After attending Central Oregon Community College for one year, I arrived in the fall of 1983 at the University of Oregon. I was nervous, only knowing three people when I moved here, because I really didn’t know what to expect. But one thing I was excited about was watching some live Division I football. Having grown up in Prineville, Ore., where football is almost a religion, I looked forward to being a spectator at Ducks games.
Those of you who were at the 1983 Civil War will remember it. Or better yet, you can never forget it. The rain was torrential, and it was cold. There were eleven fumbles. Five interceptions. Four missed field goals. And then the score at the end of the game: 0-0. You read correctly … a scoreless tie to end it.
Despite the loss – or tie to be more accurate – we continued to be proud of our student-athletes. After graduating, I carried my Duck pride into my role as an alumnus. And season after season, I and all alumni yearned for a promising opportunity to follow that Civil War. It finally came six years after the “Toilet Bowl” when in 1989, we found out we were going to the Independence Bowl.
Now look at how far our football team, our athletic program and our University have come. The UO football team is appearing in the Fiesta Bowl, our fourth consecutive BCS bowl. Women’s volleyball knocked on the door of the National Championship. Men’s basketball is on a good roll. Women’s cross-country brought home the 2012 national championship. And the University continues to grow the excellence of its athletic program and expand its academic excellence, it is continuing to have a lasting impact on the world by changing the lives of countless students from around the globe. That’s what being a Duck is all about.
As we get ready to travel to the Fiesta Bowl and support our student-athletes taking on Kansas State, let’s do it big. And let’s be very thankful it’s not 1983. Go Ducks!