You’ve Come a Long Way, Duckie

Oregon vs Stanford

They are some of the finest athletes in collegiate sports: Alaina Bergsma, AVCA National Player of the Year; Jillian Alleyne, third all-time in collegiate basketball double-doubles; Liz Brenner, multisport All-American and finalist for the Sports Illustrated College Athlete of the Year; Laura Roesler, winner of the Bowerman Award; and Courtney Ceo who led the nation in hitting last year. Two things unite these players: First, they’re all Ducks and second, they’re all women.

In 1970 when I was a student at Oregon, my friend Cindy Voelker started at the point for the women’s basketball team. Back then, “girl’s basketball” was little more than a club sport. They played their games in a musty gym in the basement of Gerlinger Hall, six players to a side, no fanfare nor any fans for that matter. Things were still stagnant in 1980 when Duck runner LeAnn Warren made the Olympic team. Women were barred from competing in any Olympic race longer than1500 meters. What a difference 45 years have made; now Oregon women’s teams routinely compete for national championships.

As far as women’s sports have come at Oregon, there’s more to be done. A new program, Women in Flight, has been created to promote Oregon women’s sports. Duck alum and softball player, Janelle Bergstrom Cook has returned to the University of Oregon to lead the initiative.

“I’m really excited that, for people with interest in women’s sports, there are now more resources to connect interested parties to our programs,” Bergstrom Cook said. “We have a lot of really amazing young women and really amazing constituents – donors, former letter winners, professionals in the community – who will have more chances to collaborate, network and, ultimately, strengthen Oregon.”

For as little as a $50 donation to Women in Flight, you can help promote women’s sports and Oregon and gain priority seating for reserved seats in the new Jane Sanders softball field. Sport just isn’t about the men. The women’s program at Oregon is a model for the nation, but there’s more to do and you can help; contribute now.

Top Photo by Gary Breedlove

Print Friendly

 Volunteer Position Openings:

--Media Management/Supervisor:  We are looking for someone beyond college age who can help manage students and mentor in a number of different departments. Expertise is not required as organizational skills and interest in guiding others.   --Assistant Football Analyst: Love college football and enjoy watching it for hours? We need associates to view games and find the techniques/teaching points we identify for them in advance.  You will be recognized in publications, and could have the opportunity to move to full Analyst.   --College Football Analyst: We are looking for Coaches, or retired coaches to help create analysis videos (we do the video part) that will be viewed by thousands, and will help young football players as well as fans understand the game much better. The national recognition will help your resume' as well as make an impact upon the game we all dearly love.   --Video Specialist: We are looking for help in the Eugene/Springfield area to assist with the shooting and editing of analysis videos.   All Positions: Send a resume' with full contact information and any writing samples you have to  Again, these are volunteer positions donating five hours a week each.

Michael Bigham

Michael Bigham

Raised in the Central Oregon mill town of Prineville beneath deep blue skies and rim rock, I attended the University of Oregon and during my collegiate summers, I worked in a lumber mill and also fought range fires on the Oregon High Desert for the Bureau of Land Management. After graduating from college at the University of Oregon, I swung from being budding hippy to cop work. I’m still wondering about how that came about. I was a police officer with the Port of Portland and after leaving police work, I obtained an MFA degree in Creative Writing from Vermont College. I live in Portland, Oregon with my wife, my daughter and a spunky bichon frise named Pumpkin. I’ve had short stories publishing in two Main Street Press anthologies. Harkness is my first novel.