Life As a Scholarship Athlete

Ed’s Note: Written by Joe Schiller

The life of a college athlete is surreal.

Lekendric Longmire knows the ups and downs as well as any student-athlete.

Walk around with any star athlete on campus and you might feel like you’re in the presence of a celebrity. Ask any athlete to define the word humble and they may have trouble doing so. This isn’t surprising and who can blame them?

Aside from the glitz and glamour, college athletes on scholarship deal with more pressure than doctors performing surgery. OK … maybe not that extreme, but you get the point.

Aren’t athletics supposed to be fun? Sure, when you’re scoring touchdowns and throwing alley ops you bet your ass it’s fun. Win and life is good, but lose and life is hell.

Life as a college athlete isn’t as easy as one might think. If you want to see the soft side of any athlete just listen to them answer questions from a college recruiter. While young athletes may appear to be over confident, the recruiting process can be a cruel and relentless experience. Prospects labeled with “five star talent” will have a recruiter guarantee them anything from a jersey number to a starting role as long as they provide their signature.

Trust me I would know.

Out of high school I signed a letter of intent to attend a division II school in Idaho. Before signing it seemed my phone would never stop ringing with calls from the coaching staff. They assured me I was their main priority and offered me a generous scholarship. After committing they were nowhere to be found. Promises that were made ended up being nothing but lies.

Looking back I wish I would have asked more questions and taken more time to consider my options. Playing college baseball had always been my dream and being offered a scholarship was impossible to turn down.

To an athlete, earning a scholarship means everything. All the hard work; the sweat, the blood and the tears, finally seem worth it. But it only gets harder.

Pressure didn’t exist in high school.

Lets be honest; how many times have you found yourself screaming at the television because someone on your team made a crucial mistake? Guilty? We all are. Last year’s disaster at Boise State even had an elderly woman dropping F bombs. As a fan it’s easy to get frustrated, but try and name one athlete who wants to fail. Jamarcus Russell doesn’t count.

Most college athletes will confirm that playing a college sport is more like a job. Senior Lekendric Longmire, a guard for Oregon’s basketball team agrees. “If you’re not winning then your coach’s job is on the line and so they take their frustration out on the players.”

Lekendric also explained some of the expectations as an athlete on scholarship: “There is a lot of pressure to perform and stay out of trouble off the court. It really goes back to winning; if your winning they will honor what they promised, if not they won’t.”

Picture this analogy. A waitress is responsible for taking orders and tending to their customers to ensure they have a pleasant dining experience. To expect a waitress to cook while also serving customers would be illogical. Is the idea of a student athlete much different? I think not. The idea of a student-athlete is not realistic. In order for a college athlete to maintain their ability and be ready for the competition, they MUST devote a majority of their time to practice.

Practice??? We’re talking bout practice?? Practice doesn’t make perfect, but practice builds confidence. Confidence to overcome the pressure athletes feel in more ways than one. I’m still trying to figure out where academics fit in.

College athletes deal with pressure in all forms: Pressure to perform, pressure to get good grades, and pressure to represent their school. Scream as you wish, but remember what goes into being a college athlete. These are young adults, not professionals.

Yahoo! Pegs Ducks Top in Pac-10, Oregon Unis Make Headlines (Again), and Jake Locker is Ronnie From Jersey Shore?

Yahoo Sports!/Rivals.com writer Olin Buchanan just came out with his super ridiculously in depth, more comprehensive that probably necessary but still entirely worth reading Pac-10 conference preview.

The theme: It’s wide open. (Sad note: It wouldn’t be if Jeremiah Masoli didn’t decide to well, you know…)

There are lots of interesting nuggets in here. Namely, Olin has already gazed into the crystal balls and declared Nate Costa the Ducks’ starting quarterback. He must not be a fan of eggs over-easy.

