Monday, December 05, 2005

Bowling For The Holidays

So Oregon is going to the Holiday Bowl. And a lot of Oregon fans are upset. Me, not so much.

Oh, don't get me wrong. I think Oregon deserves to be facing Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl. I think they're a better team than Notre Dame, I KNOW they have a better record and better rankings in the polls AND the BCS standings, and I believe that Notre Dame too often gets a pass just because of their name -- in both bowl pairings and in things like ref calls. The last time the Irish got such a free pass into the Fiesta Bowl, the Oregon State Beavers handed their arses to them. I hope the Buckeyes do the same this year.

But I have a special place in my heart for the Holiday Bowl. I lived in San Diego for 12 years, and remember what a good time the city shows to the players, coaches, and fans of both teams. And a Holiday Bowl is the only bowl game I've ever attended.

Back in December of 2000, Oregon went to the Holiday Bowl. It was Joey Harringtonm's first bowl game. Oregon faced Texas, and we were the underdogs. My mom treated me, my dad, my brother-in-law, and my nephew to tickets to the game. The Longhorn fans were loud and boisterous going into that game, but when the game ended with the Ducks winning 35-30, they got real quiet. That game was a tight one, full of emotional rollercoaster minutes, and ny the end I was horse.

My father died the next summer. It was the last football game we ever went to together. Back in high school, my dad announced my school's games, and I'd often join him in the announcer's booth. Football was one of many things we had in common. To this day, I miss watching the game with him, discussing the game with him. Every time Oregon wins, or USC beats Notre Dame, or Navy beats Army, or an NFL team either of us root(ed) for wins, I get this itch to call him and discuss the game. But of course, I can't. I miss my dad, I miss my football buddy.

So on December 29, when the Ducks take the field at Qualcom (which to my dying day i'll think of as The Murph), I'll be glad to see them there. And a little sad that my father won't be too.

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