When We Were Ducks

We were born two blocks off the University of Oregon campus, around the corner from what would later be filmed as the Animal House. We don’t recall whether we were there for Autzen Stadium’s opening day in 1967, but we would haunt the endzone “Knothole Gang” with the other kids soon enough.

(Note: Autzen Stadium is cement, and has no knotholes.)

We watched Fouts. We watched Norv. We watched Bobby Moore, who would grow up to be Ahmad Rashad and marry Bill Cosby’s wife.

Our high school played its football games there Friday nights. Then, and for a couple years in college, we played trumpet in the marching band. We were intensely jealous of the Stanford band, which got to run around and have fun while we were stuck doing the same goddamn circular formation halftime after halftime after halftime. The fifth time it was announced, the fans started booing. We agreed with them.

But none of it mattered. The Ducks sucked. They were featured in the satirical “Bottom Ten” column so often, the local newspaper canceled it. That was a sad day. We enjoyed being losers. Hey, it’s only football. No point taking it seriously.

We loved that about Eugene.

Unfortunately, people wealthier than us had other ideas.

The money started pouring in during the Eighties. By late in the decade, the Ducks started qualifying for third-rate bowls. Now, instead of sucking, they were beginning to suck all the air out of the room. Eugene only weighs about 130,000 people, dripping wet. A semi-successful football team is going to draw more than its share of attention. It’s going to matter. Eugene isn’t big enough for that.

The bigger they got, the less we liked the town. Part of it was just the natural evolution of things — Eugene was always changing — but the Ducks symbolized everything that was frustrating us about the place. We grew up a Charlie Brown in a Charlie Brown town, happy underdogs. But everybody was turning into Lucy.

We left just in time, twelve years ago, before bitterness could set in. And now, a quarter-century after the local leaders got serious about spending serious money on Sport, the Ducks are playing in the national championship.

And, well, we really don’t care. Because, growing up, we didn’t need a successful football team to feel pride in Eugene.

All we really needed to know was that it wasn’t Springfield.

If that BCS reference sounds odd, it’s because we wrote all the above last January, in anticipation of the Big Game. We eventually only posted the first part, leaving the rest to gather dust in our StinquePad all year.

Until yesterday:

In a National Bureau of Economic Research paper this month, economists Jason Lindo, Issac Swenson and Glen Waddell tracked how much female students at the University of Oregon were outperforming male students on grade point averages. They then mapped that against the number of wins the school’s football team had that season. And they found that, when the Oregon Ducks did better, the male students did worse.

And why might this be?

Male students said they tended to drink more and study less after a football victory.

Speaking from very happy experience, we have a very hard time buying that explanation: College football games are played Saturday afternoon, and win or lose, you’re partying Saturday night anyway.

But: If your team sucks, Saturday afternoon is all the attention you’re paying it. You’re not preoccupied with the Monday rankings, the Friday pep rallies, the Rose Bowl travel plans…

In any event, we’re a thousand miles south, and it’s no longer our battle to fight. We’re just happy to finally get that fucking football post off our StinquePad.

Study: College football team wins, male students’ grades drop [WaPo]

As a young Manchu, my dad would tell me about these awesome skules in US America. Hahvahd, Yule, Sagan’s place, MIT-tens, home of the Big Bang Theory show, the Tree, etc. He told me about all the wonderful brainiacs that went there and the wonderful sciencey things they did.

Of course come New Years, I would watch some US America cawlage footbawl with Dad. What the fuck? Iowa? Ohio? Michigan? Florida? ‘Bama? What the fuck is Miami? Etc. As a naive Manchu I wondered why I never saw any of the schools my dad talked about versus all these sports skules I saw on TV.

Over the years I’ve come to understand why. This study doesn’t hurt.

FYI, my alma mater won the Canada City national championship last year. First time since I was there. Which happened to be my worst academic year ever.

I understood almost nothing about this post.

But the playing-trumpet-in-a-marching-band aspect went by rather too fast. One must ask oneself, Are there any pictures?