Here’s what else Olin thinks about the Ducks this season:

  • Oregon is picked to finish first, with USC, Oregon State, Stanford and Washington rounding out the top five.
  • Olin dubs Oregon-USC as the conference’s game of the year. “If Oregon gets by USC, the Ducks could enter the last month of the season as national championship contenders.” I can dig it. The Civil War also ranks among the 10 best games.
  • Four Ducks are selected to finish on the the all-conference first team: LaMichael James, Bo Thran, Kenny Rowe and Casey Matthews. Nothing too surprising there.
  • And four more Ducks were selected to represent the second team: Jeff Maehl, Carson York, Brandon Bair and Kenjon Barner, as a return specialist. I’m disappointed that Jordan Holmes, Eddie Pleasant and especially John Boyett didn’t get love from Buchanan.
  • In the “team unit” offensive rankings, Oregon is ranked as having the fifth best backfield (despite being loaded at running back), seventh best receiving corps (not much proven production beyond Maehl), and the number one offensive line (as they should be).
  • On the defensive side, the Ducks look to be in much better shape, coming in third on the line (Rowe is in for a big year), second best at linebacker (Ducks go a strong eight deep), and second again in the defensive backfield (Olin says no team is deeper at safety).
  • Despite the explosive return threats Oregon has, Olin doesn’t have much confidence in the Ducks’ special teams unit, noting the inconsistency from Rob Beard and Jackson Rice.
  • “Big Balls” Chip and Co. come in just behind Mike Riley’s staff for the top spot on the sidelines. For the Beavers to do anything this year, Riley better do a helluva job breaking in new quarterback Ryan Katz.

Some other interesting tidbits:

  • Despite plenty of love for Jake Locker, Olin thinks Washington will disappoint this year because of their inexperienced defense. Why can’t they just Locker play both ways? Then UW would be unstoppable.
  • Washington State comes in dead last in every unit ranking except for one, where they’re slotted ninth. Yea, the Cougs still have a long way to go.
  • Buchanan expects Quizz to be offensive player of the year. Let’s see what LMJ thinks about that.

Lastly, some other bits of Quack from earlier today:

  • In a poll of 125 NCAA football players by ESPN, 53.7% picked Oregon’s uniforms as their favorite in the country. This survey means you can’t bitch about Oregon’s unis anymore. They’re doing exactly what they were designed to do. One unnamed Big Ten star was particularly blown away. “I don’t even have to think about that one,” he says. “I almost wanted to transfer there just for those uniforms.” Yup, they’re working.
  • Phil Knight is profiled in the magazine Fast Company, with the apt headline: How Nike’s CEO shook up the shoe industry.
  • My San Francisco 49ers just announced they’ve signed former beloved Duck Will Tukuafu to a two-year contract.
  • Jason McIntyre over at The Big Lead compares college football players (and coaches) to Jersey Shore characters. Jake Locker is compared to Ronnie for his “beastlyness” but I think it has more to do with their shared love for grenades. And Lane Kiffin is the equivalent of Angelina because, well, nobody likes either of them. That one was easy.

A Gambling Column, Why Not? Up First: Heisman Trophy Futures

Ed’s Note: Written by Chase Kepler, practice reporter and Chad Millman wannabe.

College football is less than a month away and that can only mean one thing: Gambling is BACK.

Las Vegas expects Ingram to repeat -- or at least wants us to believe that.

Sure baseball is OK and you could bet on the occasional MMA fight, but nothing compares to the excitement of taking the 38 points and betting on Florida Southern Coast Tech State when they play Alabama.

I don’t know what it is, but putting $20 on a game makes it great. Let’s be honest, how many of you would actually sit down and watch that game? Don’t get me wrong, when my Ducks are playing no money is necessary to have me glued to the TV. But when the late night game is an epic matchup of SWAC powerhouses, some action is needed to keep me from falling asleep.

This will be a weekly column to let you, the reader, have the inside edge and keep your wallets fat. Because, well, what makes more sense that having a blog run by college students (half of which are under 21) have a column on something that’s completely illegal outside of Nevada, Oregon, Montana and that shit hole we call Delaware. It makes perfect sense.

With the games still a few weeks away I thought it’d be a good idea to take a look at some future bets, specifically the odds for the Heisman and the BCS.

Lets start out by looking at the odds for the Heisman Trophy.

