I (Still) Love My Ducks
I am not usually a huge football fan. It’s not that I don’t like the sport itself. In fact, I rather enjoy it. It’s just that the games are entirely too long. It drives me crazy that a football game can start, then half an hour later a basketball game can start, and by the time all of the NBA is tucked into their cozy California Kings, having relations with women other than their wives, the football game is still going.
To be fair, I don’t like long movies either. Or long underwear. Very itchy.
The exception I make is for my University of Oregon Ducks. My home team pride runs deep for the Ducks. I remember leaving school early one day in 6th grade to watch them in the Rose Bowl all those years back. I have friends who have graduated from the University of Oregon. Ducks ornaments hang from our Christmas tree.
The Ducks playing in the BCS game yesterday was kind of a big deal. All of Oregon knew it.
In fact, one of the things I love about sports is how it brings together a community. It makes my heart happy to see a Eugene hippie high-five a guy driving a monster truck littered in NRA stickers. School board meetings scheduled for yesterday were postponed. So were city meetings. At the bank, at Braedon’s school, and everywhere in between, people were decked out in green and yellow. Smiles and nods of comradere were exchanged between complete strangers. For one day, at least, Oregon became united.
It also makes me happy that The Ducks put Oregon on the map for something positive. I love it here. From the people to the climate, Oregon is my home. That’s why it drives me crazy that we are so misunderstood. On TV shows like Axe Men and that new gold mining show, Oregon is perceived as a bunch of crazy rednecks. On spoofs like this one Oregon is turned into a hipster laughing stock. Tonya Harding is from Oregon, which speaks for itself. While all of these components make up a part of Oregon, it is impossible to love this place for the bigger picture unless it has been explored first-hand.
On game day yesterday, which Jordon took off sighting a “religious holiday,” the excitement in our house was brewing. Braedon and Eli kept asking how much longer ’til kickoff. Jordon wouldn’t stop pacing.
By the time my parents arrived, pizza and beer in-hand, we were ready. The kids cheered and boo’d at all the right times and my dad and Jordon exchanged high-fives and worried glances. At half time, we put the boys to bed. Then The Ducks lost.
After everyone had gone home and Jordon and I finally drifted off into a disappointed slumber, Braedon woke up crying and came into our room. When I asked him what was wrong, groggy, agitated, I laughed in spite of myself at his response. He was upset that he didn’t know who won the game. When I told him, he really lost it.
Tears were streaming down his face and snot was running into his mouth. His sobs resembled those of a panic attack and although he tried to keep up on the wiping of his eyes and nose (with the back of his sleeve of course,) the best he could do was smear it into one slick layer all over his face. He was a walking saltine.
I got him to calm down enough to give him a little pep-talk.
“Look,” I told him. “It’s okay to be upset. Daddy was upset too. He even said a few bad words, like stupid butthead. Even Grandpa was mad. As soon as the Ducks lost he made Grandma take him home so he could pout. But you have to remember that The Ducks won every game up to this game. They made it to the BCS in your life-time! That is a big deal. And #2 isn’t anything to be ashamed of. And we didn’t get blown out, so that’s good… And our cheerleaders are way hotter…”
Eventually he calmed down, satisfied with my response, and returned to bed. I figured Jordon had been asleep during this little exchange, as he has (allegedly) slept through every nightmare, night feeding, and night puking that has ever taken place in the last 5 years, but this time I was wrong.
“Pretty sure I said f***ing bullsh**,” he said before rolling over and passing back out.
Oh yeah. That was it.