Exactly 10 years ago, we launched OklahomIraqis.com and a new era of the OIL was born. As a league, we were approaching our fifth season, and "The OIL" wasn't yet in our vocabulary. It was either the OklahomIraqis League or just "the league," not that either name was uttered much in the offseason. So it isn't a coincidence that I started this site that offseason, just one month before I was scheduled to leave the Oklahoma Army National Guard. Leaving the 158 meant I would no longer see the guys at least once a month, and this site was the first step to keep up the communication outside of football season. I think it's been a success.
And the launch of the website was the catalyst for what the OIL is today. To see how different things were then, just look at the first OIL logo and first blog post:
While typing in oklahomiraqis.com will still get you here, the site has changed exponentially. It averages over 1,600 unique visitors per week during the offseason and has grown from about a dozen pages to well over 100. The logo has evolved while remaining true to its roots, and the team names and logos have improved dramatically.
Of course, none of this would be possible without the cooperation of the league members, as begrudging it is at times. Thanks for all the help over the years.
On this 10th anniversary of the league website, what are your favorite additions? What would you like to see moving forward?
This is the fifth installment in our ongoing oral history project. You can read previous chapters here.
The 2010 season was relatively peaceful. Unlike 2006 and 2008, no one was deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan. Unlike the 2007 and 2009 seasons, no one had just returned from deployment. And, unlike 2009, no one was in Walter Reed this time. It was also the first season after establishing the website in March 2010. But the OIL didn't stop there. They started a weekly podcast to discuss all things football. They made the DBFA a reality. They replaced a successful OIL manager. And they took the next step by ordering a traveling trophy.
Buying Some Hardware
The league really evolved after the 2009 season, and the commissioner wanted a way to reflect that. So he scoured the Internet for traveling trophies and found SculptureAlley.net.
CLIBURN: But I had a dilemma: should we order a new trophy each season or should we buy a traveling trophy? I knew what I wanted, but I put it to a league vote anyway. Fortunately, the league wanted what I wanted: a single, traveling trophy.
DUFFY: That's what I voted for.
While the OIL was born in Baghdad, the Hangovers/Arrogant Americans rivalry evolved slowly over multiple locations. The franchises were rivals long before the league permanently matched them up for Rivalry Week. And it came naturally. They prepare the entire season for their annual matchup.
I've been sick as a dog the past few days, but nothing could keep me from meeting everyone at Buffalo Wild Wings at noon Saturday for our live draft. Schmidt and Henderson will not be there and will have stand ins drafting for them. Trovillo and Cobb will not be there and will be calling and texting in their picks from Tennessee and Arkansas, respectively. Good luck to everyone; it should be a great time for all involved.