By Stan Silliman
Long Rests for the Sports Fan
During the 2005 football season, Oklahoma University was number one… in casket sales.
“I can rest in peace,” say Ernie Sempleton, “knowing $ 400 of my casket purchase (about $ 5000) supports my favorite school. There’s even a button to push whenever I want to play Boomer Sooner.”
Collegiate Memorials, from Forsyth, Georgia, said 50 Sooner fans were buried last year in OU logo, red and white caskets. Of the 46 schools for which Collegiate Memorial produced caskets, OU bought the most, followed closely by Alabama, Kentucky and Auburn.
“We’re number one in sales because we got our own burial song. ‘I’m Sooner born and Sooner bred and when I die, I’ll be Sooner dead. Go Oklahoma.’” sings Ernie, “Wouldn’t you rather have that song playing than Alabama’s ‘Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer’ and a big ol’ elephant staring you in the face?”
Collegiate Memorials sold it’s first “school logo” casket to the University of Nebraska in May of 2001. That year, Nebraska, using a big red “N” and the word “Huskers” in script embroidered on the top fabric led the country with 19 caskets. “We intended holding onto number one,” says Richard Colachek of Omaha’s Hillcrest Funeral Home, “but our fans quit dying. I don’t think they realized there’s a lot of state pride at stake but for whatever reason they refused to kick the bucket. This wouldn’t happen if Tom Osborne was still coaching.”
No it wouldn’t. If Dr. Tom were still in charge, Nebraska fans would be more loyal. We’re sure of it. But if they want to catch up, Nebraska needs to improve their heat stroke fatality statistics … or the Southern states are just going to keep whipping them.
You know we’re kidding here, folks, right?
But we’re not kidding when we’ve always said sports fans are goofy and that’s why we love writing about them. Lovers of college sports are not the only fans dying to be buried in custom sports related caskets. F & F Metal Products of North Carolina says the most popular of their “Art Casket” line is a checkered-flag-covered coffin called “The Race is Over.” Golfers can choose “Fairway to Heaven.” Tennis players can choose “Love, Set, Match.” There’s even a hook for an extra can of tennis balls. All the caskets are beautifully painted.
If I were a fisherman I might want their “Gone Fishing” casket. It has a wide-mouth bass painted on the side and inside on the white crepe interior is a sailfish facing the departed. F & F’s website touts “The peace of being on the water and the thrill of the catch are captured in this Art Casket.”
So you see, it’s not just football and basketball fans who want their final resting place memorialized. And it’s not just men. Almost as many women as men are ordering sports related caskets… with the provision the remote goes in their casket.
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