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north bend bulldogs

Image via Collin Andrew/The Register-Guard

A win for North Bend Bulldogs reaches across decades.

A hundred years from now North Bend Bulldogs will remember the first football championship.

Two guys more than forty years out of uniform explain:

“This is a big deal?”

“A huge deal. Yes. That big.”

“How long since the last football championship?”

“This is the first in over a hundred years playing.”

“That sounds important.”

“Let me ask you this: what do you remember about playing for the North Bend Bulldogs?”

“I remember the coaches. I remember Howard Johnson.”

“How about a play, or a person. What is your Big Play memory?”

“Give me a minute.”

“Come on, you started every game for three years.”

“So did you. What’s your Big Play memory?”

“You first, since I asked.”

“We lost a lot of games.”

“I know, I was there.”

“Well, that’s what I remember.”

“That’s awful.”

“Every time. And not a fun memory.”

“What about a winning touchdown? A game saving tackle? Anything?”

“When you lose a lot of game, the results speak for themselves.”

“Okay. Let’s try this: North Bend Bulldogs turned the corner in 1972 when Howard Johnson showed up. We were juniors and used to losing, accused of focusing on the dance after the game instead of the game.”

“I remember that. We had good dances.”

“Our senior year was the first breakout.”

“That’s what I mean, our best season was a losing record.”

“Not anymore. The 2016 team with twenty seniors change everything.”

“Really? How’s that work?”

“Now we’re all champions. If Oregon beat Auburn in 2010, Eugene would have been Title Town USA just like Green Bay.”

“I was feeling that. Who was the guy with the green sharpie drawing circles on people?”

“Doesn’t matter. Now North Bend is in the Title Zone. You can never go back home without that reminder.”

“Who was the guy making Oregon masks out of tree bark and duck bones? VooDoo Duck guy?”

“It was some mistaken schlub trying to help.”

“At least you didn’t make a North Bend mask out of dog bones.”

“Not the same thing, but we’re fading off topic here. A win for a bunch of high school guys going to the same school we played for is a win for us all.”

“Sort of reflected glory? Are we old enough to understand how important that stuff is?”

“Depends on how you identify. It’s either they won, or we won. I like the inclusive we.”

“It is our school.”

“And they’ll all be in the Hall of Fame.”

“I like the sound of that.”

“As long as there’s a town on the Oregon coast called North Bend, it’ll be North Bend Bulldogs of 2016 that comes to mind.”

“It’s coming to my mind right now.”

“And it’s not leaving. What is leaving are those losing team memories. We all got an upgrade.”

“Like software.”

“Don’t every call North Bend Bulldogs soft.”

“My bad.”

“It’s all good.”

About David Gillaspie


  1. Mark Mullins says:

    Great read Dave, second time around still chokes me up. Go Dogs, TGWB

    • David Gillaspie says:

      It felt like a movie scene talking about our Bulldog days and making it current.

      The guys on this team will do the same thing forty years out. That’s something to hear.

      I hope they get together sooner than that and leave their testament to achievement.

      A shared moment in time crossed generations, which might be the key to focus on. Chokes me up, too.

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