August 02, 2011
A few years back, corporate types interested in attaching their name to the annual Oklahoma-Texas clash in Dallas made a concerted effort to change the name of the game from the traditional "Red River Shootout" to the "Red River Rivalry," on the grounds that the term "shootout" — in contrast to the healthy, sportsmanlike connotations of a "rivalry" — veered a little too closely to trivializing, condoning and/or promoting violence. Unfortunately, at least two fans in San Antonio still haven't gotten the message:
Police said officers were called to a northwest Applebee's restaurant just before midnight on Monday in regard to a fight that started as an argument between an Oklahoma Sooners fan and Texas Longhorns fan. The argument escalated, and the Oklahoma fan pulled a knife and attacked the Texas fan, police said.
Officers said the men struggled over the knife, and the Oklahoma fan was stabbed with his own blade. The Texas fan was also stabbed during the struggle, police said.
Both men were taken to University Hospital, where the Oklahoma fan was reportedly in critical condition Monday night. (The Texas fan was in stable condition.) As of this morning, no arrests had been made. It's not clear from reports whether alcohol was involved.
It's not the first time the "passion" of the Longhorn-Sooner rivalry has spilled beyond civilized bounds in the past few years: In 2007, a 53-year-old Oklahoma City man was charged with felony aggravated assault and battery for allegedly causing extensive damage to another man's scrotum because the second man wore a Texas shirt into a local bar. Elsewhere, an Alabama fan allegedly shot and killed two LSU fans after the Crimson Tide's win over LSU in 2008; two years earlier, a South Carolina man was charged with shooting a friend over a $20 bet on the 2006 Clemson-South Carolina game. Hopefully, the Oklahoma partisan in the latest fan-on-fan attack will fare better than the victims of those tragedies and make a full recovery.
This is the point where I'm obligated to write, "Remember, folks, it's only a game," but if you're one of the tiny sliver of the population that actually has to be reminded of that, frankly you're not very likely to pay it much heed the next time tempers start getting a little heated. Just try to keep reminding yourself that even school spirit has its limits.