  • Mark Ingram + 350
  • Terrelle Pryor+ 500
  • Ryan Mallett+ 1000
  • Casey Keenum + 1200
  • Jake Locker (Jesus, best prospect ever, best athlete alive, 9-27 as a starter) + 1200
  • John Clay+ 1200
  • Noel Divine + 1200
  • Dion Lewis+ 1200
  • Evan Royster + 1200
  • Jacory Harris + 1200
  • Andrew Luck+ 1500
  • DeMarco Murray+ 1500
  • Christian Ponder + 1500
  • Kellen Moore+ 1500
  • Matt Barkley+ 1800
  • Quizz Rodgers +2000
  • Landry Jones + 2000
  • Garrett Gilbert +2500
  • LaMichael James + 3000
  • Tate Forcier + 3000

Now that the odds are laid out it’s time to eliminate the sucker bets.

If overhyped was in the dictionary, there’d be a picture of Jake Locker sitting right next to it. My personal bias aside, he will not win the Heisman. Lets face it, even if Locker was the best player in college football (he’s not), it wouldn’t matter because that isn’t what the award is anymore. It’s now the “best player on a top-5 team” award. Although improved, Locker and Washington might not win five games, let alone finish near the top of the polls. Stay away.

Other players that fall into the “Great player, not good enough team to win the award”:

  • Dion Lewis
  • John Clay
  • Quizz Rodgers
  • Andrew Luck
  • Casey Keenum
  • Ryan Mallet
  • Evan Royster
  • Matt Barkley (good enough team, but the sanctions hurt)

Now onto the next level of people who won’t win. I like to call it the “Is this a joke? I have a better chance than they do” section.

Tate Forcier is one of the players we're sure won't win the Heisman.

First off, Tate Forcier. I know three things about Forcier: One, he’s on Michigan. Two, Michigan sucks. And three, he probably won’t even be the starter. Stay away, far away.

Andrew Luck at + 1500. He’s a great player but I can’t see him putting himnup Heisman-type numbers — or winning the Pac-10 — without Toby Gerhart. Think he throws for 250 yards and two scores against Oregon without having the threat of seven yards a carry in the backfield each play? I don’t.

Other people that wont win but I don’t have a category to put them in.

  • Jacory Harris
  • Mark Ingram ( Too hard to win it back-to-back)
  • DeMarco Murray

Finally, onto the players that will put money in your wallet.

As much as I hate to say it, the smartest bet this year is Terrelle Pryor at + 500. With their easy schedule, Ohio State has a great chance of going undefeated and heading to the BCS. Combine that with Pryor’s supposed newfound maturity, momentum coming off a Rose Bowl victory (tear), and the fact that he still has that “once in a lifetime recruit” hype, there’s a great chance he’ll be in New York at the least.

I hate everything about Boise State, but Kellen Moore is an outstanding QB. His Heisman chances come down to one game against V-Tech. They win and Boise most likely goes undefeated. Moore also had the second highest number of Heisman votes last year of all players returning this year. His stats alone might just be enough to blow away voters — his 39 TDs and 3 INTs last year is pretty amazing. He’s a great value at +1500

My biggest shocker is Garrett Gilbert. I know he’s a true sophomore who’s never even started a game. I know only one true sophomore has won the award and he had Jesus on his side. But Garrett Gilbert is immensely talented (many considered him the best QB of the 2009 class) and surrounded by enough talent that Texas should win the Big 12 (don’t buy the Nebraska hype, their offense is anemic). That alone will get him attention and votes. Get in early when he is still in the +2500 range

Saved the best for last: Our boy LaMichael James. It would take the Ducks at least a Rose Bowl berth for him to get a chance but that’s well within the realm of possibility. Last year he set the freshman rushing record despite a measly 11 carries in the first two games. I expect even bigger things from him this year with all five starters and top reserves returning on the offensive line, and most likely a bigger emphasis on the running game without Jeremiah Masoli.

At + 3000 James is a great bet for the savvy gambler and hey, he’s a Duck so show him some love and get on the Wagon now.

