By Graham Coffelt
I May Not Be A (True) Sooner, But I Am A Gooner. Other than going to college in Stillwater at Oklahoma State, I do not identify as an Oklahoman. That is not anything against Oklahomans but being a boy from Arkansas, I just can’t allow myself to do that. Much like associating myself with anything Spud related.
One thing I am though, and proud to shout it from the mountaintops, or at least from the bar at George’s (Corey would probably be pissed if I stood on the bar just for that) is that I am a Gooner and I am proud. And hell, I am a Sooner Gooner and proud. This group has been a blessing to me, because this is the sort of thing that is my proverbial natural habitat.
One month ago, I found out about the group via the Arsenal America map of all the chapters across the United States. Color me naïve but I would have never thought that Oklahoma would have technically two Arsenal fan group chapters when my home state of Arkansas has ZERO. Depressing, I know.
Turn the time machine dial to May 17. On a whim, I said to myself at about 12:30 a.m., “I am going to Tulsa tomorrow. I have got to see this Arsenal group and see if it is something that I will continue to be a part of.”
Boy, was I right. Although I tried to go in the front door at first (Clear sign that I was new) and then I couldn’t figure out how to open the back door, (If you didn’t know I was new now, well…..) I finally sat down and then was swarmed by Sooner Gooners trying to meet the new guy (or free transfer). I could not have felt more at home.
Only through this beautiful game that has brought us all together could this be possible. Arsenal has been a team that has brought out every emotion in the book for me, but the hospitality that Scott, Corey, G.J, Brian and so many others have given me in my two match days in Tulsa is what will always make me a Sooner Gooner at heart.
This was not my first time to attend an Arsenal match at a pub with one of the groups. I was able to watch the FA Cup semifinal in Austin with the Austin Gooners and that quite honestly whetted my appetite for when I would finally be able to join the Gooner brethren in Tulsa. Nothing against the group in Austin but having the location that we do in Tulsa with George’s, I’ll take George’s every day of the week and twice on Sunday.
Because of my two experiences, I want to begin planting seeds here in Northwest Arkansas. If I can be more of an ambassador for soccer in this country more than I already am, then I will, and having Arsenal ingrained in Northwest Arkansas would be a great addition to this wonderful fan base of loyal supporters.
After I finish school in December, I am going into the sports media industry, or at least that is the plan. This is why you Gooners are so great. You create an environment that is actually my true element. Being someone that aspires to have a career in sports talk radio, being able to talk sports with educated sports fans is refreshing.
Going forward, I am grateful for all of you, if I haven’t met you yet, look for the bloke in the red Ramsey, Nike kit, pull up a chair, order a drink and lets hopefully watch more silverware be raised by our boys. Trust me, I don’t have a problem talking, but you may have a problem with me not shutting up. COYG!
OOH TO, OOH TO BE, OOH TO BE A GOONAH!
The SG Blog
Gooners from Oklahoma share their views and insights about Arsenal Football Club!