January 3, 2010 by David Gillaspie
Each year the ritual begins: find a Christmas tree and plan for the Oregon Ducks bowl game. It’s gotten that routine, tree and post season bowl. Not just any bowl, and not just any tree either.
The Duck football season chooses the tree. Good season, good tree; bad season, bad tree.
After the Boise State game it looked like Christmas would start with a flocked tumbleweed. The season improved and I planned on snagging a decorative shrub from the neighbor’s yard. A couple of wins later the tree would be a trimmed fir from a Safeway lot.
After the Civil War win I drove until I found an organic tree farm with blue spruce. A great season deserves a great tree. A golden oracle angel wired to the top of the tree held all the promise for a big finish.
After New Years day another ritual begins. The Oregon Duck ornaments find their way to their places. The University of Oregon ornaments leave the tree. The regular glass balls and decorations and lights all come down. Finally the golden oracle angel stands alone. We have a few words.
“Did you think Ohio State would run through the Ducks on the first drive?”
“It is said the Stanford game showed a certain weakness.”
“Pryor looked like he hurt his knee on the first drive,” I said.
“The measure of a champion is by his heart, not his knee.”
“But he limped after galloping to a first down.”
“He is a man with much to prove, limp or not.”
“Will he prove it again next year?”
“The question you should ask is if Oregon will prove it again next year.”
“Will Oregon prove it again next year?”
“Yes, there is tradition.”
“Will it be on a big stage?”
“I can say a redwood will be a good Christmas tree.”
An Oregon team got there. They need to get there again to make their mark. They need to win. If I read my oracles right, a national championship game is in the making for Oregon next year.
It’s always good to get there, but better to finish. Getting there one more time and winning will be an Oregon Duck finish for the ages.
Every sports fan goes through what the Ducks made us go through, the hope, the disappointment, the new start.
New hope is the key focus. Yes, the Buckeyes dropped interceptions, they could have scored higher. But so could Oregon.
The stars in a big game lose the jitters faster than the others. The Buckeyes didn’t show any shakes, neither did the Ducks. If I asked the oracle angel on my tree if Pryor was a big star, what would it say?
“Is the Buckeye quarterback a big star?”
“He is no Dante Culpepper yet, or even JaMarcus Russell, but he may rise above them in time.”
“Will that be next year?”
“This is a player with unusual up-side at 6’6″ and 240 pounds. And you saw his speed? Very unusual.”
“I’ll ask it like this, Will Ohio be in a national championship game next year?”
“The vision is cloudy, but I can speak of the Ducks. Next year is a championship year for the Oregon Ducks.”
“In football? We’re still on the same page here? You’re saying the Duck football team wins a national championship next year?”
“My son, I am but an oracle angel and my vision is limited. What you ask is very complicated. Take Terrelle Pryor out of the game and see the difference. The Duck team is stronger and faster, but Pryor is a difference maker.”
“What went wrong in the Rose Bowl, oracle angel?”
“Not enough pressure on Pryor.”
“And the Ducks didn’t get to the edge often enough against the Buckeye D.”
“That sounds right. So you don’t blame the Duck’s quarterback for being too short?”
“Jeremiah Masoli towers over Doug Flutie, and Flutie was not too short to win some big ones. You faith is strong; your quarterback is not too short. But you might look at the run stopping up the middle.”
“Thank you, oracle angel. Until next year then?”
“As it is written.”