Our Beloved Ducks recently completed another school year under pandemic protocols and online classes, which resulted in a unique graduation experience. As an Oregon graduate myself this Spring, I wanted to consider our community and how the Ducks have changed over the years, rising and falling as a dominant program between decades of graduating classes.
Fantastic recruiting exhibited by Mario Cristobal and other staff members was unfortunately not enough to make my final year as a student particularly special in Autzen. Granted, given the circumstances of the pandemic, there weren’t many fans able to go to games anywhere anyway, so I feel it’s unfair to really take out any of that frustration on the players or coaches.
To look on the bright side of my time here in Eugene, the Rose Bowl victory under a Justin Herbert led offense was my favorite time to be around campus. The energy and joy that emanated from students around me felt like a different breed from years past. That was the “true” college experience it seems everyone is looking for, and I’m grateful to have been able to participate in such a special era, considering now how Herbert has transitioned so swiftly to the NFL.
Aside from football, what a time it was to be a Duck! Our programs have been competitive and edging on becoming dominant in several sports the entire time I had the privilege of being in Eugene. The Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams have been absolutely outstanding while I’ve been a student, getting to see Sabrina Ionescu and Payton Pritchard in person at Matthew Knight, as well as the recent upturn of Baseball’s performance and our unbelievable Track & Field team (speaking of, have you gotten an in-person look yet at Hayward Field’s new big brother?).
I couldn’t be more grateful for the sports experiences I got to be a part of while at Oregon and I cannot wait to return in future seasons. I know even now that I was a witness to some of the greatest Oregon athletes to ever grace the campus grounds, but I know there are many from the past that I’ve probably still never even heard of.
Now it’s time to think back yourself: when you graduated college, how were the Ducks’ sports programs? If you were at the U of O or anywhere else, do you remember what kind of seasons the Ducks were having? Who were the faces of the program? Here’s a link if you need a refresher on some of the sports program’s season stats.
And if you weren’t ever a Duck, what’s your earliest memory of becoming a fan? Go Ducks, and stay safe over the holiday weekend!
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Alex Heining is a third-year student at the University of Oregon. He’s working towards a bachelor of arts degree as an English major and media studies minor in journalism. Growing up in the Los Angeles area of southern California, Alex ended up a Duck through family ties, a quality football program, and the beautiful green of Lane County. Currently finishing his first science fiction novel, he wants to end up in the sports world of journalism on the west coast. Particularly, covering high school football, recruiting commits, and all things Ducks.
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