If it's Just Football. . .

You know what they say- “The higher the climb, the harder the fall.” Unfortunately the Ducks and their fans now know this all too well.

Although some might argue, last night’s loss against Stanford had to be one of the hardest losses the Oregon Football program and it’s fans have ever experienced. So much was riding on this one game and everyone knew it. This was big.

I think I join thousands of Duck fans when I say I literally felt sick both last night and this morning when I woke up feeling like I’d been hit by a truck. After the game, I was on edge, my stomach was in knots and all I could do was hop onto Facebook and Twitter, searching for answers, commiseration and maybe even some hope. Quite honestly what I really wanted to know was how the players were doing. I couldn’t help but feel terrible for the guys I see face to face several times a week, many of which have opened up to me about their lives, their families and even their insecurities. The mother in me wanted so desperately to hug each one of them, especially Marcus Mariota and Josh Huff,  who seemed to take it the hardest. Alas I was in my living room, along with the rest of Duck Nation, absolutely helpless.

Call me crazy but in so many ways last night’s loss feels like a tragedy. Yes, it’s just football and clearly there are many more devastating things that happen in life, but any passionate fan can surely tell you the sting of a defeat like this runs deep. But why? Why does it feel like I just lost a loved one? No, I’m not kidding. Why is all of this so important- not only to team, but to the fans? The answer is much more obvious for the team. They work hard physically, mentally and spiritually every day and although none would admit it, they anticipated that national prize. Not only that but I’m sure all were pulling for Mariota to make that trip to NYC.  No, it’s not over yet but those expectations took a crushing blow last night and they all knew it. Just think, if we all love Mariota, someone we don’t even know, imagine how much more love his teammates have for him. That alone might have instigated those sideline tears.

But what about us? We’re just fans. Why are we so devastated? We don’t have to work like they do. We don’t run drills, get tackled, or jump in the freezing cold ice bath every day, rain or shine. We don’t form a bond with the team- a bond they refer to as “A brotherhood”. We aren’t performing in front of thousands of fans every week who expect perfection and we certainly aren’t laying our bodies on the line for the sake of sport. Why are we crying in our cheerios. . .or grabbing a bottle of gin? Because at the end of the day, we love our team. We love the excitement and bragging rights that victory after victory brings. We’re addicted, chasing that high each and every week. We analyze match ups, make predictions and find camaraderie with those that think alike. We spend hundreds, if not thousands, to fill the stands or even throw parties in our team’s honor. We get to know the players and their lives, pick a favorite and wear their jersey, even in the off-season. We become, at least in our minds, part of the team. So, yeah. When they fall, it hurts. We hurt for them and we hurt for us. There’s no shame in that. It’s called passion. It’s called football.




10 Comments on If it's Just Football. . .

  1. Great post, Nicole. Ultimately it’s the love of the game, the passion and history and appreciation for the effort and sacrifices the players make that makes us care so much. A loss like this is painful, and you’ve helped put it in perspective. I’m looking to see how this team bounces back, and I expect the faithful in Autzen Stadium to greet them with a lot of pride and appreciation next week.

  2. Go Ducks! You rock win or lose!

  3. Love those Ducks! My heart breaks for them. Great teams bounce back, and these Ducks are a great team. They have each other, their families and all of us passionate fans, and they will be even better in spite of this terrible pain.

  4. Well said. This is exactly how I feel. Thank you for putting our feelings into words.

  5. I got really upset last night when those two people on your Facebook questioned my fan hood. Yes I am the fan, like you, that gets upset when they don’t play well, get sick when they lose. I am NoT the kind that cusses out the team, or say they aren’t playing with “fire”. A fan is someone that feels the same heartache and pain that the team feels. Though we don’t strap up the pads with them, but we are one big family, to question that I don’t know anything about football? You should tell those two who I am and what kind of “fan” I am. I guarantee I know more about X’s and O’s of football than that asshole last night.

    • Sorry Peter! I know! I’ll make sure my silly cousins know too! 🙂 You are a the kind of fan I am for sure!

  6. Nice post Nichole! This is so true. I was upset about the loss too but you are right. We are fans. We do not work on drills, sit in ice cold water, take the hits and falls these awesome guys do. Everyone who curses these guys needs to step into their places for just one day. I love the DUCKS and will always cheer them on. While I am still sad, reality is that they are human, just like you and me. There has to be one winner and one loser to any game. Unfortunately this time, it was our DUCKS that lost but they will move on to the next game and will still be the outstanding players, playing with heart, fire and drive that they always do. I still love them and wish them all the very best and will still be there cheering them on!

  7. I grew up in Eugene, been going to Duck games for 40+ years. I’ve lived in Bay Area for over 15 years, but still have season tickets and go to Autzen as often as possible. As I was driving home, I was sick. All day Friday felt like a hangover. And I think to myself “You are a middle aged man, pushing 50… Yet you are sick over a game played by kids…” Yet, there’s more to it than that. Living in the Bay Area, I get excited if I see someone wearing green & yellow. A “Go Ducks” is always greeted with a smile, fist bump & “Go Ducks”. So you see, we are a brotherhood as strong as the team. I love some of my brothers more than others (yes, you guys who want to complain about play calling & coaching aren’t my favorites), but in the end, we all share the same passion. Wins bring joy & excitement, losses pain & despair. Today, I don’t question my passion because without it, I’ll be dead.
    See you in Autzen next Saturday… I still live my Ducks & always will.

    Oh, don’t forget the glee beav nation greeted our loss with. Make sure they remember their place in Civil War.
    Go Ducks

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