The reunion is definitely happening. Here is what is certain so far:
Here is what is TBD so far:
Here is what I need from you:
We've now collected enough images of players PhotoShopped into our team uniforms that I've added a page just to showcase those images (nested underneath the About page). They'll be interspersed into our oral history project in the appropriate chapters.
It's been a long road, but the OIL Uniform Tournament is down to its final two teams. Vote below to decide which franchise has the best logo and uniform set in the OIL.
#10 Dead Again vs. #1 Dirty Hippies
This is the ninth installment in our ongoing oral history project. You can read previous chapters here.
2014 was a big year. Alpha and Bravo Battery deployed again, this time to Afghanistan. The OIL joined the Yardbarker Network. Two longtime rivals chronicled their rivalry in an oral history. The league, fresh off losing a SECFOR brother, added 14 new teams as the league moved to a conference model. Cliburn spearheaded an oral history project to document the year in Iraq the men shared, and the men lost another brother-in-arms.
The OIL Heads to Afghanistan
ROGERS: This was my fifth season in the OIL, but it was my first deployment. I was in the 158 before their 2006 deployment and re-joined later. I wasn't sure how well I'd do competing from overseas, but I knew everyone else in the league had done it at some point.
ZERGER: This was my first year in the league and my first and only time in Afghanistan (although I'd been to Iraq twice). It brought back a lot of memories seeing familiar names that I hadn't necessarily forgotten but hadn't talked to in a while. I do believe that systems such as our league keep veterans in touch and might help some of our brothers reach out if they need help or something.
Chronicling a Rivalry
This is the eighth installment in our ongoing oral history project. You can read previous chapters here.
A lot happened in 2013. One OILer lost his house in the Moore tornado that gained worldwide attention. Two brothers-in-arms died. Four managers had children born. There were trips to Lambeau Field and Cowboys Stadium. A new champion was crowned. And one of the OIL's own became "Top."
In May, two-time OIL champion Jack Bruesch lost his house in the Moore tornado. Fortunately, he and his family were uninjured, and OIL members and more came together to help in any way we could.
CLIBURN: On a lighter note, it's a good thing I won the OIL and DBFA trophies back from Bruesch in 2012. Otherwise, those trophies would have been lost in the tornado rubble.
BRUESCH: I guess that's one silver lining of the whole thing.
CLIBURN: We can joke about it now, but I was really worried about Bruesch on the day of the tornadoes. I couldn't get ahold of him, and I knew his house was in the path. Thankfully no one in his family was seriously injured though.
Losing One of Our Own
On a more somber note, 2013 was also the year the OIL buried friends and brothers-in-arms. 1LT Brandon Landrum died in May from an IED explosion in Afghanistan. Members of the OIL knew him as SPC Landrum.
CLIBURN: Landrum was a medic and spent 2008 in Iraq with the 158. He went to the same high school and college as me, although we were in different classes. He had transferred to active duty as a commissioned officer when he died.
DUFFY: He trained with me at a "war fighter" exercise when he was still with the 158.
CLIBURN: I just remember how much he made us laugh at Camp Gruber. He'll be missed.
This is the seventh installment in our ongoing oral history project. You can read previous chapters here.
The period from the 2011 OIL Bowl to the 2012 season may have been the quietest in OIL history. With no one in Iraq, Afghanistan, or Walter Reed, the commissioner's only concern was getting the draft planned.
The 2012 draft was scheduled to be the third in a row conducted at Buffalo Wild Wings in Lawton. But their Internet wasn't working so, with just minutes until the start of the first round, the men loaded up and drove to The Hog Pin bowling alley and sports bar instead.
CLIBURN: Once we realized we weren't going to be able to draft at B-Dub's, my wife told us to go ahead and go; she'd take care of the tab. We jumped in Josh's truck and made to The Hog Pin just in time.
JESSEN: There wasn't the same atmosphere at that draft. There weren't as many guys who could make it to the live draft location, including Duffy.
CLIBURN: Duffy was going into his second year of living in his family's home state of Wisconsin. It didn't feel right not having him with us.
DUFFY: I had two drafts that day: my OIL draft, and I was working on the Norse draft at my brother's house. I was distracted and trying to do too many things at once. It was a beautiful day here in Wisconsin, and we were outside with laptops and beers. It was a very cool setup, complete with a bonfire and a TV on the deck.
BRUESCH: I remember going back and forth between Aaron Rodgers and Arian Foster up until the day of the draft. Adrian Peterson was my favorite player but he was coming off ACL surgery.
CLIBURN: There were many text messages back and forth preceding the draft debating which one to take. I did the math based on projected points and found Bruesch's projected points were higher if he went Arian Foster. But, with Foster's injury risk, choosing Rodgers was a safer pick.
BRUESCH: And I went with the safer pick. I couldn't risk my number one pick missing a good chunk of the season.
DUFFY: Cliburn and I did a lot of mock drafts together at Fantasy Football Calculator.com that summer. So I felt like I had a good idea what he would do at 1.13, but then he chose Sproles.
CLIBURN: I did the math and knew Sproles was my best bet in the first, but I didn't want to tip my hand. So I never chose Sproles in any mock draft leading up to the draft so no one (including Duffy) would know how much I valued him.
DUFFY: The story of the 2012 draft though was Adrian Peterson.
CLIBURN: Remember, Peterson had torn his ACL late in the 2013 season, and no one thought he'd be the same for the first few games of 2012. That's why I chose Ryan Mathews in the second round over Peterson.
COBB: I still can't believe a league full of Sooner fan let me choose Peterson at 2.10.