18 November 2006
I went to my first Oregon football game today. As a student, I get free tickets, and as this was the last home game of the season, I figured I really ought to head up to Autzen Stadium and experience the cultural phenomenon that is Ducks football. Don't think I'm lapsing into hyperbole when I use the phrase "cultural phenomenon:" the city of Eugene effectively shuts down each Saturday during the season. People who you would never think of as sports fans will move mountains to attend home games and scream at the top of their lungs for three hours. I've never been to a school that took football this seriously before, and I have to say it's pretty fun (I thought I knew what a big deal college football could be from growing up near Husky Stadium, but sorry UW: Oregon fans have you beat hands-down on enthusiasm and sportsmanship, though I do think you have the edge stadium-wise). I'm also glad to say that while football is a big deal here, people don't lose sight of the fact that it really is just a game and means almost nothing in the real world (unlike some of the fans you encounter in the Midwest, who are prone to suicide if their team doesn't perform to expectations). They're also civil - even friendly - to visiting fans, which in my opinion is the way things ought to be. Finally, how can you not love a team that has a duck as a mascot (and once had a player whose last name was Mallard)? Sadly, the game today ended in an embarrassing loss to a mediocre Arizona team, once more proving that it's true what they say about where nice guys finish.