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I am a high school English teacher in an urban high school in Oklahoma City. I am a member of the American Federation of Teachers, Local 2309. I am a Democrat, a union activist and a worker for social justice. I also am a Christian (Congregationalist). I play chess and coach our school chess team.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

The NBA in OKC: A Personal View

Kurt Streeter, a sports writer for the Los Angeles Times who grew up in Seattle, wrote a )column on how much the Sonics move to OKC affected him emotionally. Most of what he said was entirely understandable, but there were the inevitable "digs" at Oklahoma City and Oklahoma that I decided to write to him about how I felt about the whole thing.

He wrote me back to thank me for my response and wished us all "Good Luck" with our new team.

Here is my response to his original column:

Dear Mr. Streeter:

I read your column "SuperSonics' move leaves a bitter taste" on-line and while I sympathize with the fact that the team that was a part of your youth is no more, I hope that you realize the fact that few things associated with our youth actually remain fixed and eternal. I grew up in Kansas City rooting for the Athletics at Municipal Stadium. Neither they nor it survive anywhere except in my moments of nostalgic reveries. There they remain eternally for me as I am sure yours will for you.

Please understand the fact that I am pleased that a whole generation of young people in my hometown of Oklahoma City will now have the opportunity to develop their own memories. That is the cruel reality of the business of sports: your pain is some OKC kid's gain.

I take exception to the digs that you and other West Coast folks have made at those of us living in the Heartland. I often get the feeling that those living out in your part of our nation feel entitled for some reason. Most of the great cities of our nation can be found on the coasts or the Great Lakes region. This is due to their access to ports and other means of water transportation. Nature built you.

Oklahoma City was born, literally, overnight. We grew without your accidental advantages. We have managed to flourish despite the worst that Nature (the Dust Bowl and our famous tornadoes) and humans (the Depression and the Murrah bombing) are capable of doing. We are called Okies, Tumbleweed hoppers, Dust Eaters, and perhaps we are all these things. But there must be rock beneath this dust because we have managed despite it all to build a great community and thriving city.

Again, I recognize your column was written out of your emotions, but I thought that you might wish to consider this event from our perspective. I hope that one day Los Angeles will have an NFL franchise. I still find it hard to say "St. Louis Rams", but then again, I have the same problem with the "Arizona Cardinals." Sic transit gloria mundi.

Sincerely yours,

Robert Lynn Green
The Village, Oklahoma (the Little Town inside the Big City

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