Coming soon: A look at the BCS odds

Oregon Ducks on Preseason Watch Lists

There are a lot of them. And that’s a good thing. But awards on paper don’t always translate to success on the field. You know, like Jake Locker being named to the 2009 Manning Award Watch List.

Here’s hoping the Ducks’ on field success translates into individual awards. Or really, I’d just take the on field success. BCS title here we come! And if Bo Thran wins that Rimington Trophy, that’s just icing on the cake.

From GoDucks.com, the full list of Ducks on preseason watch lists:

Oregon Ducks Fall Camp: Day Three Notes (With Video)

Ed’s Note: Written by Chase Kepler:

Nothing too spectacular today, but some good stuff nonetheless.

KVAL.com

The quarterback competition is obviously the hottest topic for Duck fans. Both Darron and Nate had their best days so far in fall camp. They each threw fewer interceptions and overall better made better decisions. Both did throw a pick-six and weren’t perfect, but still much improved from the previous two days (which sadly didn’t take much).

What I would like to see is one QB take charge of the competition and be the clear cut number one, and that hasn’t happened. But there’s still a long way to go. Hotshot true freshman Bryan Bennett again looked good but had a couple plays in the last team drill that reminded us that he’s a freshman, fumbling a snap and making some bad reads.

Chip Kelly must have skipped breakfast this morning because when asked about the evaluation process of Costa and Thomas, Chip compared it to breakfast food.

“I evaluate how they eat their eggs in the morning,” he said, smirking. “It’s an all encompassing thing for us.”

So who’s the better egg eater?

“Right now, it’s Darron because he goes over-easy instead of scrambled – scrambled falls off the fork,” Kelly said.

As for the people on the Darryl Hawkins bandwagon: Get off. Now. He looked terrible in individual drills and team drills. The sooner he is moved to WR the better (Ed’s Note: Ouch).

Redshirt freshman linebacker Bo Lokombo again looked like a complete stud. He had an amazing play where he jumped a route, leaped, picked it off and ran it back to the house off Nate Costa. It will be impossible to keep him off the field — even with how stacked the position is — Bo is simply all over the place.

LaMichael James looked good once again, as did the all the running backs. The running game really stood out today and the holes were really opening up as James, Kenjon Barner and Remine Alston all had their fair share of long runs.

Today’s biggest disappointment was Josh Huff. His effort and speed still showed but he did his best Jaison Williams impression, dropping several catchable balls. His athleticism is there but the hands need work, which shouldn’t come as a surprise as Huff is making the switch from the backfield to out wide.

The same players who looked good yesterday, minus Huff, continued to shine. Its hard to really evaluate the lines right now as they aren’t yet in full pads and can’t get after it 100 percent. Full pads will come Friday.

Video from Jonathan Marx:

Until next time…

Go Ducks!!

Help Me Design the New UOSportsDude.com Blog Header!

Like many of you know, I’m joining the Bloguin Network soon. Part of the process is creating the new site, and especially the new blog header.

This is the first draft of the design and I want your opinions on it. Think of it as your opportunity to be a critic. Be as harsh as you’d like.

My first impressions: I’m not sold on the “Where sports and college humor collide” tag line. I think it’s a bit cheesy and isn’t exactly where my blog is right now. I think it takes away from my credibility a bit. Should I go no tag line or do you have an idea for a better one?

I’d also like the logo to have a more prominent role in the header, and I think the logo has been changed a bit, which takes a little bit of the color out of it.

That’s all I’ve got for now and again, I would love any thoughts/opinions/critiques you have as well.

Thanks! And here it is:

Oregon Ducks Fall Camp: Day Two Notes

Written by Chase Kepler:

Another exciting day at Duck Practice. It was the last day without shoulder pads and you can tell the players are ready to hit.

Seastrunk has really impressed with his quickness and agility out of the backfield.

Some guys really stood out, starting with Bo Lokombo. He just keeps making plays and is all over the ball. The highlight of the day was easily his pick-six off Nate Costa, where he made a GREAT catch on the ball. Bo is really pushing for that number one spot at OLB.

