I had some trouble falling sleeping the other night. I closed my eyes, readjusted my pillows, counted sheep, but nothing. Still awake.
I couldn’t get an image out of my head. No matter how hard I tried, it kept me up, like a bright light shining smack in my face that I just couldn’t shut off.
The image, that of a screaming section 8, a LaMichael James breakaway, a yet-to-be-named quarterback lob to the end zone, played over and over, 13 times until I finally dozed off.
I am so excited for football season, it’s unhealthy. It being my first season in Eugene, it’s hard for me to think about anything else right now as we sit with just under a month left until kickoff.
I have so many expectations, so many questions! Is it really as loud as they say inside Autzen? Does it really never rain over there?
Aside from the spring game, my only Duck football game was the heartbreaking loss to Stanford last season at the Farm. It was just days after I had been accepted to the University of Oregon, the Ducks were flying high, but the unstoppable force that is Toby Gerhart seemed to run all over them. And while we didn’t come away with a W, my first experience at a Duck game was incredible.
The sea of yellow and green that was the Oregon section, taking up a good quarter of the stadium, yelled “O” with a force so powerful it gave me goose bumps. It was deafening. The (euphemism alert!) eccentric Stanford band could barely be heard!
With the devotion I saw from Oregon fans that chilly afternoon in November, I instantly knew that I had chosen the right school. While choosing a school known for my major took precedence, the atmosphere of the institution was something that helped weigh my decision. I could’ve chosen the tropical beaches of the University of Hawaii, but being on an island 6,000 miles away from my friends and family wouldn’t work. Or I could’ve chosen Arizona State University, which has an excellent journalism program, but it’s in the desert. ‘Nuf said.
But I chose Oregon. I chose Oregon because, coupled with an excellent J-school, the dedication, devotion and love from the fans is something that makes an excellent institution.
That, and Eugene is just damn pretty.
In the coming years, as Oregon football rises to the top of the college football scene, the amount of exposure the school gets will increase. This increase will do wonders for the school, as it already has. High school seniors will watch Oregon on ESPN on Saturdays, see the screaming student section, the beautiful campus, and all around general camaraderie.
Seeing this majestic environment will make them want to come here. They’ll apply. More and more of them, each year. Some will get in, and some won’t. But the more that apply, the better the school looks.
Which means, I might actually have a job when I graduate! (Editor’s note: still doubtful).
Essentially what I’m saying is, the better the team gets, the more exposure the school gets; the more exposure the school gets, the more competitive it becomes. The more competitive it becomes, the better a University of Oregon diploma looks hanging in my cubicle in a failing newspaper’s newsroom.
That said, I’m not looking too deep into the future, but instead trying to focus on right now. The right now being this football season. I will be at every game. Screaming O. Showing those high school seniors exactly where they want to spend their next four years, and increasing the value of my college education in the process.