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Top Five Destinations of Tulsa

Oklahoma brings to mind college athletics. (There are other things like songs, Broadway music, places I have visited and other topics, but I’ve explored those already, as a continuing series like this forces me to range beyond the first thoughts of “Oklahoma,” “Tulsa Time,” and I-44.) Thoughts of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State could be because I grew up in Big 8/Big 12 country, but also because these are dominant national franchises, something relatively unknown to Missouri fans.

As far as I can tell there are three phases of a sports program. The first is that of a loser, not wishing to be harsh, but a team, no matter the sport, that loses more contests than it wins. The next step is the winner, when a team wins more that it loses and competes week in and week out with its opponents. The third step is the championship team, like Oklahoma, where anything short of a championship is a failure because of the continued success of the program.

tulsa3All professional sports are already like this. There is no second place Super Bowl trophy, second place World Series trophy, second place Stanley Cup or whatever. There are expansion teams that work up to their first success, but once they are there (like the Tampa Bay Rays or Florida Marlins) they’re expected to compete to win every year.

Maybe college sports have been always been like this as well, but it seems to me that going to a bowl game or getting to the NCAA basketball tournament used to be, I don’t want to say enough, but it meant a good season. At some point, that no longer became true. Now, instead of competing against around 32 teams or less like the NFL, NBA, MLB, MLS or NHL, only one college team out of hundreds gets the championship. Fair? Sure, if you’re a fan of Oklahoma, but if not, like me, is it a realistic hope for my Missouri Tigers to beat 119 teams in football or 339 schools in basketball? Probably not. So, I head off to Tulsa, to celebrate the state’s college athletic success and to drown my college athletic sorrows at this first spot, before seeing what else Tulsa has to offer.

Drink many beers at James E. McNellie’s Public House

The beer list for James E. McNellie’s Public House in Tulsa is four pages of a pdf. I want to drink them all. My first choice will be a beer combo called the Chocolate Covered Banana that combines Young’s Double Chocolate Stout with Wells Banana Bread. Then, a Guinness and Black Bush whiskey and beer pairing followed by a flight of beers. Mmm, I have already forgotten what I was thinking about – it’s Cardinals baseball season.

Explore the Tulsa Air and Space Museum

As I recover from a sure to exist hangover, I hope the Tulsa Air and Space Museum won’t be too loud. Fortunately the F-14 Tomcat there doesn’t crank up its jet engines.

Go to the Woody Guthrie Center

The Woody Guthrie Center just opened recently as a place to exhibit the archives of Woody Guthrie’s work. One of the highlights is the handwritten lyrics of “This Land is Your Land.”

See one of the films at the Terrence Malick curated Philbrook Summer Film Series

During the month of July, the Philbrook Museum of Art will host a different film screening every Friday picked by Terrence Malick. The series starts with “Beat the Devil,” then goes to “The Lady Eve,” then “Zoolander” and finally “Badlands.”

Look at the Yellowstone exhibit at the Thomas Gilcrease Museum

I have a favorite mountain, Mount Moran in the Grand Teton Range in Wyoming. The Thomas Gilcrease Museum has an exhibit this summer featuring watercolors of the Yellowstone area by the namesake of that mountain. I’m there.

Any suggestions for things that I missed? Any additional recommendations for the area? Just let me know in the comments.

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About Jason McClain Jason is an aspiring novelist, which means there is a lot of time to put off writing and watch baseball or go fly-fishing, hiking and traveling. By "a lot of time", Jason means "procrastination."

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