NORMAN — Even before President Boren issued his plea for Sooner fans to extend hospitality to the visiting Notre Dame fans, I had shared with Transcript reporter Joy Hampton that my friends and family who made the 1999 trip to South Bend could not compliment the Irish fans more.
On game day, my friends and I were walking in the Campus Corner area when we found ourselves standing in line next to some Notre Dame fans. My very gracious friend — heeding the president’s message — welcomed the Notre Dame fan to Norman and said she hoped they were having a great time.
The Irish fan said to us that they had been having such a terrific time that she wanted to report it to someone official. After we laughed, I told her that I worked for the Convention and Visitors Bureau and would love to have her testimonial.
She followed through and sent me this email two days later and then posted a similar message on our Facebook page:
“THANKS to all the wonderful SOONER fans for their amazing hospitality to the visiting Irish! I am in a “mixed marriage” — my hubby went to Notre Dame and I went to Texas A&M, and we love college football. We have enjoyed many college visits through following our teams, but NEVER have we been so overwhelmed with friendly offers and welcomes as we experienced this past Saturday.
“Living in Austin, we had not heard exactly glowing comments about OU, so we were not sure what to expect. Unbelievably, we couldn’t walk 10 yards without hearing “Would (you) like a beer? Food? Need directions?” and wonderful comments like “Don’t worry, we’re Irish-friendly here!”
“A freshman petroleum engineer co-ed sweetly gave us directions, then offered to give us a full campus tour! WOW! There are always the few stray beer-brained students or alums (on both sides) who are rude, but I want to give a huge CONGRATS to the “Boomer Sooners” for being the FRIENDLIEST campus ever! Bring some Crooked Crust pizza when you come up to South Bend (yum!) and we look forward to returning the hospitality!”
I have heard many other stories similar to this one about how welcome the visiting fans felt by the Sooner greeting. Leaving this kind of impression on visitors is what we hope the Certified Tourism Ambassador program will accomplish for anyone passing through Norman.
Pat yourself on the back. Job well done, Norman!
Stefanie Brickman is the communications manager of the Norman Convention and Visitors Bureau. The NCVB exists to promote the city, to attract overnight meeting, convention, sport and tourism business to the community, and to enhance and contribute to the overall identity and economic wellbeing of the city.