Opening day for Oregon’s football season and we lost. 40-27. Not too bad considering LSU practically had home filed advantage and by far had the dominant defensive line. It just sucks. It really, really sucks. I’d rather stub my toe 100 times in a single day than watch my Ducks lose. Okay, maybe not 100, but pretty close.
It’s moments like this where I’m actually glad, though, that my primary focus in life isn’t some football team. It’s Jesus. His mission. His love. But one thing I’ve noticed, even if being a Duck fan was my entire identity, is that it’s so easy to like a team when they’re doing well, but then drop them by the wayside when they aren’t.
I’m sure everyone does it for a certain sport and a certain team and at a certain time. I hopped on the Red Sox bandwagon several years ago when they finally broke their curse. I rooted for the Beavers baseball team when they won back-to-back National Championships. And I rooted for the Saints when they took down the Colts a couple years ago in the Super Bowl. I have to admit it; I, too, have the tendency to tag along for the ride of another team’s glory.
With nearly six minutes to go in tonight’s game against LSU, I noticed a Facebook post from a fellow Eugenite. I can’t remember what it said exactly, but he was bitter about losing to LSU. He said that Oregon is a pathetic football team this year and vowed not to waste money on any Duck games. To some degree, I wanted to agree with him. But really, I couldn’t. Not only was tonight game one of what might be a 13-game season, but above all that wouldn’t be acting as a true and genuine Duck fan.
It’s so easy to abandon ship when it seems to be sinking (or in this case, abandon Chip 😉 ), but to stick it out for an entire season – that requires dedication. And patience. Lots and lots of patience. Yes, my Ducks lost tonight. And yes, it’s possible our chances of a National Championship bid are completely shot for the year. But no, I’m not going to stop wearing green and yellow on Saturday. And no, I’m not going to stop trash-talking my Beaver or Boise State friends. Real Duck fans (or real, true, genuine fans of any team) stick it out for the long haul.
A couple years ago when we had Dennis Dixon leading the charge to what could have been a BCS bid, we fans showed our support for our team. I looked up the record stats from that year and noticed something in the attendance category. After – not before, but after – we lost to California at home, we turned right around the next week and showed up to the game. Only 524 fans didn’t. It may not seem like too much to very many people, but I think that’s saying something. And then later that year, after two more losses and losing Dixon to an injury, we came back for the Civil War with 59,000 fans. Sure, we lost, but that’s not my point. True fans of any team of any sport will continue to show up – even when it is no longer logical for them to do so.
For the next week I think there will be a gloomy feeling in Eugene, especially around Autzen. But let’s not forget what happened the last time we lost our first game of the season. Let’s not forget what it means to be an Oregon Duck. Let’s not forget the meaning of loyalty.