Last Saturday I gave all of you a heads up for Valentine’s Day shopping. You’re welcome for the squeals of joy and what-have-you on your way today.
But the presence of Valentine’s Day made me ponder the very question of love. More specifically, what does it mean to love a team?
Do I Love the Players? Not like I love my wife.
I love and appreciate the sweat equity the players and coaches spend to get ready to lay it on the line for our good pleasure. But, I don’t even know the players. In my collegiate days I knew a few. They ranged from good guys to jerks. In other words, a cross-section of America. I’ve been fooled too often to blindly believe everyone on my team is a choir-boy. Doubtless, the Ducks have their share of bad actors.
So it isn’t the players I love. Some of them I admire. Some (M.M. “cough” M.M.) I would introduce to my daughter. (One daughter could really use a good guy in her life.), but even that said, I don’t know them. Neither do most of you. Recently a few Oregon basketball players behaved in a decidedly ungentlemanly fashion. I didn’t love any part of that.
Do I Love the Fans? I love THAT they are fans, but in a mob like this…
…there are bound to be some drunken
Do I Love the Ducks Because We Are Winners? Again, I love that we are winners but I don’t love the team any more than I did in 1983 when I sat in the deluge that was the 0-0 tie with OSU. (75,000 fans will now say they were there. I was and I went home that evening only to find a not to be named Duck quarterback hitting on my fiancee’).
If All This is True, Why Do I Care so Much? Why is there a “3” in the middle of my email address because of Joey Harrington? Why does my Google Voice phone number include the word”DUCKS?” Why does every car I’ve owned in the last 25 years sport a bumper sticker and/or wings and/or an “O”?
Irrational or not, we love the Ducks because being fans makes us feel a part of something greater than ourselves. I live way too close to Seattle (as evidenced by the license plate above), and when I see cars belonging to Oregon fans I want to shake hands and say “Go Ducks!” I do say it to Duck-garb attired people in grocery stores. Sometimes they look at me funny. I assume they forgot what they put on that morning.
So, on this day made for love do two things for me. Hug and kiss your significant other until his/her lips chap. Then, find some time to say, “I love my Ducks.”
Top image by flickr.com.
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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