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Autzen via

Autzen via

An older man spoke in an unfamiliar accent, his hair shaped in the Albert Einstein frizz popular among his generation.

He was tall even with his height diminished by the forward curve of his upper back.

He looked comfortable talking down to people.

His words conveyed the message of true believers in the Old Testament. Just this side of zealot and dead solid perfect.

“Well yes, you know, I saw the game. I was in Dallas for the Ducks and Ohio State.

“It was a wonderful experience. Best in my life.

“I’d hoped to meet my son there. He and I have seen every game for years. And I mean every game.

“Since he was a little boy we’ve gone together. Now he’s all grown up and a lawyer in New York City.

“Still, the games are our thing, something that bonds us. Bonds us together.

“But at the last minute he couldn’t make. He’s got a big case headed for court and he’s got to be ready. It happens.

“We talked and he explained it all. Very sorry and everything.

“We agreed it wouldn’t jinx the Oregon Ducks. We’re just two people.

“But what do you know? He was inside the stadium when I found my seat. Right next to me.

“I might have cried just a little. I was so happy.

“He did the same thing I did to my parents when they lived in Africa. I’d just show up. We’d have a great surprise together.

“Now it’s my son in Cowboy Stadium. He got me. Got me good.

“You could say my trip to Texas was a winner. And the Ducks were a huge winner to bring my family together.

“I will never forget that moment. No matter the score at the end. This is a team of special powers and more people understand it now.

“They might not win every game, but they make us winners. We the fans.

“It is special. Do you understand?”

So often people who speak many languages check to see if they’re being understood. Like they forget which language they’re speaking.

This an spoke the language every Oregon Duck football fan understands.

Instead of a team struggling to fill their own stadium and searching for relevancy, the Ducks fly in the top circles of college football.

Teams that can’t play like them want to look like them. University of Maryland? Talking to you.

The Ducks changed college football and it’s more than Nike money and Phil Knight.

If big money was the key to collegiate success wouldn’t Oklahoma State be in the same stratosphere?

They’ve got T. Boone Pickens. They’ve got Boone Pickens stadium. It feels like they’d play in the state of Pickens if T. Boone had his choice.

That’s not Nike. Not Phil Knight. And not the University of Oregon.

And that’s not the OSU Cowboys knocking on the title door year after year.

Oregon builds relationship. They look like family the way they’ve promoted coaches up the coaching tree.

Chip Kelly plays the role of uncle waiting for his favorite players to move from the NCAA to the NFL.

If a sports fan with Einstein hair credits the Ducks for tightening the bonds of his family, can’t we all feel a little better?


About David Gillaspie
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