of calls ever. Fans of University of Oklahoma football were already working themselves into a frenzy as the annual showdown with the Texas Longhorns drew closer.
Jake decided to squeeze in one more call before the 7:20 commercial break.
“Welcome to Sports Talk Now, what’s on your mind?” Jake’s bladder needed relief. At the commercial break in forty-three seconds, he intended a dash to the facilities.
“Jake! This is Sooner Born! Heard something really interesting a few minutes ago, and I wanted to see what you thought about it.”
Yeah, yeah, Jake thought, rubbing his camel-colored beard. Almost all the regular callers used handles and Sooner Born was no exception. Sooner Born was a take off from the OU fight song which ended with the words Sooner Born and Sooner Bred and when I die, I’ll be Sooner Dead! Sooner Born always alerted him to the latest OU football rumor. The rumors were usually baseless. But, true or false, they generated lots more calls, which created more interest in the program and sold more advertising. From whence came Jake’s salary, his baby-blue Jaguar, and his new home in the high-dollar Brookhaven Addition of west Norman.
“Go ahead, Sooner Born. What do you have for me?,” Jake asked as he willed the seconds to tick away to the next commercial break when he could terminate this caller, and empty his bladder.
“Jeremy Ricco didn’t make practice today.”
Ricco was OU’s starting quarterback and the Heisman Trophy front-runner after lighting up Southern Cal for 500 yards the previous week, in Los Angeles.
Jake sat up straight. He had to snuff this rumor out now, or it would consume the rest of the show. Fans were always passing on unfounded rumors about some phantom injury suffered by a key player. No player was more critical than Ricco.
“Come off it, you imbecile. Where did you get baloney like that?” Baloney was a more acceptable term than the word uttered on the air last week that got him reprimanded from two different advertisers.
“My second cousin is dating this chick that is the sister of one of the OU players.”
Good grief! This guy has more cousins than I had pimples in junior high school back in Detroit, he thought as he resettled his Tigers baseball cap on his balding head. “Listen, Sooner Born, this was a nice try, but I’m up against the clock for a commercial break. You really think that Ricco would skip the Wednesday practice the week of the Texas game?”
Sooner Born was relentless. “The coaches ran Tip Bristow at quarterback for the whole practice. Do you think Jeremy is sick or something?”
Jake laughed bravely. The coaches ha