Good morning Duck fans! It’s Virginia Day for the Mighty Quack, as the Ducks take it on the road for a game about which they can’t be as cavalier as they were about Nicholls State University State College University, or whatever they are calling themselves now. Since we don’t venture into the ACC all that much, and have never been in Charlottesville, I thought it would be good to bone up on some information about our hosts.
1. The University Was Founded by Thomas Jefferson. Now that is downright impressive. If my eighth-grade history teacher was correct, Jefferson was the third President of these United States. ”Skinny Butt TJ,” as John Adams called him behind his back, was a philosopher, statesman, raconteur, epicurean, master gardener and benevolent slaveholder. In fact, he treated one of his slaves so well that he wrote a song for her.
2. The State Motto is ”Sic Semper Tyrannis.” The true translation of this Latin phrase has been lost to antiquity, but it is said to mean either “Thus always to tyrants” or “By Jove We Suck at This Here Foosball.”
3. Eight United States Presidents Were Born in Virginia. Very impressive, Ole’ Virginny. But we discovered a couple of other Native Sons that you don’t mention as often. Earning the dubious distinction of being the United States’ first known serial killers, Micajah “Big” Harpe and Wiley “Little” Harpe were murderous outlaws and river pirates from Virginia who operated in Tennessee during the late 1700s. Often referred to as the Harpe Brothers, they were actually cousins who often passed themselves off as brothers. Their reign of terror was interrupted by the American Revolution . . . during which they fought for the British.
4. Virginia has had 3 capital cities: Jamestown, Williamsburg and Richmond. After today’s game a fourth capital is going to be requested: Salem, Oregon. It is said that Horace Greeley got a look at Virginia’s fall practice before uttering his famous admonition, as well as a grooming tip.
5. The Great Dismal Swamp is in Virginia near the North Carolina border. Come on! You had plenty of time to name your body of water and this is what you came up with? Don’t you people have a Department of Tourism? You could have called it Moonglow Lake. Or even Clear Lake. Lord knows there aren’t enough of those in the country. Great Dismal? No wonder you people drink so much bourbon. You’re frickin’ depressed!
6. On March 9, 1862, at Hampton Roads, Virginia, the USS Monitor and the CSS Virginia (formerly the USS Merrimac) met in one of the most famous naval engagements in US history. The two ironclad vessels fought, without either side being able to defeat the other. Hey! We have something like that. We call it the “’83 Civil War” or, alternately, “The Toilet Bowl.” *sob*
7. And finally, the major cash crop of Virginia is tobacco and many of the people who live there earn their living from the tobacco industry. Smoke ’em if you got ’em, Wahoo U. Something tells me that in just a few hours you’re going to need them.
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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