OIL Countdown: Fact #34
Hillier FF manager Thomas Hillier is the only OILer to ever draft a kicker in the first round. In 2014, Hillier drafted Stephen Gostkowski in round one, although he did it by mistake. There was a site-wide draft glitch that year on Yahoo!, but the AFC voted to keep the draft results (why? I have no idea; maybe they wanted to sabotage Hillier). But Hillier outperformed expectations, and he and Gostkowski made it to their first championship game anyway, losing to Venable's War Pony in the Thunder Bowl.
Unfortunately, Hillier was so traumatized by that loss that he quit caring about his team . . . afraid to get his hopes up again just to have them smashed to pieces by heartless senior NCOs. His team is the fantasy equivalent of a man who had his heart broken and now refuses to shave or shower, determined to never again get close enough to a woman to run the risk of having his heart broken a second time. "Fool me once . . ." is his unofficial team motto. Sad, really.
War Pony has defeated Hillier FF in the 2014 Thunder Bowl. That makes Jimmy Venable the AFC's first champion and make him eligible for a championship jersey. His uniforms:
What his championship jersey will look like:
Venable will have his name engraved into the Killman Memorial Trophy, and AFC Commissioner Nick Reed will ensure the trophy is shipped to Venable ASAP. Next, Venable will play the winner of the NFC's OIL Bowl. Whoever wins week 17's Liberty Bowl will have his name engraved on the Tenequer Memorial Trophy. Congratulations to Venable for winning the Killman and earning a championship jersey. His number 14 (for 2014) jersey is being ordered soon, and photos of it will be posted as soon as it arrives.
Jimmy Venable needs no introduction. 26 of the 28 members of the OIL were on the SECFOR mission that started this league. The 27th was in the 158 as well. The only manager who doesn't personally know Venable is Christopher Trovillo, whose Dirty Hippies won the NFC's OIL Bowl (Trovillo was an active-duty soldier).
He lost Danny Woodhead for the season right out of the gate and later lost Ryan Mathews for a large chunk of the season. But he chose late-round gems in Antonio Gates, Doug Baldwin, Steve Smith, Sr., and Brandon LaFell. And Peyton Manning did his part, too
Because this was the first season of the AFC, league relationships haven't matured to the point of strong trade relations. Even though these men all served together for a year in Iraq, a lot of them haven't been in touch in a while. As a result, Venable didn't finalize any trades this season, so there aren't any to analyze.
Hillier Clinches Thunder Bowl Spot
Congratulations to Thomas Hillier for clinching a spot in the 2014 Thunder Bowl. He defeated Nick Green's Doughboys and will face the winner of Joshua Lynn and Jimmy Venable.
As the regular season ends and the hunt for the Killman Memorial Trophy begins, the franchises that make up the American Conference are catching up to the original OIL. Logos and uniforms are being developed at a rapid pace. Below are the brands for the franchises owned by: Joshua D Lynn; James Peacock; Nick Green; Thomas Hillier; Charles Neely; Walt Musselman; Adam Schuster; new OIL manager Don Roe; Lance Zerger; Commissioner Nick Reed; Mark Fitzgerald; Stephen Brosh; Bryan Nye; and Jimmy Venable.
Compiled and edited by Justin C. Cliburn
This is the first installment in our ongoing oral history project. You can read later chapters here.
To understand the OklahomIraqis League ("the OIL"), one must know who its members are and what brought them together. The league began at Camp Liberty in Baghdad, Iraq in 2006. It was resurrected in 2007 and kept alive each successive season. It's the way they keep in touch and share news with the men they served with in Iraq. Sometimes it's the only way because, although the men of the OIL are incredible friends, they may have never known each other without the Army National Guard. They came from different backgrounds and followed different career paths, but they served together as soldiers. Their bond would never be what it is without the experiences they shared one year in Iraq.
Their story is important, even if only to them, because when historians chronicle the Iraq War, they will focus on the usual fare: the battles; the successes and the failures; the bombings and the civil war . . . and the presidents and generals who managed them.
But it will be up to the everyday Joes, the boots on the ground, to tell their stories . . . because no one else will. Who were these men? Why did they join the military? What did they do over there? How are they now? And what has kept them close since they first went to war together? These questions may be important only to those who already know the answers, but they need to be shared just the same.
What follows is an oral history of the OIL, as told by the men who lived it, beginning with the combat mission that inspired it. It is by no means an exhaustive history of that combat mission in 2005-2006; such a history would fill a book of its own. But it is a decent overview of the year that preceded the formation of the OIL: where they were; what they'd experienced; how they felt. 152 Oklahoma soldiers served on that mission, but just a fraction of them are represented here. Each soldier below speaks for himself as an individual. Collectively, their memories form a history best expressed through the oral tradition of storytelling through conversation.
Soldiers are traditionally a guarded bunch, reluctant to show emotion or share their feelings, so the following is a rare look into the collective memory of one group of soldiers in Iraq almost a decade ago.