I make my students sing. The University of Oregon has a great fight song. The tune is one I can’t get out of my head. One day while teaching George Orwell’s Animal Farm I was trying to figure out how to get my students to remember the lyrics to “Beasts of England,” the song the rebellious animals sing as they fight for their freedom. I needed a tune to which I could sing the song–oh yes, I’m that kind of teacher. I found that the lyrics to “Beasts of England” fit perfectly to the tune of “Mighty Oregon.” Every verse works. I instantly had a new extra credit assignment.
Over the last four years I’ve heard that song from numerous desperate students. When I first started teaching, the Beavers were the team to follow in my hometown. Now, the tune (get it?) is different. Many of my students know the melody of “Mighty Oregon” even before I offer extra credit. On any day I see double, if not triple, the number of Duck jerseys to the number of orange and black attire in the halls. I can only imagine that our in-state recruiting is set for the next few generations of high schoolers.
What has this story shown me about the Ducks? Well, I guess that there is now no aspect of my life that is safe from my obsession with all things green and yellow. I love the University of Oregon, and I hope that my love for the school, academic and athletic, passes from me to all those that I spend time with every day.
[Editor’s note: Due to family demands, Gabe will be on leave from FishDuck for an indefinite period of time. We will miss your insight, Gabe, wish you the best, and look forward to your return!]