Dear Oklahoma ... Go Michigan!

The spirit of the college T-shirt and why kids should be encouraged to wear them, even in Oklahoma where policy prevents non-Okie schools from being touted.

So school is starting, which means that summer is over. Cue the sigh of relief from all the seasoned stay-at-homers out there.

And another sigh from the rest of the parental watch pool. Routine is back. Learning is back. Thank God for our schools and the institutions of learning where we send our kids and trust in their teachers and administrators to guide them and fill them with knowledge ... Umm, except in Oklahoma?

OK, well not really, but check this article out: Oklahoma youngster forced to turn his Michigan shirt inside out at school. If you want the short version, the title says it all. A 5-year-old was told that he couldn't have his college shirt of choice on because, well, it's a state law that he can only wear Oklahoma shirts at school.

Pardon my hillbilly prejudice, but can we get any more Okie-ish than that? Can't you just see the spit flying through the front teeth and past the teachers pushed-out belly where the Sooner belt buckle is buried underneath the girth ... the loogey splatting onto the ground next to the bewildered kindergartner who is still mesmerized by the sheer volume of saliva that has puddled at his feet before he hears in a disturbingly proud voice the chastising words of his teacher: "We don't take kindly to that there kind of shirt young man. You'll do well to not wear that kind of blaspheme in these here halls of institutional learning."

Excuse me while I choke on my disbelief.

With all the problems in education that we have as a nation, it seems that this one is so laughable that it's disgusting. My kids attend public school, and the policy there is quite the opposite in letter and spirit. Mind you we live in California where we have our own educational challenges. But when it comes to touting college, kids are encouraged to wear any shirt that says "I'm proud of my school, and one day when it comes time to go to college, I'll be ready if I so choose to go."

Every classroom has a college to root for, whether it's the Tritons of UC San Diego, the Trojans of USC, or even the Hurricanes of Miami. When kids don there school shirts of choice they are saying, "One day, I'll be college bound."  

Insert huge sigh here. Are you kidding me! Really? They are telling a kindergartner that he can't wear a college T-shirt because it is not consistent with state patriotism? Tell you what ... let's just put on some Confederate grey, shall we?

Perhaps I'm overstating. As my wife notes, I tend to do that. The article mentioned above does note that the policy in place is to safeguard against gang-related activity. Oh, I feel so much better. Oklahoma gangs are OK for Okies, but otherwise ...

The truth is, I have just one thing to say to Oklahoma, and that's, "Go Michigan!" or Pepperdine, or BYU, or Wesleyan, or Dartmouth or Santa Cruz. Pick one, and wear it proudly. Because whether you have a child who some day may be headed to college or you simply like cheering for your team during the college football season, let's not be so backwards as to ask our kids to turn themselves inside out so that we can continue our ignorance.

Isn't that right Oklahoma? (Says I as I spit into a spittoon.)

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Mark McDonough August 24, 2012 at 03:48 PM
Thanks for reading, Tom. I don't have disdain for citizens of Oklahoma. My apologies if it came across that way. I am miffed by the absurdity of what happened and wanted to point out that the policy in place there misses the larger picture and the opportunity to instill in children a drive and motivation to achieve. So no, I don't feel superior. Wanna have a spitting contest? :-)
Clariece Tally August 24, 2012 at 08:11 PM
No you totally pigeoned-holed with a bad stereotype those of us with solid Oklahoma roots. You made the educator come across as a fat rube with an Okie belt buckle. My great-great grandparents were part of the rush to settle the Oklahoma territory. My family legency includes judges, farmers, teachers and, me the black sheep of the family, a smartass. But I'm pretty sure not one of them was a gutswilling spitter. Ok well maybe my Uncle John. But only on the 4th of July while setting off fireworks in the yard and loudly proclaiming "God Bless America."
Mark McDonough August 24, 2012 at 09:18 PM
Hi Clariece, thanks for your reply. Laughing out loud at your Uncle John comment. And yes, God Bless America. Including Oklahoma. Lord knows we all need it. Re: your comment, I feel like the administration of the school district in question pigeon-holed those of you with solid Oklahoma roots. I characterized the educator that way because to me that's what the enforced law embodies... a bad stereotype. If I were from Oklahoma I would be upset by the shortsighted stance taken by the district that inevitably punished an innocent kindergartner. By the way, I thought your tongue and cheek about being a smartass was very funny.
Tom Yarnall August 25, 2012 at 12:19 AM
Mark, your comments were in poor taste and said in a very juvenile manner. Surely, you can do better than that. If you are hard up for subject matter why not write about something that serves the public good, I may not agree with it, but a good debate on a useful subject can be both productive and interesting, if it doesn't end up in the sewer.
Clariece Tally August 25, 2012 at 02:48 AM
Also as a side note, Oklahoma was not a confederate state as it was a territory at the time of the Civil War - so I don't believe confederate gray would be considered historically correct. It does however have deep Native American history.


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