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For a young Sooner fan it was LSU, a small box radio, and the Chinese Bandits of 1961……



I grew up in a northwest downtown neighborhood a mile from the center of Oklahoma City.  My years in this now mostly commercial area of OKC were from my birth in 1953 until my family moved to the Shepperd Mall area in 1964. My prize possessions were anything that had to do with sports or war.  And  I loved football from the beginning.  My first remembrances of the games were of my family’s favorite, the Oklahoma Sooners.


But as a little guy of eight in the year of 1961, I had another favorite team that I was not able to view but could listen to on my small turquoise box table top radio that sat on the bed stand in my room.  Living in the upper two apartments of a two story quad-plex that my Dad had built before my birth, remember laying in bed listening…to football.  Every Saturday night I would turn on that radio and listen to college football on the radio.  And it was one team that caught my attention.  I would be able to pick up the LSU games that they played in night.  The station coming out of New Orleans was one of those superstations of the time that I could pickup in OKC. Matter of fact, there were no other football games on the radio on a Saturday night.  My Sooners would play almost all their games, in Norman or on the road, with a one o’clock PM start.  Football on TV? Are you kidding?

In 1961 LSU lost one game and finished 10-1 winning the Orange Bowl.  They had a great defense that year, nicknamed the “Chinese Bandits” and they were the best thing on the radio in that year.  The nickname began in 1958 and the Army football team also used that title for a time.  It would not be PC in today’s society.  But for the day, yes it was what it was.  They, the Tigers finished 3rd or 4th Nationally, depending upon which poll you followed, and tied Alabama for the SEC title.  They were Orange Bowl champs with a win over Colorado of the Big Eight.

These memories are old, but I still think of these nights.  I fell out of any love for LSU as I grew into a man and today do not consider myself an LSU fan. But I will, for one night, pull for LSU to win the National Championship.  I do not have any want of Clemson winning another title for a while.

About Fred Pahlke

Fred Pahlke, an Oklahoma native has viewed over 10,000 sporting events in his 65 years. A season ticket holder of the Oklahoma City Thunder, former season tickect holder for the Oklahoma Sooners, Oklahoma City University Chiefs/Stars, he is an expert in both professional and college basketball and football. A high school athlete at Classen High School in basketball and tennis, he played amateur tennis after high school in the Missouri Valley Tennis Association. A graduate of Oklahoma City University, he taught in the public schools for 6 years before becoming a building administrator in the Oklahoma City Public Schools for 31 years, 28 as the Principal of various schools in the district. He has guided various high school and college athletes in his time as an educator and coach. Fredsportsextra has recorded 101, 410 article views in its first ten months, from August 2015 through May 2016.

6 Responses to “For a young Sooner fan it was LSU, a small box radio, and the Chinese Bandits of 1961……”

  1. January 14, 2020 at 5:47 pm

    There was a station that would play rebroadcasts of Iowa Hawkeye games at night. I can’t remember the station. This was in the late 60’s or early 70’s.

    • January 15, 2020 at 4:10 pm

      by the time I was in my teens I played sports and only attended various OU football games, Okla. City Univ basketball games, and the games that I played for or was a part of as a student (Classen High School, OKC).

  2. Carl Laughlin
    January 14, 2020 at 5:48 pm

    Glad to see another fellow Classen grad listened to late night am radio. I listened to races out of Salinas Kansas I believe.

    • January 15, 2020 at 4:09 pm

      when you are young and love something you will do what it takes to listen…at the time that is all we had….

  3. David Brewer
    January 15, 2020 at 6:46 pm

    I too went to Classen. I lived on 17th and Shartel. Threw the Oklahoma Journal newspaper. I was transferred to Central during desegregation. Then later I went to N.W. Classen. Anyway, I enjoyed your story. Did you listen to the Cassious Clay/Sonny Liston fight? I think it lasted almost a minute😆

    • January 15, 2020 at 10:41 pm

      You followed the same path as my sister. He was transferred to Central, then on to NW Classen where she graduated in 1973 or 74. For the Liston/Clay fight, I have written about that as it was a significant night in my life. I will post the link on this comment that you can find on this blog. Hope you read it and respond. Thanks David. https://fredsportsextra.com/?p=1804

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