Autzen With An O

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January 8, 2011 by David Gillaspie

The Boss sings Glory Days and I think of Autzen Stadium, though I had no glory there.

When you play three years of high school varsity football and win four games there’s not much glory anywhere.

In those days Eugene schools played their home games at Autzen.

The North Bend Bulldogs drove over from the coast in the Bulldog Bus, tied on a pair of turf cleats from the shoe room, and got stomped.

It was a big-time experience for all high school players, but it didn’t register because of the beat downs we got there.

It didn’t register until 2003 when the Tigard Tigers won their state championship at Autzen.  I saw more football games that year than anyone has a right to see.  One kid played youth ball, one played JV and dressed for varsity.

That’s three teams to see live, along with college and pro games on tv.

It was heavenly.

After Tigard won the big school title I walked the field.  Bitterness I didn’t recognize slipped away a little bit.  Walking the crowned center reminded me how different the field was from fields affected by ocean tides in North Bend.

A year after my class graduated, the Bulldogs won district.  They owned Autzen.

I felt some of that on Tigard’s big night.

A football player from my younger kid’s class plays for the Ducks now.  A local kid on the team makes a dream season even better, but there’s more.

I’ll be feeling a whole lot better after Autzen becomes THE HOME OF THE NATIONAL CHAMPION UNIVERSITY OF OREGON DUCKS.

If that happens, then loser football team memories will get a little sugar-coating.  Everyone who ever played at Autzen gets a little shine.

Maybe you’re thinking, ‘get over it already’ and you’d be right, but anyone who’s been on the wrong end of a 57-0 game knows what I’m talking about.

It leaves a scar.

A BCS national championship would be like plastic surgery…what scar?

Do you see the O on Autzen?  Is it asking too much to take a green Sharpie and make one of your own?

Do it for Autzen; do it for the game, for the season; just…wait for it…just do it.


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