They also hold up big heads of popular memes like Crying Jordan, campus figures like former OU President David L. Boren, the OU players, and others to distract the opposing team. When the Sooners’ defense records a block, the students toss socks in the air, also known as socks for blocks.
Bringing the Boom to Basketball Season
A banana, a chicken, and a tiger walk into Lloyd Noble Center. This isn’t the start of a bad joke, it’s just a typical game in the Oklahoma basketball student section.
These costumed people are part of the Boom Squad, a group committed to growing the student section and following for OU basketball. Each game, the Boom Squad puts out sheets on student section seats with different chants, stats, or facts to use while cheering.
Essentially, it’s all about having fun while cheering on the Sooners.
“We have people in costumes that sit at the front and just lead the front in cheering for our team,” said Kara George, a sophomore communications major with a minor in creative media production, who is one of the organizers for the Boom Squad. “I have a Care Bear costume because my name is Kara and a lot of people call me Care Bear, and it’s just a place again to be yourself, have fun, and cheer for our favorite team.”
As a freshman, George, who came to OU from Flower Mound, Texas, helped with photography and social media for the Boom Squad and plans on being involved in the same way this year.
“Whether you’ve had a love for the sport for many years or you’re just trying to gain experience in marketing or even social media and PR or just business in general, we are just looking for dedicated followers,” George shared.
The Boom Squad is hoping to be a part of and host more events in the future where they can gain a following, George said. In fact, earlier this month, the OU men’s and women’s basketball teams hosted the Boom Squad 3-on-3 Bash, where students built teams to compete in the tournament and played for $500 prizes in both the men’s and women’s brackets.
OU head men’s basketball coach Lon Kruger opens all practices to fans, a rare move in the college basketball world. George’s initial connection to the Boom Squad came when she accepted an invitation to attend practice and meet the team, and as a lifelong basketball fan born to two Indiana University graduates, she appreciated those opportunities.
“Going to those practices you really get to see how the team has grown over the season. Sometimes I would go after a hard loss and just see what they’re doing to prepare for the next week,” George shared. “Overall Coach Kruger just coaches with grace, and obviously a loss is hard, but he teaches in a kind way where you just move on, you’ve got to move forward and learn from past mistakes. Just being a part of that and being able to see that was an amazing experience.”
The Sooners have opened the 2017-18 season with a 2-0 record, defeating Omaha 108-89 and Ball State 108-69 during the first week of the regular season. This is only the second time in OU history that the Sooners have scored in triple digits in the first two games of the season.
Next up, OU plays in the PK80-Phil Knight Invitational in Portland, Ore. The Sooners open the tournament against Arkansas at 4 p.m. CT on Thanksgiving, and fans can catch the action on ESPN2.