Oregon, our Alma Mater
We will guard thee on and on
Let us gather round and cheer her
Chant her glory Oregon
Roar the praises of her warriors
Sing the story Oregon
On to victory urge the heroes
Of our mighty Oregon!
Go Ducks Go!
Fight Ducks Fight!
Win Ducks Win!
I am not normally superstitious, with one big exception: Duck football. For whatever reason, I have several superstitious behaviors related to going to football games or just watching them on TV.
Firstly: I have to introduce new game day clothing items (like jerseys, football shirts or Duck jewelry) during early season games, the ones against teams like the Santa Barbara State Quilting Academy. That way the clothing or jewelry article gets good luck on it before it is worn in a real game. I do not have to stop wearing the article if it is involved in a loss, unless it is something branded with a particular bowl game. My 2011 BCS championship hat and 2010 Rose Bowl hoody can only be worn in the off season. The crazy thing is that for home games I feel compelled to wear the officially designated color even though I am completely cognizant of the fact that getting us all to wear a specific color of shirt is purely for increasing merchandise sales.
Secondly: Fireball must be consumed just prior to going into the game if it is a home game. The twist on that? It must be consumed by everyone at the tailgater who is of legal drinking age. Even if they don’t like Fireball, or are of a religion prohibits it, they must lift the bottle to their lips. For standard away games, It is optional, but preferred. For bowl games or championship games it is again mandatory for all in attendance at the viewing.
If we don’t drink Fireball before an away game starts, and the Ducks get behind? It will be fetched from the freezer, and everyone in the room will have to drink some. If we are at a bar, shots will be ordered.
All things considered, it is now clear that I should have had at least one more shot of Fireball last night.
Thirdly: all of my lucky bracelets must be worn on game day. This has become a burden because there are a lot of them. I may need to decrease the number at one of the early season games in August.
Fourthly: I must begin each game day, either home or away, by tweeting and updating my Facebook status with the following phrase before I even get out of bed.
After which, I must like any status update involving any Go Duck-itude and also respond with Go Ducks. And if anyone else responds with Go Ducks, I must like that response. If I am at Autzen, the responsibility ends once I lose my Internet connection. If I am watching an away game, I am on the hook through the entire game.
Then, there is the necklace.
Every year before the first Duck football game of the season, I put on my lucky Duck necklace. I used to only put it on for home games, but at some point last year I forgot to take it off between games. We won. Then I couldn’t take it off until the end of the season.
This year, I was lucky enough to be able to wear it for the most possible games it could ever be worn for. Fifteen of them. It has been on my neck all the way from August 30, 2014 until January 12, 2015.
It will be nice to get my neck back again.
It must be said that I am fully conscious on an intellectual level that none of the above superstitious acts have a damn thing to do with the outcome of the games. The outcome is entirely to do with the staggering amount of hard work put in by the coaching staff, support staff and above all the young men who make up the Duck football team.
That time I forgot two of my lucky bracelets in Portland and had to go to a game without them? I was uncomfortable.
When my parents gave me a Mariota jersey for my birthday on the day of a Stanford game a couple of years ago, I opted not to wear it because it didn’t have any luck on it yet. We lost the game any way, but I didn’t feel like it was my fault. I forgot to wear it to an early season game last season, so I didn’t get to wear it until this year.
But superstitions are a way for a spectator to participate in the game. A way to be a part of the team tribe. For me, it goes along with wearing the team colors, and yelling as loud as possible when the Ducks are on D at Autzen. High fiving all the people around you. Thanking the nice people who bought a round of drinks because you shared your table and they won at Keno. Clapping until your hands hurt. Jumping up and down. Throwing the O sign.
So even though I know it’s silly, I will keep right on doing all these things. Even though a loss does suck, I will remember that in spite of how much I enjoy it, it is only a game. The thing that really counts for me, even more than the amazing athletic feats, is the time I spend cheering for the team with my family and my friends.
The other thing I will keep doing is supporting my team through both the wins and the losses. Even tough losses like the National Championship. They’re still my Ducks, even after a loss.
I’ll take off my yellow shirt, and I’ll put away the bracelets and necklace until September.
Next season seems awfully far away.