It should be noted that Chip Kelly swapped in Darron Thomas for Costa to run with the first team today, although it could just be a back and forth thing until one player emerges.

That said, the quarterback battle is still pretty even — and rusty. Costa threw a pair of interceptions today and had another one that should have been brought back for a touchdown, but Kenny Rowe couldn’t hang on to it. The argument for Costa is that he is the “safe” pick, however in the first two practices this has not been the case. He’s thrown six interceptions to Darron Thomas’s one, and throws into double and triple coverage far too often.

But like Kelly noted, “A guy may throw a pick, but when you look at the film, the receiver ran the wrong route. Is that the quarterback’s fault? Is there a protection breakdown? They look like they did some decent things out there (today), but other times it looked like they made some mistakes.”

Darron has actually been making very good reads, hitting his check down — almost too much  even — and rarely forcing the ball to his receivers. I would like to see two things from Darron: the first being more consistency with his ball/ accuracy. His ball often wobbles, and it comes in too high or too low for the receivers. I’d also like to see him take more shots downfield.

The QB position might seem a little shaky right now, but the future looks great. True freshman Bryan Bennett looks like a veteran already in his second day of fall camp. He throws the best ball out of all three QB’s and has been making great reads with few mistakes. He especially looked great after practice when it was just the newcomers going 7 on 7, hooking up with receivers deep downfield with perfect balls. I have a new man crush.

On twitter, Dan Rubenstein (a must follow) said that Bennett is the first QB to come into Oregon who ran a modern read-option spread offense in HS.  Which might be why he’s so ahead of the curve.

Other players that stood out were:

  • Curtis White: He is going to be special. Great frame and catches everything.
  • Brandon Williams: Or should I say Antonio Gates. Enough said.
  • Josh Huff: It will be hard to keep him off the field. Great hand, great speed.
  • Blake Cantu: Aaron Pflugrad but bigger and quicker.
  • Lache Seastrunk: Didn’t do much but had a run at the end of practice that showed why he was a 5 star. Agility is insane.
  • Lavasier Tuinei: Great hands and has definitely added some weight from last year.

A few more notes from the Register-Guard’s Adam Jude:

Jackson Rice definitely won the day, at least judging by the difficulty punt returners LaMichael James and Lache Seatrunk had catches Rice’s booming kicks. … Seastrunk, splitting time with fellow freshman Dontae Williams with the third-string offense, cut outside with a couple nifty moves for a big run on the final play of 11-on-11s. … Sophomore CB Cliff Harris practiced today in his new No. 13 jersey, running mostly with the “threes.” … Joey Harrington made an appearance today, watching practice from the edge of the field. He then spent a few minutes after practice talking with Costa.

Harris with the threes? I really hope he gets his head on straight and earns his way into a starting spot. He has the potential to be special.

Until next time…

Go Ducks!

“Focused” is Word of the Day as Oregon Ducks Open Fall Camp

This is the quiet before the storm.

We're gonna see a lot these three this year: LMJ, KB and Lache.

The Ducks took to the practice fields today to participate in the first of twenty-nine preseason practices leading up to the season opener against New Mexico on September 4th.

They are more than ready.

All 105 players reported and began the day watching film and having their first position meetings, which began around 8:00 am over in the Casanova Center.

Chip Kelly took questions from the media at 11:00 am, and offered his trademark vagueness when asked about specific position battles.

Kelly told reporters that Nate Costa and Darron Thomas both have improved and said that he will make a decision regarding the starter after the final fall scrimmage. As we’ve known for a while, Kelly reiterated that he will decide on one quarterback, but the other will need to be ready to go.

A solid group of starters return for the Ducks, nine on the offense and eight on the defense.

Asked about the mindset of the team right now, Kelly called them focused.

“The group is really focused and they understand what they have the ability to do,” he said. “Now we have to go out and do it.”

Oregon is arguably the fastest program in the nation. Kelly said that there’s significant speed at every position, and that “we base our recruiting, we base everything we do on speed.”

“We want bullets, not bowling balls,” Kelly said referring to the program’s speed.

