I recently moved to Oregon and have been sub-par in the meeting friends department.
Apparently, online dating doesn’t work like the commercials. The fake happiness found on a Newport cigarette billboard got nothin’ on Match.com ads.
I picked up the phone and dialed up my buddy’s cousin, Shawna. He had given me her number before I left Chicago, and I completely forgot about it until last week.
As we texted back and forth, I found out she was a Bears fan.
So now I solved the friend problem AND I solved my not-having-anybody-to-watch-Bears-games problem.
The best part?
While we were watching the Bears/Falcons game last week, not only did a lady show up to watch the game with me, not only did a Bears fan show up to watch the game with me, but a lady Bears fan who knows a great deal about football showed up to watch the game with me. Note: She did not arrive wearing a pink Cutler jersey.
Although, I would have accepted a pink Fridge jersey.
... Now that I think about it, as Portlandian-anti-normalcy thoughts pop into my head, wouldn’t it be awesome to see a dude pull off a pink Jay Cutler jersey? Just a thought.
In order to deteriorate my manliness even further, a short story is in order: As we were watching the game, our new TE Matt Spaeth caught a pass. Shawna asked me, “What do you think of Spaeth?”
I blanked. I had no clue who he was. So I just mumbled, “Uhhh, yeah, well, a rookie without a full training camp could potentially have a pretty slow year, but we’ll see.”
I don’t think she heard me, which was awesome, because Spaeth has been in the league for 5 years, formally playing for the Steelers.
So either I’m an idiot, or she knows her football. And yes, it’s definitely both.
I also found out that she was a fan of the mighty Oregon State Beavers, which led to the idea for my OSN column #2 - a chat with her about OSU fandom. I know nothing of Oregon sports involving any non-TrailBlazer stuff, so this would be a great way for me to learn more about the state I live in and the story of an “underdog.” Cough, cough.
Hey! As I’m sure you know, OSU has been having a bit of trouble this season, so I figured an interview with a lovely lady who knows her football could give fans at least 10 cents of hope for the rest of this 7 cent season.
Before we started the official interview, we talked about teams we hated. She kept bringing up the Dallas Cowboys. She can’t stand them. Something about oh, maybe, over-excessiveness. We also sprinkled in some South Park talk. I mentioned the Cent-Ipad episode, and she gave me this look like I had admitted to being the ghost writer for Ben Roethlisberger’s online dating profile. Don’t get me wrong, she really likes South park, but she won’t be watching that episode again. Naturally, I asked how her Cowboys hate and Human Centipede hate were related, and she goes “At least the Dallas Cowboys don’t eat each other’s feces.”
Yep, this is where the interview was going. And if you’ve never heard of the Human Centipede, just don’t. But really, do. Youtube “Human Centipede trailer”. And of course, I kinda warned you.
So, without further ado, here was our OSU chat. I’m in bold (because I need to boost my ego after that Spaeth comment).
Pretend that I am am OSU Fan. Give me a reason not to jump off the Broadway bridge, besides the water's obvious frigidity.
Well, they're only two games in for one. And, there's still potential for us to win a few games. I mean, to get into a bowl game, you only have to win half your games. So what's that, like six games?
Do you think six is possible?
I think that it's possible. I don't think that it's likely, but I do think it's possible.
Even after those first two games? They were pretty bad.
They were pretty bad, but they were the first two games. And Rogers wasn't playing for one - I don't know how much difference he'll make as one single player, but their freshman running back Agnew did really well in the first game. Then he got hurt, so he didn't get to come back for the second game.
Is he gonna come back soon?
We're hoping he'll be back by UCLA, which is next Saturday.
Who's this guy Rogers?
James Rogers. He's Jacquizz Rogers’ older brother.
What position does he play?
So he's pretty good?
Yeah, he did really well. He got hurt last season. He was able to medical redshirt, because he didn't play enough games to have to sit out the whole season and cost him a year. So he can play another year. I don't know if he's a junior or senior this year, but he'll be back hopefully by UCLA, and yeah, he's good. He'll make a difference. I don't know if he'll make a big enough difference, but he'll definitely make a difference.
So he could probably help you guys win a game or two.
I think so. And if we get Agnew back and healthy, and he continues to do well... he's a true freshman, so he's got potential as well. I think Katz is kind of a lost cause, but they've been playing Mannion. He's a redshirt freshman, and they've been playing him a lot more. He's struggling too, but since he's only a redshirt freshman, he's got more time to improve than Katz, who I think is a junior.
Go with the young guy.
Yeah, if you're gonna lose, you might as well exercise your freshman.
If this Oregon State season was a dish, what would it be?
A dish, like food?
Like a meal of food, so far. If you could compare it to something. Hypothetical dish too. Like a sandwich with a hair that you found in it that was definitely not your hair. It could be anything.
Ok, I think it could be any dish that lacks seasoning.
It's just kinda bland, and it needs some work. So it could be anything, spaghetti or anything that's just not very well seasoned.
Which emotion was stronger? Hate for your losses? Love for Oregon's defeat? Their negative start or your negative start?
I didn't go to OSU for my undergrad, so I probably don't feel as strongly as some OSU people, because I like to see Oregon do well as a team. I just don't like Oregon fans.
Kinda like Packer fans. They're just kinda bandwagoners. They jump on, because Oregon is doing well, so I like to see Oregon lose, just to spite their fans. But I think I'm more disappointed to see Oregon State lose than happy to see Oregon lose.
Ok, good. True fan then.
Yeah. I just like the disappointment of the Oregon fans when Oregon loses. THAT makes me happy.
Pick the one thing that you guys just aren't doing well. I mean, obviously you aren't doing a lot of things well, but after seeing the team, what really sucks?
