Good morning, Duck fans! It’s football Saturday for the first time in way too long! You know, there really is nothing like the spectacle of big time college football. The speed, the precision, the full stadium, the cheerleaders. I love it all. This weekend marks Game 1 everywhere for teams on the march to the shiny, faceted football, awarded annually to the BCS Champion.
For all the action on the field, though, part of the fun of college football surrounds the traditions of the sport. All across the country, teams take part in rituals that are meaningful to alums and former players alike. Today we are going to look at some of these time-honored traditions . . . and then some that perhaps are not so well known.
Notre Dame: I don’t much care for Notre Dame, but I do get misty-eyed when I watch “Rudy.” The story of someone too small and too slow to play college ball, and too dumb to quit. Isn’t that what made this country great? Of course we love it when Rudy comes down those steps and climbs a Lego ladder so he too can slap the “Play Like a Champion Today” sign. What, there was no Lego ladder?
Clemson: It’s a mistake to say that players from the ACC are dumb as a rock. But the Clemson Tigers do touch one on their way into the stadium. Just before a 1967 game against Wake Forest, legendary Clemson coach Frank Howard told his players if they gave 110 percent, they could receive the privilege of rubbing his rock. It is my profound hope that this is, in fact, what he had in mind.
Stanford: Since they lightened the academic standards for football players to get into Stanford, the nickname of the school has changed from, “The Harvard of the West” to “The Humboldt State of the South Bay.” But not to worry, the student body at-large consists of people smarter than most of us. Down on the Farm, the fans have a pregame tradition unlike anywhere else. The students, on their way into the stadium, must pause for a brief snuggle on Albert Einstein.
Oregon State: The school for farmers and kids that couldn’t get into the U of O has a tradition of its own. In honor of the vast reach of OSU’s agricultural and animal husbandry influence, high-ranking officials from the Chancellor’s Office take part in “The Lamb Cuddle.” Here we see Oregon State Chancellor Melody Rose with “Lamby Pie.”
Washington: Washington is very proud of their storied football tradition. In fact, they celebrate their years of greatness before every game against Oregon. They choose one member of the Tyee Club and have them kiss the head of their youngest relative who was alive when the Dogs last beat the Ducks.
But do you know where the best pregame tradition in college football is found? It involves a Duck, a bike, and 58,000 of my closest friends. Enjoy the day! Go Ducks! Cuff the Colonels!
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Kim Hastings is a 1984 graduate of Northwest Christian College. He cut his journalistic teeth as sports editor of a paper in his home town of Fortuna, CA, and, later as a columnist for the Longview Daily News in Longview, WA.
He saw his first Oregon game in 1977 and never missed a home game from 1981 until a bout with pneumonia cut his streak short in 1997. He was one of the proud 3200 on a bitterly cold night in Shreveport, Louisiana in 1989 for the Independence Bowl, and continues to be big supporter of Oregon sports. He is an active participant on the various Oregon Ducks messageboards as “TacomaDuck.”
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