Saturday, December 18, 2010

Birds Of A Feather

Okay, so I lied; however, I have a good excuse, and this is coming from someone who has heard a few from students in his day.

As a long time Duck fan -- and despite the claim that my most recent post would be the last of the year -- I couldn't pass up the opportunity to comment on the subject of the run by the University of Oregon football team to the BCS national championship game against Auburn University in Glendale, Arizona on Monday, January 10.

Receiving an invitation to witness history in the 2010 Civil War from Mat Northway, my former supervisor at Eugene Water & Electric Board, we ventured north to "the belly of the beast" -- Reser Stadium in Corvallis, home of the Oregon State University Beavers. Mat (a loyal Beaver fan), in a genuinely altruistic gesture, invited two other EWEB Duck fans (Tommy Williams and P. Steve Stuart) to the game as well.

Arriving at the the stadium (below) early to witness "senior day" festivities, the weather was as good as you could hope for a Civil War in December -- mostly sunny and in the low 50s. Mind you, most Civil Wars are conducted in a cold, blinding rainstorm with high winds.

The Beavs jumped out the a quick lead after taking advantage of a Duck turnover to make it 7-0. OSU fans were fired up -- particularly the Beaver gal with the shrill voice directly behind me -- and it looked like the Oregon State football team came ready to play despite a 38-0 drubbing by the Stanford Cardinal the week before.

But, as has been the case all season, the Ducks soon took control of the game, refusing to let a few turnovers ruffle their feathers. By halftime, the Ducks led 19-7 and by the fourth quarter, UO had a three touchdown lead over their in-state rival. Beaver fans (below) could see the writing on the wall; the Beaver booster behind me had already retreated to her tailgate party to drown her sorrows.

So, after years of futility and then gradual improvement, the undefeated University of Oregon "Fighting Ducks" will play in the national championship game. It's been a long and windy road from the Toilet Bowl (the 1983 Civil War, the last 0-0 tie in college football history) to the more recent trend of Civil Wars that actually mean something. For that matter, it's been a long ways from Shreveport, Louisiana (the 1989 Independence Bowl, the first postseason appearance for the Ducks in 26 years) to Glendale, Arizona.

Because tickets to the game are both hard to get and expensive (and because we are only entitled to two as season ticket holders), my "partner in crime" at Duck football games -- Randy Enders -- will be taking his Dad to the championship contest in Arizona. For me, I'll watch the game on television and content myself with thoughts of the memorable home games and the historic Civil War that I witnessed in this magical season. Go Ducks!

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