I am not sure what kind of voodoo magic played out last weekend; all I know is that I’m exceedingly grateful for it. Our greatest fears were conquered as the mighty Ducks defeated a better than advertised 5-3 Stanford team. The Ducks put on a spectacular performance in a 45- 16 rout over the dreaded Cardinal. But Voodoo you ask? Precisely. I won’t go as far as to say that I am the reason behind the win, but I believe that the slaying of a certain Swedish goat figurine in our house was the impetus for the victory over Stanford. Allow me to explain.
I previously wrote about my father’s superstitions, and I would be lying if I didn’t tell you I thought he was out of his mind, but the events leading up to our last game have made me a believer.
It all started two years ago on Thursday, November 15th, 2012. I was living in an apartment complex I had grown to hate from almost day one. The walls were thin, the halls were noisy, everything looked the same, and there was really no personality to the establishment. All that changed when we got a new “roommate.” A goat. Before you think I’ve taken to name calling, I mean a goat. A delightful Swedish figurine that was given to us as a pre-Christmas gift by my roommate’s mom. While small in stature, the goat made a big splash in our apartment, lending a festive flair to our bachelor décor.
We carefully set him in a place of honor on top of our Ikea TV cabinet. He adorned the shrine where we
worship, I mean watch football. We figured the two Scandinavian objects could hang out together. A goat and a cabinet, best of friends.
But two days following the arrival of the goat, the 10-0 Oregon Ducks lost their 11th game of the season in overtime to a stout #14 ranked Stanford team. The Ducks fell out of championship contention after being ranked #2 in the nation, and with them fell the hopes of Oregon fans everywhere. It was a devastating game to say the least, but at the time I figured it could happen to any team.
A year later. I was studying abroad in Spain. My roommates had moved out of the despised complex into a house. I planned on living with them when I returned from studying abroad. The house was a huge improvement as a living situation and everything was in its respective place, including Mr. Goat. He was perched atop the old-school gas heater overlooking the living room like some kind of tyrannical overlord. While he wasn’t on the TV, he had a birds-eye view of everything.
During my time abroad I had gotten into the habit of watching Duck games on my laptop during the wee hours of the morning. It was a sacrifice I was willing to make to keep up with the team. The night of the Stanford game that year was awful. (Need I remind you). The Ducks had looked great going into it, coming off a huge win against #12 ranked UCLA. I was pumped. But for the second year in a row our BCS title hopes were crushed by the Stanford Cardinal. I began to suspect the goat. What else could cause such a turn of fate?
This season, things went a little bit differently. Actually, a lot differently, and I have a sneaking suspicion as to why. Just after leaving our house on 16th and Hilyard for the game this past Saturday, my roommate yelled to me with a fiery passion, “THE GOAT!” We turned to one another and knew exactly what had to be done. I ran back to the house with Olympic sprinter speed and grabbed the goat from atop the heater.
I looked that billy dead in the eyes and brought him out onto the curb. I disrobed him of the cute little gray Oregon shirt out of respect for what was about to take place. I let my animal instincts take hold and threw him to the ground with an emphatic slam. My roommate followed with a karate kick to the face I didn’t know he had in him. Still, the goat was relatively intact after various blows, so we resorted to more destructive techniques. The original plan was to burn the goat, a symbolic effigy to signify the burning of the Stanford Tree, but we decided that that was too risky given my history with fires. (You don’t want to know.) I picked up the goat and ripped it apart with my bare hands like a child unwrapping the biggest box under the tree on Christmas morning. The goat didn’t stand a chance. Neither did Stanford.
As we walked away from the scene I felt a sigh of relief. It was cathartic knowing that pesky straw animal would no longer haunt me or the Ducks. I wasn’t sure we would win, but I knew that it wouldn’t be my fault this time if we lost. The infamous Stanford goat got what he deserved, and sweet revenge felt amazing. You could say Stanford was the goat this year. About time.
Top photo by Google Images (with a little help)