I know the feeling. Heck we all know the feeling as most have it a little, if not a lot. You love your Ducks, as you love reading about the progress of the program and all the little details with recruiting because you are a big Oregon fan (why else would you be reading this?). Yet that performance in the Fiesta Bowl, the full ramifications of which have been written about extensively at FishDuck over the last week, was more than just another loss. It’s tempting to just “check-out” until Spring Football or even next fall, but that doesn’t feel right either because you are a big Duck fan.
But you cannot support that football-mess that was on the field in Glendale either.
You have concerns about the coaching, but it was a weird COVID year! You witnessed a massive drop on defense that should not have happened with experienced players and a prodigal defensive coordinator, and you were dismayed at the strange stuff happening on offense.
Yet tomorrow is another day. The coaches did not get stupid overnight, and the Ducks have their best recruiting class in over 130 years of football history coming in this winter, spring and fall. All of these opposing thoughts are swirling about in your head, and you think and feel them all! Frustration and joy, indignation and gratitude, optimism and pessimism … all at the same time.
The mess on the field turned so many of us fans into blubbering masses of protoplasm. We’ve become the mess.
So where do we go from here?
What Kind of Fan do you WANT to Be?
I’ve run into several different types of fans over the last couple of weeks. One category has truly checked out as, “I am not reading anything about the Ducks now.” Another cheerfully sees the good regardless, reminding me to be grateful as “we are the Pac-12 Champions, Charles, and eleven other teams wish they could say that.” In this odd time, counting one’s blessings does make a ton of sense, and to a degree I get it. But I just can’t summon that much “happy” in me about Our Beloved Ducks.
There is an Eeyore type of fan that uses the forum as a place to vent. But this isn’t a therapist’s couch; go vent your anger about the Ducks somewhere else please! I have learned about the different forms of negative writing as some don’t go dark in their rantings and aren’t actually venting from anger but from an “I-told-you-so” continuous reminder. This firehose of negativity is equally off-putting to me.
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Unfortunately, we do have bandwagon fans (I am with you when you are winning!), and I count them as up to half the entire fan base as tabulated when the team is at it’s peak. In 2019, Oregon State averaged 32,000 fans a game, while Oregon averaged 53,000. The difference is simply winning. Lose as often as OSU and you have 32,000 in Autzen; win like Oregon at its peak and you fill that Bean-Dip Reser Stadium to the lid. It is human nature, and in the end only half of the fans at the peak of success are true core fans who support the team no matter what.
There is honor is being a fan who is supportive regardless of wins.
Yet at times I would look at those fans as simply being rubes, as they parrot the “always-trust-the-coaches” line over-and-over. What is the solution? What kind of fan should I be?
My Solution? Be a Critical Analysis Fan…
What I suggest comes not from me, but from people whom I’ve admired over the years. You see, I’ve been a bandwagon fan, a negative-venting fan and even in my youth a flat-out Troll. (How else would I know so much about Trolls?) What I’d like to think I’ve evolved into as an Oregon fan is the best of all those worlds as exemplified by these honorable people of substance I’ve met in my ongoing adventures with the FishDuck audience. These folks were in the stands in the early 1980s to watch some horrible football (Toilet Bowl anyone?). They are loyal no-matter-what.
These loyal fans will undertake critical analysis of the team and share what they feel are the failings and shortcomings, but in a polite way. They are respectful of the opinions and feelings of others and will debate in a high-brow manner. They make their points, they listen and acknowledge opposing views, and nobody’s feelings get hurt. These Critical Analysis Fans do not assert their views as “the” answer because they understand that we don’t know who was actually right until much later. They keep politics out of their discussions, and they keep it clean for all ears listening. How can you not admire these people?
Does all that sound familiar?
It should, as it is the foundation of our Posting Rules referred to often in comments below these articles in the past and now in the Our Beloved Ducks Forum. These people challenged me to ponder the failings of the team without being bitter and while remaining loyal through the long, rainy stretches. That is a tough balancing act and one that most would not embrace. Yet it inspired me to create FishDuck, and now the OBD forum, to serve the unique community of fans who are weary of the Trolls and want a GREEN REFUGE from the nastiness of the real-world.
It was good advice given to me as these principals propelled FishDuck into the Top 1% in the World for pages read per month among all active sites globally for 2020, (again) and this was done with only one article per day and an All-Volunteer Staff. It is remarkable, yet I credit the safety inherent in the site from the rules and our enforcement of them as an attraction for many of our discerning readers, and now those who post their thoughts in the forum.
So many other sites choose to suck up to the coaches to get interviews and information. At FishDuck/OBD Forum we do critical analysis, give credit where due, and discuss the failures/losses in a realistic light. It is difficult, but the result is a more evolved fan who learns from others while engaging in vigorous yet respectful debate. It is not a fit for the majority, and frankly it is a challenge at times for me as well. But the pursuit of this ideal and the result are worth the difficulty for everyone!
This is the perfect time to be a Critical Analysis Fan, because we can be both loyal fans and analytical critics without going-off-the-deep-end. There is so much to discuss and a long off-season to do it. In the process we will all learn more, meet similar discerning fans on the OBD Forum, and have fun with the success of the other sports we will be bantering about daily in addition to football. So many sports, so many topics to discuss. And we relish it all because…
“Oh, how we love to ponder about Our Beloved Ducks!”
Charles Fischer (Mr. FishDuck)
Top Photo by Kevin Cline
Phil Anderson, the FishDuck.com Volunteer editor for this article, is a trial lawyer in Bend Oregon.
Charles Fischer has been an intense fan of the Ducks, a season ticket holder at Autzen Stadium for 35 years and has written reports on football boards for over 23 years. Known as “FishDuck” on those boards, he is acknowledged for providing intense detail in his scrimmage reports and in his Xs and Os play analyses. He and his wife Lois, have a daughter Christine, reside in Eugene Oregon, where he was a Financial Advisor for 36 years and now focuses full-time on Charitable Planned Giving Workshops for churches and non-profit organizations.
He does not profess to be a coach or analyst, but simply a “hack” that enjoys sharing what he has learned and invites others to correct or add to this body of Oregon Football! See More…
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