Kelly called safety Eddie Pleasant possibly the fastest Duck on the squad, and expects his move from linebacker to safety to bring a lot of “T.J. Ward” to the position.

What was a cold, overcast morning in Eugene blossomed into a warm afternoon once practiced started. Players started making their way to the field around 1:45 pm, and by 2:15 pm practice was underway.

A steady mix of Metallica and Eminem blasted over the speakers, as Nate Costa was the first up in the team drills. Costa looked solid to begin with, but later in the day he threw three interceptions in a single drill. His arm looked strong for the most part, and aside from a few mistakes, he was relatively spot on with his accuracy.

Darron Thomas looked groomed and ready to lead the team. His lightning bolt release found many a wide receiver downfield. Both quarterbacks looked good scrambling, with Thomas making a nice would-be-touchdown getaway late in the day.  Arguably, the only thing faster than the Ducks running back unit today was Thomas’ release. As soon as he pulls back, the ball is already seemingly in the air to the receiver.

Also worth noting was true freshman QB Bryan Bennett’s beautiful pass to fellow true freshman WR Josh Huff for what would’ve been a touchdown. Bennett got a few reps in, along with some coaching from Costa.

LaMichael James and Lache Seastrunk took turns alternating returning kicks. All in all, everybody looked like they were glad to be out there.

A good crowd came to watch the first practice of the fall, which lasted three hours. The Ducks will be back out again tomorrow, again open to the public.

Pac-10 Preseason Dark Side Poll

Ed’s Note: Written by Jonathan Adams

Welcome to the only pre-season poll you’ll see with the Washington Huskies in the top spot. Yes, it’s the Dark Side Poll, so named because I’m about to do what Luke Skywalker never did: give in to the hate and join the dark side. Here you go, Pac-10 teams ranked in order of current level of loathing.

1. Washington – In 2001 the Ducks took a lot of heat when they erected a “Joey Harrington for Heisman” billboard in Times Square. But at least Harrington was coming off a 10-win season and an epic Holiday Bowl performance. The Jake Locker for Heisman campaign seems to be based solely on the fact that Todd McShay thinks he could be the top pick in the NFL Draft. You know, like JaMarcus Russell. It’s certainly not based on any on-the-field results, as the Huskies haven’t won 6 games in a season since 2003.

Listen up Husky fans: settle down. Seriously. Here’s the margin of victory in the last 6 Oregon-Washington games, all of which were won by the Ducks: 25, 24, 20, 21, 34, 24. And yes, the Ducks had some off-the-field issues this year, but I’m not sure we’ve officially ruled out former Husky tight end Jerramy Stevens as the Green River Killer, so let’s ease up on the “Oregon is a dirty program” argument.

Oh, and you wear purple. So stop saying Oregon’s uniforms are ugly.

Lane Kiffin's principal achievements the past few years are enraging Al Davis and Urban Meyer, stockpiling recruiting violations, and losing. Welcome to USC!

2. USC – Just when you thought George W. Bush was the king of failing upwards, a new contender emerges: ladies and gentlemen, Lane Kiffin! Look, if my favorite school was on probation and had a football coach with a 12-21 career record I’d probably take my lumps quietly. I mean, they just hired Pat Haden, a former broadcaster(!) to take over the athletic department which is like BP hiring Joe Morgan to manage their clean-up efforts in the Gulf. I’m glad to see USC finally punished for paying their players, but I wish the terms of their probation would have included a ban on that mind-numbing song their band plays after every first down. You know the one: DUN DUN-DUN-DUN-DUN-DUN-DUN-DUN STAB-STAB.

3. UCLA – I hate Rick Neuheisal. That is all.

4. Oregon State – Their fans shouldn’t talk too much about Jeremiah Masoli’s arrest record because they once had a player arrested for kidnapping a gay sheep. And another arrested for beating up a member of the National Guard. But that hasn’t stopped them. Whatever.

By the way, can anyone explain why they play chainsaw sound effects at Reser Stadium? I mean, aren’t Beavers able to cut down trees without tools? Wouldn’t this be like playing airplane sound effects at Autzen? Because like planes, Ducks also fly. Lame.

