ormer Oklahoma State Senator Darryl Roberts paid the Ardmore Tigers a visit Monday to talk about hard work and dedication to your craft.
Roberts, a lifelong Tigers fan who has been to every game since 1964, met with the team after their Summer Pride workout. He encouraged the young athletes to always do their best, and to work hard for what they want.
“The most important game is always the next game,” Roberts said.
He told the students his story with hopes of inspiring them. In high school, Roberts was just 5 foot 4 inches, with the pipe dream of becoming a college athlete. He knew the journey ahead would be a hard one, but decided to give it a try,
“If I can’t be bigger than anyone else, I can be in better shape,” he said. “I realized I played as hard as I could, and decided I would give 100 percent all the time.”
Roberts went on to play basketball at Oklahoma University, and then at East Central University. While there he studied to be a coach, but another challenge he was determined to overcome would keep him from ever using that degree.
Roberts went to the Marine Corps recruitment office with his friend who wanted to enlist. While looking at the brochure, the sergeant looked at Roberts and told him, “I don’t think you can make it.”
“So that’s all it took for me to join,” Roberts said. “We did the daily dozen and then ran three miles. By 8 a.m. you thought, ‘I’ve worked so hard I may die.’ By 10 a.m. you wished you would die.”
The Vietnam war dragged him, and those who graduated boot camp with him, away. In the jungle, the group had been without food and water for three days. Supplies were coming, but first someone needed to go ahead and see if the drop was an ambush.
Four marines pushed ahead, and Roberts stayed behind with the group.
“We also hadn’t gotten our mail, which is the most important thing, in a week,” Roberts said. “So all these marines were (mad).”
A shot rang out, and the angry marines charged.
“It’s the sound the marines made when they charged those soldiers,” he said. “Ooh-rah! When you get tired, when you’re out there running, yell out ooh-rah!”
The locker room erupted with the sound of all the athletes shouting ooh-rah in unison. Roberts left the students with the idea that if you want something bad enough, it can be within your reach, as long as you work hard and be disciplined.