Folks enjoy the friendly rivalry that exists between Texas and Oklahoma, and if you don’t believe it, check back this fall when football fans are jamming area highways and packing stadiums to cheer on their favorite teams.
Other sports also take full advantage of the rivalry, with loyal fans from both sides of the Red River facing off in the stands and along the sidelines of soccer, baseball and softball fields, and probably on many golf courses and even tennis courts.
Promoters can count on the rivalry to sell plenty of tickets — many of the most popular contests are perennial sellouts — and bragging rights swing back and forth with every victory.
The rivalry is especially interesting because many families — on both sides of the border — have divided allegiances. A lot of homes in North Texas fly banners emblazoned with names of Oklahoma universities, and we have no doubt that many Oklahoma families sometimes fly similar banners naming Texas universities.
Truth is, residents of the two states have a lot in common. You might even say that we’re kindred spirits.
Sure, we realize that no dyed-in-the-wool University of North Texas fan would ever admit to kinship with someone from north of the Red — even if the rest of his or her family lives there — but that’s just the friendly rivalry we were talking about earlier.
When it comes to more important matters, most Texans recognize that we have much in common with our neighbors to the north. We have many shared experiences.
That’s why our hearts went out so quickly to those in Moore, Okla., and vicinity on Monday, as we watched and listened to news of the tornado and the ensuing search for victims.
We could begin to understand how parents in the area devastated by the storms felt because our own kids were attending class in schools very similar to those that were hit.
That’s why our thoughts and prayers remained with them Tuesday, even as we watched the skies above us darken and the winds begin to rise.
We realized that the storms that devastated Oklahoma neighborhoods the day before could easily happen here.
And we remember that just a few days ago, tornadoes touched down in Texas cities.
Yes, severe weather is one of those shared experiences we mentioned. We all have a healthy respect for what Mother Nature can do and how fast conditions can change, whether we live in North Texas or southern or central Oklahoma.
Most of us have known storms of our own, and while our losses might not have been as severe as those suffered by our neighbors to the north on Monday, we know the potential is ever present.
That’s why many of us began to check out ways to help as soon as the news had finished breaking.
That’s another thing about good neighbors — they’re always ready to help.
Authorities tell us that giving cash and blood are two of the best ways to help, so we would recommend that you contact the American Red Cross at www.redcross.org, the Salvation Army at www.salvationarmy.org or other established relief organization to find out how to help.
You should also check back with us to see updated lists of local relief efforts.
Monetary donations are a critical need as supplies and personnel are mobilized. In addition to giving online, you can also call 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769) to donate or text the word “STORM” to 80888 to make a $10 donation, confirming your gift with the word “Yes,” according to a Salvation Army press release.
Salvation Army officials tell us that $100 provides snacks and drinks for 100 people and $10 feeds a disaster survivor for one day, so every gift will make a difference.
Thanks for helping, and we know that our Oklahoma neighbors will return the favor if the winds should change.
That’s another thing that Texas and Oklahoma have in common — we can count on each other in times of need.