The 2016 season was the 11th year of The OIL. Fresh off an amazing 2015 season that began with a draft at AT&T Stadium, the league decided to "do it big" once again. But, first, there was some housekeeping to take care of.
It was clear during the 2015 season that PFC manager and former First Platooner Jon Gomez didn't care about being in the league. Cliburn started brainstorming replacements shortly after the 2015 season in case Gomez chose not to return. And that's what happened.
Hodge Joins the Fold
CLIBURN: Gomez had essentially done me a favor by joining in 2015 to fill out the newly-created PFC. But he didn't know anything about fantasy football and didn't care. He never participated in the league chatter, and he wasn't upset when I asked if he was okay with leaving the league. So the next question was who to take his place.
LEAL: I know I suggested we ask Hodge, but I don't remember exactly what the conversation was. When he agreed and Brick asked what his team name would be, I suggested Red Ball Express (seeing that Hodge was 158 supply). The Red Ball Express was a famous supply convoy that ran during WWII.
CLIBURN: I loved the idea. I reached out to Hodge to see if he'd be interested and if he'd take that team name. He agreed, and our empty spot was filled.
HODGE: I hadn't played fantasy football before, but I liked the idea of getting back in touch with some of the 158 guys. I didn't have a team idea in mind, so Leal's Red Ball Express idea seemed like a good one to me.
CLIBURN: I knew after the reunion weekend and draft party of 2015 that I couldn't revert to the league spending a few hours a Buffalo Wild Wings for draft day. Before the 2015 draft weekend was over, Zerger, Jessen, and multiple others were suggesting a cabin for 2016.
ZERGER: It was at the draft at AT&T Stadium (or the bus ride back) that we started talking about the next year's draft. I can't remember who suggested it first, but Jessen and I both asked Cliburn what he thought of a cabin in 2016.
CLIBURN: I was skeptical at first. My idea of a cabin was a small building out in the middle of nowhere. But then I started researching cabins, and, holy shit, did cabins get fancy! I found a lot of options for cabins that slept a dozen or so people with nice accommodations, but very few offered wi-fi . . . which we'd need for the draft.
JESSEN: I suggested one I knew about near Comanche, but Brick said it was too small.
CLIBURN: Then I found HomeAway.com and came across the listing for the Roberts Retreat Lodge. It was on a private lake, slept 32, and it wasn't four hours away like the runners-up in Broken Bow (which slept 15 or fewer).
The Fifth Volume of the Book of OIL is now available in both hardcover and softcover. Because these are printed on-demand, they are more expensive than the typical book you would find at a store. I assure you the price is not inflated; the OIL will never make money off these books (especially when you tally the 100s of hours I spent compiling it). You can find each volume of the Book of OIL in paperback and Kindle on Amazon. Here's what you can expect in Volume Five:
Volume Five covers the events of 2015, the 10th season of the OklahomIraqis League. It marked a decade of camaraderie and competition, including a SECFOR reunion, league expansion, and a draft party at the Dallas Cowboys' AT&T Stadium. As such, it deserved a Book of OIL volume all its own.
This is the 10th installment in our ongoing oral history project. You can read previous chapters here. After final proofing and editing, it will be published in The Book of OIL: Volume Five (2015). Look for it on Amazon.
Celebrating 10 Seasons
2015 marked the 10th season of the OklahomIraqis League. It was special, and, behind the scenes, Cliburn had been thinking about it for years.
CLIBURN: Every summer, I reach out to guys asking where they'd like to have the draft party. In 2012, I text Pyle about it and mentioned our 10-year draft.
PYLE: I gave him my opinion about the 2012 draft, but I reminded him that we needed to do something big for the 10th season.
CLIBURN: So I was brainstorming ideas for quite a while.
PYLE: The thought of a SECFOR reunion had briefly crossed my mind a couple of time before celebrating Killman's life, but when a large number of us gathered to celebrate Killman's life, reality set in that we need to be reuniting on a regular basis. Once again the OIL served its original purpose of providing a means of bringing everyone together.
DUFFY: I think everyone realized the need to get the band together after SECFOR brothers Joseph Killman and Michael Tenequer passed away.
CLIBURN: True. After the tragedy of Killman's and Tenequer's deaths, my thoughts turned from having the best draft party to having the best reunion.
DUFFY: And, since expanding by 14 teams in 2014 had turned out well, Cliburn wanted to expand again.
Volume Four of the Book of OIL is now available in paperback and hardcover. It starts with the tumultuous 2013 season, when deadly tornadoes destroyed one OILer's home and two brothers-in-arms were killed. It then covers the OIL's expansion, the loss of another SECFOR brother, and the very first Liberty Bowl. The book is 246 pages long and retails for $34.99 in paperback or $56.00 in hardcover. All four volumes are available on Amazon, so be sure to put them on your Wish List.
The third volume of the Book of OIL covers the 2011 and 2012 seasons. It's now available for purchase. You can purchase it in paperback for $22.99 or in hardcover for $47.99.
The second volume in the Book of OIL is now available for purchase. Volume Two covers the 2009 and 2010 seasons. From the back cover:
The OklahomIraqis League began in Iraq in 2006 as a distraction for 10 soldiers of
You can now purchase the oral history of the first three seasons of the OIL. In its 322 pages, the Book of OIL: Volume One covers our year in Iraq and the 2006, 2007, and 2008 seasons of our incredible league. It is pricey, but such is life in the self-published, print-on-demand world the Book of OIL occupies. For the softcover version, the minimum price Amazon would list the book is about $38, and we're selling it for only $39.99. If you'd like to purchase it in hardcover, it will run $69.99 at Blurb. And it's available on Amazon Kindle for $4.99.