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OU alumnus chases Pokémon into stadium, gets trapped

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Pokémon Go

A man frees OU alumnus Steven Zoeller from the Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium after a game of Pokémon Go ran after hours on July 18, 2016. 

When the sun dives below the horizon, most people head back to the comfort of their homes or meet up with friends, sure of what the night has in store. 

Steven Zoeller is not most people.

It was roughly 11 p.m. on a Monday night when Steven Zoeller's story began, but the clock didn't bind Zoeller; he is a hunter, and all he surveys is his for the taking.

He began his moonlit search where so many Pokémon trainers have — at Heisman Park. There, he saw a blip on his "Pokémon Go" radar, emanating from within the hallowed walls of the Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Next came the rumors: people whispered of a prized quarry, one which was most especially precious to Zoeller.

"I'll do a lot of things for a Squirtle — a lot of things I'm not proud of," Zoeller said. "Someone said that they spotted it inside the stadium, specifically inside of the stadium bathroom."

The stranger's promise of a spotted Pokémon in a poorly lit bathroom was enough to convince Zoeller to venture forth.

"So I followed two folks into the stadium — into the bathroom — and it was pitch black, so we all had our flashlights out wandering around this bathroom ... and we are just waving our phones around trying to get this Squirtle — which never appears, by the way," Zoeller said.

Zoeller was disappointed, but like many great men before him, he remained resolute, absolutely determined to salvage the situation to the best of his ability.

"We decide while we're in the stadium to just walk around since we're inside," Zoeller said. "A lot of Pokémon spawn inside of the stadium, but very often it's locked while people are playing 'Pokémon Go,' so we decided to take advantage of the opportunity."

The trio conducted a thorough search of the premises, catching a Jigglypuff and a Staryu for their efforts, but they pushed their luck too hard for too long.

"After we felt we had explored all we could of the stadium, we went back to where we had entered, and we found the gates had been locked behind us," Zoeller said. "We were trapped."

They wandered for awhile, tried the elevators, pushed at the gates, and pressed against locked doors, but in the end it was a nameless hero who liberated them.

"We saw a car with its lights on just outside the gates, so we approached it, and it turned out to be a custodian who had not yet left," Zoeller said. "He was literally about to pull out ... then he saw us, turned off the car and got out, approached us, opened one of the gates, and we were freed."

Despite his temporary incarceration, Zoeller maintains a positive outlook on the experience.

"I'm pretty satisfied with a Staryu and a Jigglypuff, and I made friends with the two people who were trapped with me," Zoeller said. "It wasn't too psychologically scarring for me to say it wasn't worth it."

Editors note: Steven Zoeller worked for The Daily as a reporter in 2014. 

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