“If you don’t live in Oregon, you can’t understand what’s going on here.” Truer words have never been posted on a Facebook status update. That’s right. Here in the land of the lost, the heart of The Wild Wild West, where mountain men still ride into town on four legged vehicles rather than motorized ones, in the fashion of Wyatt Earp with guns a blazing and other parts blazin’ too, sides have been chosen, loyalties declared, and bets placed.
Well, I’m guessing about the bets, but let’s get real.
Both teams have a Rose Bowl berth riding on a win tonight. Everyone, except for maybe one person I know (and he truly is a mountain man living in The Wild and could care less), is watching with bated breath for the outcome to this game.
For me, today, the game provided a wonderful source of legitimized disruption. All week long, the anticipation was building. Today students got to wear the colors of their favorite team. For the first time in years, something like that was actually encouraged. Funny how people, especially kids can choose sides with absolutely no good reason except the fact that someone they adore in their family is a fan, or because it seems popular to be a fan of this team instead of that team. Needless to say, with all the anticipation (kids pick up on this stuff from the adults in their world) things got a little crazy. My youngest, Number 4, is an avowed Oregon Duck supporter. I graduated from OSU back in the day. We are truly a house divided here and I am outnumbered since my son, Number 3, is also an Oregon fan. No matter what the outcome of the annual Civil War Game, someone is in tears by the time it’s all over.
My house is a house divided.
If I had to call it, and I did, before the game…I’d call Oregon with a very narrow margin. Not even with the ten point spread predicted. I call it this way because so often over the last many years, OSU simply gets to this place and chokes when the pressure’s on. They can win. They just don’t. So, I picked Oregon.
In spite of that, I let out a loud “Whooop!” when Number 4 and I arrived home tonight, just 15 minutes into the game to find the Beavers ahead by 7. And, just that quickly Oregon made a touchdown, bringing the score to 30-27 Oregon State. It’s such a close game and even though I’ll be pleased as punch regardless of the outcome, I’m secretly (or maybe not so secretly hoping that this time, this time Oregon State will stay focused, stay strong, and not choke.
Number 4 has already collapsed on the couch ottoman, worn out from the excitement of the week. Oregon State is slowly and I think surely pulling further out into the lead. They are certainly desiring a payback for being robbed of the Rose Bowl berth last year by these very Ducks. Even as I type this, that quickly, Oregon just grabbed the lead again.
So, my dear friends, I leave you tonight, to go finish watching a football game that is as exciting as any good espionage flick. I don’t want to miss a moment more of this sports history in the making.
But I leave you with this toast! To games, to teams, to loyalties, to spirited rivalries, to “divided” houses but unified hearts and homes. To little girls, worn out with excitement and enthusiasm caught by those adults in her world that she loves who have very strong leanings in this game. To sitting in the living room, just me and Number 4, eating our grocery store rotisserie chicken and watching the game together, both rooting for opposite teams with the Christmas tree lights on and a fire in the fireplace. To thinking of Number 3 as he’s watching the game with his dad and hanging on every play. To wondering how Number 2’s opening night at her debut as a director went and to thinking about how Number 1’s birthday is tomorrow and I can’t believe that 19 years ago tomorrow, I met her for the first time. To love. To forever having our hearts walking around outside our bodies as our children. To parents and parenting. To hope and harmony and joy.
To the season, enjoy it, cherish it, celebrate it.
P.S. I am going to be a bit disappointed if the Beavers lose, but with two guys out due to injuries, a minute left in the game and Oregon in the lead, I’m not holding my breath. Even so, it was an amazing game, played incredibly by both teams.
P.S.S. Oregon’s going to the Rose Bowl.