Oklahoma native Sam Bradford witnesses another natural disaster
By Clark Judge May 21, 2013 4:04 pm PT
I don't know what happened at Tuesday's OTA for the St. Louis Rams, but I don't care. Because whatever did or didn't happen, quarterback Sam Bradford -- the most important guy on the team -- gets a pass.
Yeah, I know, this is the year he's supposed to fast-track his career forward. This is the year he's supposed to take control of the club, too, as its unequivocal leader. And this is the year he's supposed to benefit from a new left tackle and a couple of explosive weapons, including rookie Tavon Austin.
Essentially, this is the year Sam Bradford breaks through.
But that can wait. For the moment, Bradford is excused if he's more concerned with what's happening at home than he is at practice because home is Oklahoma City, and Bradford was there Monday afternoon when a tornado ripped through nearby Moore, a suburb just south of the city.
Bradford wasn't affected -- he lives in a section north of the city -- but he followed the horrifying events through live reports on TV as he readied to leave for St. Louis. And 24 hours later, he couldn't forget what he witnessed.
"We didn't get hit," he said, "but just watching it live on TV was really hard. Then, seeing the photos that have come out (Tuesday) ... prayers go out to everyone's who affected by the tornado. It's just really sad. It's just hard to see that happen. You never think it can happen at home, and then to see something like that ... in a city and a state that I love dearly ... it's really hard to look at."
Though Moore is an estimated 25-30 minute drive from where Bradford grew up, he knows the area well.
"We played Westmoore every year when in I was in high school," he said. "They were in our district. It's a place that, going from Oklahoma City to Norman (Bradford attended the University of Oklahoma), I've probably driven through a thousand times in my life. It's literally right south of downtown Oklahoma City. It's really close to home.
"Watching it yesterday ... just hearing the TV people trying to call out locations where they thought the tornado was going to hit so they could try to get people out ... I mean, the list goes on. You hear about the Warren Theater, which is one of the nicer theaters in Oklahoma City, and places like that ... places where I have been before ... yeah, I knew about everywhere that tornado was."
One reason is that it wasn't the first time tragedy visited Moore. Bradford grew up in Oklahoma City, so he was there in 1999 when Moore was hammered by a tornado that packed winds of 300 mph. Again, his neighborhood was unaffected, but that doesn't mean it didn't leave him without an indelible memory ... because it did.
"People still talk about the May 3 tornado in '99," he said. "It's something that's constantly brought up. Whenever another storm comes through, it's always compared to that storm. So it's something that is definitely ingrained in that city and in that community. That's why it's just so hard to watch happen all over again.
"I remember driving through Moore after that tornado came through (in 1999), and it was maybe a year or two before things were back to normal back there. You could drive through it months after it happened and literally see the track that the tornado left -- and that's something that our city and that community thought they were never going to have to go through again.
"I'm sure there are people living in Moore who survived the '99 tornado that thought they would never have to go through another tornado like that, and, then, what is it -- 14 years later? -- almost the same track and another tornado of monster proportions rips through that community. It's hard to see that.
"You hope no one ever has to go through a natural disaster like that, and to have people go through it two times in a fairly short amount of time ... I mean, your thoughts and prayers just go out to those people."
Bradford isn't sure what he can do to help, but he knows he wants to try. In fact, he said he plans on returning to Oklahoma City after the completion of OTAs and doing something, anything, to aid a community in desperate need of relief.
"When I get back there," he said, "if there's anything I can do to help I'll be more than willing."
In the meantime, he must carry on at practice as he always does, making the passes, the reads and the handoffs that he's expected to make as the starting quarterback of a promising football team. But for one day, at least, his mind wasn't completely on football -- nor should it have been. He not only knows what Moore, Okla., experienced Monday; he watched it happen.
"It was definitely difficult (at practice) today in the sense that I was constantly checking my phone," he said, "and I found out two of our strength coaches at the University of Oklahoma lost their homes yesterday to the tornado. So you're constantly checking your phone and making sure they're not finding any more bodies and making sure everyone's been accounted for. So, yeah, my mind's definitely been there most of the day today."
What an unbelievable bummer for the folks of Westmore .. I've been in hurricanes, but never a tornado. Just the thought of one scares the hell out of me!
Re: Oklahoma native Sam Bradford witnesses another natural disaster
i've been lucky
in hawaii visiting a friend of my mom's...hurricane daniel was supposed to hit and it just passed over
when i was little and lived in Missouri for like six months before we moved back to the house we currently live in...what made us move back was a tornado warning, nothing happened but it scared my mom to death at the thought of me going through that, I was aware of what's going on, but then it just didn't happen so i was alright with that lol