Sports teams at the University of Oklahoma are known as the Sooners, one of strangest nicknames in collegiate athletics. The story of how their peculiar nickname originated highlights a key ingredient to success in life: taking initiative.
In 1889, the U.S. government agreed to open up public lands in Oklahoma to aspiring homesteaders. Anyone who agreed to cultivate a parcel of land for at least five years could gain title to 160 acres. Congress set a time and date—April 22, 1889 at noon—as the legal starting point at which settlers could enter Oklahoma Territory and lay claim to a plot of land. Fortune-seekers, entrepreneurs, and those looking for a fresh start flocked to Oklahoma in anticipation of the event. When the day arrived, at exactly noon, public officials signaled the opening of the lands by firing pistols into the area. People on wagons and horseback raced across the countryside in hope of securing free land for themselves.
The event, which came to be known as the Oklahoma Land Run, had few rules. One of them, however, was that no one was permitted to stake out their plot of ground prior to the official start date. Even so, lots of people—deputy marshals, land surveyors, railroad employees—took advantage of their positions to get a head start. By going sooner than they were supposed to, they ended up with the best pieces of land. Collectively, this group became known as the “Sooners”, and the word came to signify anyone with a go-getting, initiative-taking spirit.
As the Sooners demonstrate, it’s often not the fastest person that wins the race, but the person who started first.
--excerpt from Leadership Wired Blog on June 25, 2014 Click here to read entire article