COVID CATASTROPHE: Oregon Football and FishDuck still FIGHTING

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck Editorials

So a ten-game Pac-12 schedule begins on September 19th; do you believe it?

I do not, as I believe the liability risk to the university of a player getting sick or a spectator who not only acquiring the disease, but suffering the worst is too much risk for survival as an institution. In terms of the probabilities–the likelihood of lawsuits is the most credible if they go forward with a schedule and most of us know it. A player can survive COVID, but sue for internal damage to the body and the loss of anticipated NFL earnings, etc. Thus I believe the liability risk is too much for the University and will remain untenable until a proven vaccine is available.

Should Penei Sewell take the chance?

As for a spring football season? If we have one it will be diluted, as all juniors and seniors who have a shot at the NFL would sit-out the 2021 spring season in favor of preparing for the NFL Combine and the NFL Draft in the winter and spring of 2021. And what about the wear and tear of two football seasons in eight-months? And the risk of exposure to COVID at the same time … more eventual lawsuits?

My FishDuck friends, I hope for the best, but am expecting the worst as I believe that if they don’t play football, then neither will any of the other sports play over the 2020-2021 academic year. That to me is the highest probability and it will take a miracle to alter that ultimate scenario.

Can you imagine no events at the new Hayward Field?

What About the FANS and FishDuck?

I believe Coach Mario Cristobal, the staff and the team have done the best they can with all the uncertainty. They are fighting for a season, for the program and the health of the players as best they can. The disruption to their lives and their future mirrors what the rest of us have faced, and the uncertainty seems just about as draining as the stress brought about by the disease.

As fans, it has sure messed with our lives and plans. We all feel the pain of losing Oregon sports, possibly over the next year and that would include Mr. FishDuck and the staff at FishDuck. It makes it hard to plan, because what will there be to write about–for us to discuss if we don’t have sports over the next year? The reality also is that without the sports many fans will refrain from even coming to this site, as they will feel there is nothing new.

“Was it Over when the Germans Bombed Pearl Harbor?”

I smile thinking of that line from Animal House and yet it pertains to our plans at FishDuck; we are not going away regardless of the absence of Oregon sports. For the present, we will continue with articles seven days a week, but things will change when we get into the College Sports Apocalyptic Era

Once the worst is announced by the Pac-12, we will at minimum have articles on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and I am working on potential article types for Sundays as well during the upcoming College Sports Apocalyptic Era. Once arrived at–we will post a schedule and make it available to all, and for us hard-core Oregon fans … there are always items to discuss and ponder over the nine-to-twelve-month period that I anticipate.

We will delay the roll-out of the Our Beloved Ducks forum until we know when the football is actually going to begin, and that release would occur before the season were to start play. Scratching for one article topic a few times a week is tough enough, but to have that many generated every day inside the new forum to initiate discussion?  No need to create any more mountains to climb over during the upcoming College Sports Apocalyptic Era.

Credibility Lost? Experience and Wisdom Gained…

We had quite an event at FishDuck a few weeks ago when we published an article dealing with the name change of the rivalry game with Oregon State in all sports. It was not popular, and the backlash came from three different groups who made their feelings quite clear in emails to Mr. FishDuck.

Amen Duck Brothers and Sisters…

One group did not want the name change and resented the direction of the article. Another group agreed with the article but felt that it did not go far enough, and that Mr. FishDuck should implement a long list of items they suggested in their correspondence. The final group hurt Mr. FishDuck the most by stating that the founder of the site violated his own “No Politics” rules, and thus the site and the principal had lost significant credibility in their eyes. There is no dispute with what they wrote, and it initiated some reflection that continues to this day.

I would not change publication of the article as I felt it contained information that I and many other Oregonians were unaware of, and thus performed an important public service. Yet I do acknowledge that it contained a political message in it, and thus violated the rules that have worked so well over the last two years. Less than 1% of all comments ever get deleted and it is refreshing to have civil conversations and vigorous, yet respectful debate in the comments. This is a jewel, a GREEN REFUGE from the nastiness in the world at this time.

There is a reason why big sites such as CNN, PBS, ESPN, USA Today and even OregonLive have removed the comment sections below their articles. Because managing it is hard, and I know this from the tons of hours spent in discussion with people in the course of implementing policy, making mistakes and correcting those errors over time. There are so many different fine lines and distinctions to recognize in monitoring comments, and yet also take the time to be decent to good people who sometimes get too exuberant.

All types of Oregon fans, and I love them all.

I have deleted hundreds of comments referencing politics over the last two years from all of you, and I hope you can overlook this from yours truly, for getting pulled in an unanticipated direction-even with good intentions. My FishDuck friends … this is why what we have is rare, is because it is incredibly hard to pull-off. Even when you have rules that work, you get drawn into surprising directions and it only takes one misstep to hurt your credibility.

Just as I sometimes slap the hand of a commenter/poster who has violated the rules, I just had the rolled-up newspaper whack me across the head as well. This was a great learning experience, a Stress-Test of the unique rules we have and it has made an undeniable impact on me. I have gone through a ringer in creating these rules, refining them, and becoming savvier of the behavior of others (and myself) than anyone at any website ever.

It has made me wiser, and more appreciative of all the readers who take part in this grand adventure. It also reignites my passion, the drive to continue learning, and the resolve to fight through the upcoming College Sports Apocalyptic Era as Coach Cristobal and his intrepid team will.

“Oh how we will never cease to ponder, (even through COVID CATASTROPHE) Our Beloved Ducks!”

Charles Fischer   (Mr. FishDuck)
Eugene, Oregon
Top Photo by Kevin Cline

Brad Nye, the Volunteer editor for this article, is a land conservation attorney in Central Oregon.



New 2024 FishDuck Publishing Schedule….

During the off-season the publishing schedule will consist of articles on Mondays and Tuesdays. Do keep checking as new articles could be published during the week when a writer has something to say.

In mid-August of 2024, we will go back to the seven-days-a-week of articles during the football season as we did in the football season of 2023.

The Our Beloved Ducks Forum (OBD) is where we we discuss the article above and many more topics, as it is so much easier in a message board format over there.  At the free OBD forum we will be posting Oregon Sports article links, the daily Press Releases from the Athletic Department and the news coming out every day.

Our 33 rules at the free OBD Forum can be summarized to this: 1) be polite and respectful, 2) do not tell anyone what to think, feel or write, and 3) no reference of any kind to politics. Easy-peasy!

OBD Forum members….we got your back.  No Trolls Allowed!