Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The 10

January 27, 2001: A sobering night that I'll never forget. Oklahoma State's basketball team had played Colorado at their place earlier in the afternoon, a game I watched from my parents' living room because I had decided to come home from Stillwater that weekend since there wasn't a home game to attend. A few hours later, my dad called to me from that same living room and my parents and I watched in horror over the next few hours as we learned that one of the three planes carrying OSU players, staff, and associates had not survived the return trip home. Mechanical difficulties resulted in a crash that killed all ten men aboard. I remember initially feeling the shock and thinking, "Did the entire OSU team just die?" No one but those who were on the planes knew in the beginning who was on that third plane...we only knew that it had gone down. Names were finally released, and this was the list we saw: Nate Fleming, Will Hancock, Pat Noyes, Bill Teegins, Jared Weiberg, Denver Mills, Brian Luinstra, Daniel Lawson, Kendall Durfey, and Bjorn Fahlstrom. Ten lives suddenly gone, forever known on OSU's campus as "The 10."

Of these ten gentlemen, Bill Teegins was the only one I had ever met. Even at that, our meeting was brief and had occurred five years prior, but he had been friendly and had helped put me at ease in the News 9 TV station, where I felt uncomfortable and intimidated.  Despite the fact that most of the OSU Faithful did not know these men, though, it didn't stop the pain from being personal for thousands of people. I saw students in tears for days, and when OSU played their next home game versus Missouri, the electricity in Gallagher-Iba was absolutely unreal.  Gallagher-Iba remains the loudest place I have ever been on Earth, but that night it was one solid unbelievable roar in our narrow win against Mizzou.

Nine more January 27th's have come to pass for us since OSU's loss in 2001, and this year we remember a decade gone by. Each of these anniversaries has been sad for most of the OSU Faithful as we remember the accident and the lives that our university lost. I think I've cried on each of these ten days, but friends and family of these gentlemen have cried many days in between. As this ten-year anniversary comes to pass, I'll be prouder than ever as I sport the orange and black...proud to be an OSU Cowboy, and thankful for every moment I've got. RIP 10.

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