I was on the campus at Oklahoma for some covert TBS.
(Told my wife and daughter that it would be fun to visit the campus. It quickly became apparent that I had ulterior motives, but they were supportive).
Got on campus a little after 4pm (local time) and could hear "California Love" being blasted from a distant building. Daughter asks, "is there a concert going on here"?
"Nope, recruits", I responded.
I immediately bolted, family in tow and not yet understanding anything I'm doing, in the direction of the music.
It didn't take long and my suspicions were confirmed: recruits were at the stadium and highlights were being featured on the scoreboard.
(That sound system was amazing, it was booming ... no pun intended ... across the entire campus. Damn.)
In the distance ... maybe 100 yards ... I could see a convoy of large golf carts loaded with recruits and families entering the stadium. By the time we caught up, the carts were gone, but we ventured into the bowels of the Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in hot pursuit.
We worked our way around the entire bottom concourse and could not get access to the field. All we could see through the locked gates was the scoreboard, some kind of event set-up on the field and of course, we could hear the music ringing in our ears. (It was a variety of current pop/hip-hop favorites).
My daughter and wife suggest that we might get in trouble for lurking around the facility. I indicated, far too self-assuredly, that "we can't get in trouble unless someone asks us to leave and we refuse". We soldier on.
Then ... jackpot. Field access acquired. We get in through a mid-level tunnel and overlook the field and the set up for the event, which we've now learned is called "ChampU BBQ". The Oklahoma equivalent of Oregon's SNL.
Unfortunately, the only people on the field are support staff that are setting up for the event and no recruits can be spotted ... but ... I know they are there somewhere. My mission continues.
We continue to circle the lower concourse, and eventually find ... the golf carts. I know we're close. We're also much closer to the event set-up now, and as you may guess, we VERY much look like we don't belong there. (I don't think a UW hat and Mariner's shirt were "ChampU BBQ" attire.)
We make our move and close on the golf carts, figuring that the recruits have to be in that area. We're directly below the suites in the stadium, so I'm figuring the recruits are above us, but they've gotta come down eventually.
Assessing our options, I know it's time we make our move. We work our way down the tunnel, among all of the red and white clad OU support staff, and onto the field ... moving toward the event tent.
We're standing in the end zone, my eyes rapidly scanning for Rome Odunze, when it becomes apparent that enemy intelligence has detected our presence. I can feel more than one set of eyes on us. Then, we're approached by a "hostess" ... who politely tells us in her best "bless your heart" tone ... that this event is private and we'll have to leave. However, the best part, is when my daughter, as we're walking away, says, "dad, she was staring directly at your hat the whole time she was walking up on us".
We had been deterred, but not denied.
We begin to probe the other entrances to the Stadium and then we find, the Barry Switzer Center (or something like that), which appears to be an alternate entrance for big boosters. It looks closed, but the doors are smoke black, so it's tough to tell. I press my face to the glass. (Keep in mind, I'm 50 years old. What am I doing?) I gasp. All 8 of Oklahoma's National Championship Trophies are on display, surrounded by banquet tables. I think to myself, "pay dirt"! If I can just loiter here long enough, the recruits are coming.
Then, I make the crucial mistake that would take down any good covert operator. I go one bridge too far. I open the door.
Instantly, they're on us. 3 red and white "ChampU BBQ" clad staffers are there. They ask ...
... "do you want a picture?".
So, friendly as hell, they take pictures of my family and I standing ... with all 8 of OU's national championship trophies. I've never been so pissed off to see that much hardware in my life. We were inches, maybe seconds, from completing our mission ... and ... just ... got ... greedy.
The two females are oblivious to what our motivations might be, but the male that's in the room gives me a nod, a point, and a smile when he sees my hat.
Dejected by my tactical error ... really, an amateur move ... I take my family and we work our way to the bookstore, which is attached to the stadium, to check out the merch.
As we're shopping, a golf cart pulls up. Two recruits and families come in. One is a d-line looking dude wearing a "Northwest Football" t-shirt (I think there is a Louisiana High School called Northwest, not sure) and the other is a LB/DE type. I don't recognize either of them. About 30 seconds later, another cart pulls up. A taller (6'3) athletic guy (obviously a football player) and his small friend (obviously not a football player) along with two guys who look like coaches enter the store.
I position myself to get a look at the tall guy, as he definitely fits the Odunze mold. I notice his small friend motion directly at me (I'm about 50 feel away, across the room) and point to his own head and I assume that's in reference to my hat. I'm still struggling to get a look at the tall guy's face without looking like a stalker. One of the coaches catches tiny friend's gesture and it appears to me, (maybe it was my imagination, but I don't think so), to steer the tall guy and his friend out of the store and back to the cart. They don't even have time to buy anything. As they leave, I get a pretty good look at the taller guy ... it wasn't Odunze ... but, whoever he was, his tiny friend DEFINITELY had some recognition of the UW hat and made a point to say something to he taller guy about it.
We made our purchases (cash, of course, did not leave any traceable evidence as to my identity ... no good operator would make that kinda' rookie mistake) and then left.
Thus, my covert op was a bust. But it wasn't for lack of effort.
When I have time, I'll load some pics and make some observations about my time on the campus that did not involve actions as an operative behind enemy lines.