@ManchuCandidate: For graduate school, I was choosing between UT, Wisconsin and The Ohio State – all futbol schools. I chose the ‘horns (weather, tuition and rawk en rollllll were the deciding factors, along with the closer proximity to Latin America), and was there for perhaps their longest string of sucky seasons. Never even saw a game, despite living at one point literally blocks from the stadium.

I did, however, sit in the same row of a movie theater with Joe Ely and his family once, so there’s that.

If you looked at my academics… well, I’m sure my parents would have been more than happy if the Golden Gaels (the actual name, it’s Scottish) football team sucked and the Blue Jays for the matter.

Not much interest in University Footbawl since I left.

I used to travel quite a bit to both the Willamette Valley area and to San Diego for work. I always wore t-shirts and would buy different ones wherever I went. I really liked the Ducks t-shirt circa 1993 so I purchased one for both myself and my 10 year old daughter. I wore it once when I was rolleerblading around Mission Bay/ Pacific Beach area. It seemed that half the 20 somethings were falling down laughing at me. Because I don’t pay attention to collage sports, I didn’t have a clue as to what was so funny. Thanks for the enlightenment.

BTW – everyone admired the PB Brewhouse and McMennamin’s t-shirts.

Hey Nojo, my panel suggestion got accepted for the Eugene hippie envirofest thing this Spring. We’ll need to talk brats and beer.

You’re talking about college ball when all three New York NFL teams lost last Sunday? The Jets shit the bed, so what does Rex do? Talks shit about the Giants, our next opponent.

@ManchuCandidate: The Golden Gaels? Wasn’t Bea Arthur in that?

@Dodgerblue: Dux law professors used to put together a pick up band to play a multi-microbrew keg party and dance during the conference. I would get to sit in with them on stuff like “Sweet Jane.” Dudes would be walking around with two pitchers, drinking out of one and pouring refills out of another. My old firm makes the run from NM to our World Headquarters in Eugene for some drankin’ and hangin’. I’ll hook you up with some names. I did three panels there when I was a public interest enviro law guy. Lots of parties, lots of people doing good work all over the fucking planet and in some years PIELC is on at the same time as the NC Double As, which only fuels the balls to the wall atmosphere.

PIELC is an acronym for “Holy fucking hell – how much goddam beer did I drink this week?”

@blogenfreude: marty schottenhiemer is 6th on the list for dolphins head coach. the only one of the top 5 not likely to turn the dolphins down is brian bellick. so, there is a good chance marty goes to miami and brings son brian (jets offensvie coordinator) with him.

upon further research, it turns out current dolphins defensive coordinator mike nolan graduated from oregon. justin wilcox is the defensive corrdinator for the tennessee vols ( he better get his resume together. we suck and have no chance for improvement). his father dave wilcox played at oregon and became a hall of famer with the niners.

@redmanlaw: Sounds good to me. And I’ve begun pitching our panel to the Yosemite mavens.

Sweet Jane. D, A, G, Bm, A, D. Repeat ad infinitum. The “Sweet Jane” part is D…..G…. Change keys to taste.

@Dodgerblue: Lou says that everyone forgets about the “secret chord change”, as revealed on this show.

@redmanlaw: Would that be the Garden Weasels? The bandleader died last summer, everyone there is bummed, so be careful about bringing it up…

@nojo: Yes, and I’m sorry to hear about Prof. Aoki. He was a good bass player, a funny guy and did a comic book on The Law.

I was playing a gig one time with my college newspaper band Los Daily Lobos looking out at the dancers when I realized I could play the drums for people’s heads or their hips. I took the low road, the groove got dirty and everyone had a great time. We made the fatal error of playing past last call and there were no beer stores open when we packed it up and headed home.

@redmanlaw: Never met him — I’m still a thousand miles south, after all — but I’ve been dealing with his work for years, in my capacity as Freelance Hack to the Stars. (This includes designing all the signs and such for his memorial last fall.) Seemed like a Very Happy Fella, at least from photos.

@redmanlaw: Playing music while people dance — that’s the ultimate for me.

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