OKLAHOMA CITY AND BESSIE, Okla. -- Who doesn't love a winner? But when the winner is your hometown team, look out. The stands fill up.
These days, passion for the Oklahoma City Thunder knows no bounds. Just ask Sherri Goeringer, season ticket holder in section 106, who travels far to see her team. "It is a long way," she chuckles, "But my husband usually drives."
Tiny Bessie, Oklahoma is a different world from the raucous Chesapeake Arena. You couldn't fill up her seating section with the town's population. Sherrie is a retired kindergarten teacher and bus driver who grew up just outside Bessie town limits, and who now lives on a farm within walking distance. "I guess in its heyday the town was bustling," says Sherri, "but it's quieted down a bunch since then."
She played guard for the Bessie Bobcats when there was still a school here. City Hall still keeps a picture of the last graduating class in 1970, and of a rangy athlete who would someday identify with another point guard named Russell Westbrook. "I was the short one on the team. He's the short one on his team," says Goeringer. "So I go from there."
Sherri went to a few Hornets games when the New Orleans team was in town. She went to some early Thunder games and sat high in the stands. But when Sherri and her husband got to sit lower in Section 106 something clicked. The quiet girl from Bessie became one of the screaming Thunder faithful. "It's the excitement," she explains. "There's something happening all the time."
More than 100 miles from the Peake, there's wheat to cut and hay to bail, but the work stops when the Thunder play a home game. Bessie has to get along with at least one fewer residents. If you need her she's sitting in her lower level seat, just below her new hometown of Loud City.