OSU Plane Crash: Has it really been 15 years?
Every once in a while on my Facebook timeline, I get a reminder of how long it's been since the Oklahoma State plane crash.
It comes in the form of a picture of Andie Hancock.
Hancock's dad, you'll remember, was Will. He was one of the 10 men killed when a plane carrying members of the Cowboy basketball family crashed in a Colorado field. He was the team's publicist at the time.
Andie was a baby then. Not yet walking. Not yet even pulling up to stand.
But now she is a radiant and regal (and tall!) 15-year-old.
I know that because her granddad, Bill Hancock, regularly posts pictures that include Andie. You know Bill as the director of the College Football Playoff, though many in Oklahoma know him as a proud native of Hobart and arguably the nicest guy in the world.
(He was nice enough to accept my friend request on Facebook, so you know he's a peach!)
Bill is great about sharing all sorts of pictures from his travels and adventures, but I have to admit, when the images include Andie, I find myself stopping and studying her face. She has these eyes that sort of dance and gleam, even in a still photo. This broad smile. Cheeks that always seem a bit rosy. Long brown hair framing it all.
I see her mom, Karen, in her face, but I think the reason that I stop and look at Andie's face is because I see her dad there.
Will was someone who I was fortunate enough to know. Sure, he was every reporters' conduit to the basketball team, but really, he became a friend. He would give his dad a run for his money in the nicest-guy-in-the-world contest.
And his eyes, like Andie's, had that dancing quality to them.
It's hard to believe he and the rest of those men on that plane have been gone 15 years.
Even as I've seen Andie grow through those Facebook pictures, I still have a hard time believing she's 15 and the plane crash happened 15 years ago. I haven't forgotten. Neither have so many others. We know those men are still with us. We feel it. We sense it. We see it.
I see it in that 15-year-old with the eyes that dance.
To read more about Karen and Andie Hancock, click here to read a column written seven months after the crash or click here to read a column written five years later when Karen, then the head women's soccer coach at OSU, led the Cowgirls to what was then their greatest season.