By DON VOWELL
The Oregon Ducks are starting to look like a pretty good team. I don’t know very much about football. Not before this season, not now, and not next year. But it doesn’t take a genius to see that this team is having a magical season.
Our local cable TV provider has a poverty package for cheapskate geezers like me. We get the big three traditional networks, four if you count Fox, also PBS, Discovery, Chemeketa, some shopping channels, and a CNN channel that exists mainly to highlight poor attendance at routine Congressional sessions.
In every year before now I have been content to just wait for the games that make it onto broadcast TV. In most years before now I have also been required to work on Saturdays. Now I find myself with Saturdays free and a newly found passion for watching football, and a need to beg my acquaintances for permission to watch their TV’s.
Not just any football. These Oregon Ducks have upped the excitement level. On Saturday night my brother-in-law very kindly pre-empted my sniveling by offering a space in front of his TV. Late in the first half he was obligated to step out for a few minutes on an errand. In that time there was an Oregon fumble that Washington State University picked up and returned for a score. Then Oregon came right back and scored the answering touchdown. In my brother-in-law’s very short absence there was a bunch of edge-of-your-seat action.
That’s what has me wanting to watch each minute of each game. There is an electric tension, a wonderful air of expectancy that Oregon will break a huge play any time the ball is snapped. You just unreasonably expect it. And the ball is snapped so quickly that you can’t turn away. The WSU quarterback in this game set records for passes attempted, passes completed, and yardage. So what. It looked like calisthenics. Marcus Mariota’s passes were surgically aimed for unmercifully quick scoring drives, not adding to statistics.
We are still not unhappy with our austere cable package. We predictably watch PBS on some evenings and sometimes suppertime news to help wash down the food. Before we tire of the depressing news, we tire of the depressing designer drug ads. What ailment could be so vexing that you would risk the long list of side-effects, up to and including death, just so you can be first with the new drug?
I’m the only one in the family with any interest in watching college football. The thing about it is its truth. Every kid on either team was likely one of the best football players ever to come out of his high school. What happens on the field is unforeseen, not scripted. You get to watch a game where anything can happen, and does. Except for obvious mismatches, any team can be beat on a given day.
That’s what makes the Oregon dominance so amazing. They seem better than last year’s team and I don’t see how they could be better next year. I worry that my revived interest in them might be the worst kind of voodoo, might hex them. When I watched the Auburn Tigers beat them in 2011 I had the feeling they would have won if I hadn’t watched. They were not outplayed.
So, to everyone I know with a television—you should disable your phone or make sure you are out of snack food on the last day before a game. Go Ducks.
(Don Vowell lives in Keizer. He gets on his soapbox regularly in the Keizertimes.)