Anytime the women's golf teams from Oklahoma and Oklahoma State find themselves in the same place, the competition gets pretty heated. That even includes the NCAA Division I finals in Athens, Ga., where both teams are playing this week.
This week, however, the rivalry is muted – and both squads are pulling together to play their best for their home state, which is reeling in the wake of the deadly tornado that struck Moore, just south of Oklahoma City, on Monday.
''All day, I just tried to keep it in perspective,'' Oklahoma senior Taylor Schmidt told Joe Menzer at NCAA.com on Tuesday, after she posted a first-round 71 that represented the Sooners' best individual score. ''I just kept thinking, 'Don't get upset about a bogey or a missed birdie putt – because we have people back at home who have lost their lives and families that are still looking for kids.' I think all of us played for Oklahoma today and I think it fueled our energy. I think we used it in the right way.''
As Menzer tells it, there seems to be a bond between coaches and players from the two schools since the tornado hit.
''Everybody saw the coverage [Monday] night and it was just awful,'' said Oklahoma Coach Alan Bratton. ''So hopefully everyone can pull together and help that community. This is the third time that's happened to Moore, so it makes everyone – not just Oklahomans, but everyone – just count your blessings.''
Bratton said he pulled his team together before teeing off to deliver a message.
''We just talked about perspective, and how we're blessed to do what we do – and to never forget that,'' Bratton said. ''So really what we did was just try to check our perspective and remember how blessed we all are to come and play in a golf tournament when other people have lost so much.''
Menzer has a lot more on how the players are dealing with the difficult situation, and I encourage you to head on over to NCAA.com to read his piece and catch up on all the action in the women's Division I finals.