Putting Oklahoma on the biggest stage

Jul. 17—There’s something to be said about being a kid from Oklahoma.

Like many fans, I settled in for the night as I turned on the U.S. men’s national soccer team’s CONCACAF Gold Cup match against Martinique on Thursday. And like many Oklahomans, I was cheering on Daryl Dike.

The Edmond native put on a show on the international stage, scoring two goals in a 6-1 win for the States. Social media was ablaze with his efforts, with many saying he should be a mainstay starter for the team.

Dike is an incredible story, and yet another example just this year that we’ve seen an athlete from Oklahoma make an impression on the larger sports world.

Just a few weeks ago, we were also watching Norman’s Trae Young silence opposing fanbases, light up the scoreboard from beyond the arc, and prove to be one of the NBA’s most electrifying young stars.

Dike and Young are just some examples of the many Oklahomans that have gone on to excel in their various sports. Whether it’s basketball, baseball, soccer, gymnastics, football, golf, or a multitude of others, the Sooner State has made its mark.

Which leads me back to our corner of the world. We have an incredible group of student-athletes that have made us proud with their hard work and accomplishments both in and out of sports.

And many are also graduating into continuing their careers at the collegiate level in many different sports. They’re helping put their schools and hometowns on a larger stage, and writing their own thrilling stories.

Home town legends are made every season. Just this past week, there was a discussion about last year’s Buffs football overtime victory in El Reno to advance to the state semifinals. Across all sports, we’ve seen buzzer beater finishes, title game appearances, history-making playoff wins, plus so much more. And that was just in the last school year.

So when you’re at a game this upcoming year, it’s so very possible that you’re seeing the next Young or Dike at work. Maybe in five, 10 years time, you’ll turn on a national sporting event and hear the likes of “a product of McAlester, Oklahoma.”

I mean, it’s happened before. And it’s always thrilling seeing one of our own live out their dreams and bring a lot of love and pride to the place we call home.

Contact Derek Hatridge at dhatridge@mcalesternews.com.

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