“He has an engaging, flawless personality, which after you have been exposed to it for a long time, you examine closely for cracks because it seems too perfect. But the cracks are not there.”
These were the words written by Tex Maule in the November 18th, 1957 issue of Sports Illustrated. The man he was referring to was Charles Burnham “Bud” Wilkinson. Wilkinson coached the Oklahoma University Football Team from 1947 until 1964. During his career, his teams won three national football championships in 1950, 1955, and 1956. He also claimed two of the longest winning streaks in college football. The first streak contained thirty-one games, and a second contained forty-seven wins.
When asked why the Sooners won so many games, the soft-spoken coach replied, “You need good moral character, and we look for that.” His own character had brought dignity and pride to a state which was suffering from the emotional scars of the Great Depression and World War II. Years later, J. Brent Clark would write, “To see him on the sidelines of Owen Field didn’t merely arouse competitive fires within Sooner fans, it aroused pride which went far beyond football. People simply felt better about themselves, about being Oklahomans, after cheering on Wilkinson and his Sooners. Bud carried something with him throughout his life. It is called grace.”
When the Sooners played at Owen Field in Norman, the team would travel to Oklahoma City the night before the game to relax.
They would go to dinner, see a movie, and then check into a hotel. The following morning, the return trip would take them by a small eating establishment that was owned and operated by my grandparents. As the bus traveled down South Robinson Avenue, it would turn slowly onto 44th Street. Always standing in front of the Sooner Grill on game day were my grandparents, my father, and the customers of the Sooner Grill; all waving to the football conquerors as they passed in all their glory.
This reminds me of another conqueror who rode into a city about two thousand years ago (Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11: Luke 19:28-48; John 12:12-19). To the shouts of “Hosanna,” Jesus Christ entered into the city of Jerusalem, thus fulfilling the royal claims of prophecy (Zechariah 9:9). He invites you to become part of his glorious procession (2 Corinthians 2:14-17). Christian, are you up for the task?
“All hail the power of Jesus’ Name!
Let angels prostrate fall;
Bring forth the royal diadem,
and crown Him Lord of all.” Edward Perronet
Victory in Jesus