When looking for colleges to apply to, students might consider their future aspirations, field of study interests, or location of campus. At the University of Oregon, there is one common trend seen among all who apply and ultimately attend: SPORTS!
In a world where athletes are praised like gods, the world of sports has heavily influenced the decision-making of thousands of students. Right now, the sports program at Oregon is arguably the best it has ever been. The football team just competed for a national championship, our men’s basketball team is defying all of the odds, our women’s volleyball team took it far in the tourney, we have the No.2 ranked softball team in all of the land, and we are Track Town USA. But what is it like to be a student right now?
For anyone who has ever been to Autzen Stadium, it’s fair to say that it is the greatest sporting venue in the entire world. One might think that comment is quite rash, but there are not too many sporting venues that get so loud that make it difficult for you to hear yourself think. Don’t believe me? Take a look at this video taken from a random fan in the stands at Autzen (and if this were taken in the student section, it would be WAAAYYYYY louder).
Attending a Ducks sporting event is not a small decision. Going to a game is thought out well in advance. Attending a game as a student is like watching everything you know and love — your family is out competing to survive. ‘Win the Day’ is not just a term that Chip Kelly brought to life for his athletes, it’s a motto that sparks emotion in every Duck on campus. Our never-lose mindset resonates in Autzen Stadium, it resonates on the path from campus to Autzen, and more importantly, it is how we live our lives.
And if you aren’t a football fan, there are many other top-level Ducks teams for you to choose from. Whether you would like to go see the men’s basketball team defy the odds at Matthew Knight Arena (one of the nicest college basketball venues in the world) or visit historic Hayward Field to watch our Ducks speed by and soar over the competition, there is something for everyone. The city of Eugene lives and dies by the way of Ducks sports, and as a student, it’s something that we are proud of.
One might know Ducks fans to be obnoxious and overzealous about their teams, and that may be true. I mean, we do wear ridiculous color combinations to games and are not afraid to yell things at opposing fans (Huck the Fuskies), but that is all a part of the persona that is Oregon Ducks sports. We, no matter what, support our teams, and we will never let anyone change that.
The one thing that separates a student’s experience here on campus from another school is the Ducks sports community. Talking about said community is so difficult, as no set of words will do it justice. Feeling like you have 20,000 other students you can turn to is a feeling unlike any other. When you leave Autzen after a loss to Arizona, the emotions are hard to overcome. When you watch your team beat Arizona for the Pac-12 championship, or realize the basketball team proved you wrong by making it to the tournament, there is no greater sense of pride. And it’s all because YOU are a Duck.
What to take away
Basically, there is nothing like being a student at the University of Oregon. It might be ridiculous to focus so heavily on sports, but it is something we enjoy and love. While Interim President Scott Coltrane and staff focus heavily on academia here at Oregon, the sports program continues to cement itself as a powerhouse. I couldn’t imagine attending a school without a major sports program. In the fall, I am married to the football team. In the winter, I am married to the basketball team. In the spring, I am married to the track & field team, the baseball team, and the softball team.
While the University has its issues, athletics tends to be a bright spot. My ultimate goal in writing this piece was to convey the feeling of being a Duck, and having such a love for sports. It’s easy to report a piece of news, or talk about Marcus Mariota torching an opposing defense — it’s not easy to convey the emotions of being a Duck. With that, I hope you understand a little more about what it is like to be a Duck. And if you are a Duck, I’m almost positive you share the same emotions I do. Thankfully, I have another few years on campus before I have to leave, but before I do, I will make sure to enjoy what I have now. There has never been a better time to be a Duck, and just thinking about the future gives me goosebumps.
Top Photo by Kevin Cline