5. Arizona – Their nickname is the Wildcats, but for some reason they stencil “Bear Down” on the football field. Apparently the zoology program at UA isn’t all it’s cracked up be.

Do you think Mrs. Stoops had any sons who aren’t raging douchebag a-holes?

6. Utah – That’s right, bonus future Pac-12 hate. If we’ve learned anything from the NBA, it’s that fans in Utah are legitimately insane. I look forward to matching them crazy for crazy.

Also, I can’t wait to make insensitive jokes about multiple wives.

7. Stanford – Most potential to rise up this poll as the season goes along. Jim Harbaugh is the next Pete Carroll, and that’s a bad thing. But right now it’s hard to work up too much dislike for a team that ran up the score on USC. Still, I hate that freaking tree.

8. California – Or as I like to call them, Eugene South.

9. Arizona State – To quote Ford Prefect from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: Mostly harmless.

10. Washington State – If this was the English Premier League, they’d be relegated to Division 1-AA and Eastern Washington and their new red (yes I said red) turf would be in the Pac-10.

11. Colorado – I can’t hate them because I love Ralphie the Buffalo so much. Seriously, go to YouTube and check out the videos of him. He’s great. I’m a fan of any mascot that has the potential to single-handedly delay a game by getting loose and going on a stampede.

12. Oregon – Classy fans, simple, understated uniforms, and a donor base that never wields too much influence. What’s not to love?

— Which team do you loathe the most?

TAILS: An Introduction

Ed’s Note: Last week I received this email from a UO student who wanted to write for the blog. He wrote: “I think topics less about physical prowess and more about things that rarely get people laid are really my area of expertise. You guys cover athletes, I cover mathletes. It’s just an idea I had and I would love to here what you think.” Unconventional, but I love it. I’ll let Drew Norton introduce himself.

Everyone loves sports. Fact. The first thing humans did after they learned to stand was learn how to kick stuff into other stuff. Then they grunted sounds that probably sounded like “ball” and “goal” and “in your face, bitch” and sports were born. They’re the spirit of competition, a celebration of physicality and a celebration of everything that’s good in society. These posts will not be about that.

Jocks, please refrain from shoving Drew into a locker.

I, Drew Norton, know next to nothing about sports. I know how to score points in most of them. I know the penalties. If someone yells about three in a key, I can yell along with them without glancing around awkwardly for an answer to what that means. When it comes to commentary, though, I’m hopeless; utterly, completely, Glenn-Beckianly hopeless. Was it a good choice for Chip Kelly to get rid of Masoli? I’m going to go with yes because of the robbery and pot charges. That’s about all I’ve got.

At this point, I’m sure you’re wondering (and rightly so, sir) why I’m a contributor to a blog about the University of Oregon Ducks — “OOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” Sorry, force of habit. Why indeed? Well, when Keith scoured the vast and empty wastelands that are the Internets, he found me like Kal-El in a cornfield (That‘s a Superman joke. It‘s his Kriptonian…never mind). When he showed me this blog, I felt that, even with the integrity it obviously had, it needed something else. Some spice. Some pizzazz. Some glitter glue. That spicy, pizzazzy, glitter glue is the glue of context. It is irresponsible if not impossible to have this much testosterone in any part of the Internet, much less the blogosphere, without incorporating a small man who could be crushed by the sheer weight of the biceps sported by his sportier compadres. That small man is me. I’m here to bring the other side of the coin (get it now?) and give a nerd’s perspective on what’s happening at the U and in Eugene at large.

I know what you’re saying. “I still don’t get it.” Shhhhhhhhhh my little darlings. All will be revealed in time, like a Shyamalan movie that isn’t The Happening or that Airbender debacle. It’s pronounced Ang! Say the letter ‘A’ and ‘ng’! They say it in the show M.! Sorry again. I may or may not have blog-tourettes. Really what I’m trying to do here is introduce myself, my style and what kind of content you’re likely to see in the coming months. I hope you will enjoy it more than I will enjoy writing it.