They don't protect the quarterback very well. And I don't know if that's just a common problem with lots of teams, but the quarterback definitely doesn't have much time to work with... and their passing game is not good. Most of the good things they did against Sacramento State, because they did almost win that game, were running plays. They didn't do a whole lot of passing. Katz did really poorly. And then when they put Mannion in, they didn't have him throw very much. They did a lot of handoffs. So, their running game was good, and that was mostly Agnew in that first game. And if they keep playing Mannion, I think that that will get better, because he's young... but they need better protection for their quarterback. And their defense wasn't really that good against Wisconsin, but their defense was better than their offense for sure. I mean, in the first quarter, I thought they might actually hold ‘em to a lower score.
(both of us laughing)
But that didn't happen. Although their defense was really good against the running game, but not against the passing game.
When I mentioned you had cooler uniforms than my school, Purdue, you came back with umm ... because uhh... what's his name?
Likes to extend his generous hand to the other school in Oregon sometimes.
How does that make you feel?
I can't blame him. Oregon is his school, not OSU, so he has no obligation to Oregon State. I mean yeah, I think it's excessive how many uniforms Oregon has for sure, but the uniforms he gave us for the Civil War game last year were really cool. And those helmets were fantastic. So I kinda like it when he...
Splurges on OSU a bit?
Haha. Yeah, I like it, definitely, because I like the uniforms we get, but I guess I don't really expect it of him. It's not his school.
And who is he?
The founder of Nike? I thought everyone knew that. Thought that was just common knowledge.
I don't have a lot of corporate knowledge (removing the word corporate from this sentence may or may not actually still make the statement factually correct).
Nike has it's base here in Oregon.
Well I knew that, I guess. That's probably why you would know about Phil Knight.
Yeah, so that's why they have so many uniforms and so many... I think they have like six different helmets. No other school, like not even Notre Dame, has six different helmets. No professional teams even have six different helmets.
It's kind of excessive to the point where it's like they don’t have a symbol of who they are.
I'm saying with jerseys though. There are so many teams like the Notre Dames or the USCs... You just see their jerseys and you’re like ‘yeah that's their team,’ but with Oregon...
That's true... but it is always exciting to wonder what jerseys are they going to wear that day.
I mean, then we can just start talking about how people are always changing their mind from one thing to another and society and blah blah blah and how no one's good with what's going on at the time and everything always has to change, but I kinda like when a team sticks with a classic look and goes with it. Some continuity.
Yeah, like a definitive look, you know, it's like their look. Everyone knows it (I tried to inject some societal content/rantyness into the discussion. Shawna handled it like a pro and kept it strictly sports. Respect.)
Something about it changing all the time just doesn't... it feels like something's starting over.
If I was on a team, I'd like having that many different outfits.
Haha. Ok, so it's...
Haha. Well maybe that's because I'm female, and I like having lots of clothes.
When you do have a team that puts up this many stinkers early in the season...
It's only two.
They were bad. They lost to a team in a lower conference. FBS vs. FCS. And those types of losses only happen five times a year IN ALL of college football. So, it's a big deal.
(After I said the above, her face instantly became dissapointed, like she had just found out that sunshine didn’t exist anymore) I didn't know that stat. Now I feel worse about it. Thanks.
(both laughing, a lot)
It was close. At least it wasn't a blowout.
Yeah, OSU played really bad that game. I mean, Sacramento State played well, but OSU played really bad.
And then they didn't score a point the next week. So...
So they didn't really bounce back very well.
So now that I'm being a bad interviewer and leading you in a biased direction, can you just completely turn around a season like that? Is it possible that your leadership can be so strong that, BOOM, next week...
Like turn around and having a winning season? I don't think that OSU has the talent to turn around and have a winning season.
So it does have a lot to do with the talent right now.
I think so. Yeah. I mean, I think that if you have a really good team, you could turn things around, like if you just had a bad game, you can turn that around, but I don't think that OSU has the talent this year for that.
Alright. Let's say we put you in that position. We put you in a leadership role in the OSU locker room. Is there anything you'd be able to say or is there anything you think one of their leaders should do or say? How would you motivate the team?
Well I don't think they should TELL them that they don't have the talent to turn around or comeback.
Haha, ok, that would be the first part. Don't tell them that they suck.
Haha. If they don't already know, let them keep thinking there's a chance. I mean, I think the only thing that they can do right now is stay healthy and stay positive and not get any more of their important players hurt.
So a one step at a time situation.
And look towards the games that they can win and focus on those. Because there's some, like Stanford... I don't think they're going to beat Stanford. Utah? I don't think they're going to beat Utah. They should focus more on the teams that they can beat.
That's good. See if they could at least get a couple wins. Maybe get a couple nights of good partying going at OSU. Keep the fans interested.
Keep the morale going.
Ok, so, here's the rest of their schedule. Going through these games, what do you think? We'll start with UCLA.
UCLA - I'm not sure how UCLA's doing right now, but I think that that's one that they potentially win, if they play really well. I'm not sure how likely it is, but I think potentially they could.
@ Arizona State - And I'm not sure about Arizona State. I'm not sure how they're looking this year; I haven't watched any of their games.
Arizona - I watched AZ play Stanford, but it's hard to say, because Stanford looked so good. Stanford really ran the ball down AZ throats. AZ looks like a team that kinda seems vulnerable. Yeah, if OSU can get their running game going ... I think OSU has potential for a good running game, at least with Agnew.
BYU - When I watched BYU play Utah, I don't know if Utah is just really, really good, and that might be why BYU did poorly, but they turned the ball over A LOT. Sloppy? Yeah, and they got frazzled and turned the ball over so I mean, if OSU's defense does well and then can get turnovers like Utah did... Slow the game down, run the ball solidly. I can see it. They could do well against them.
@Washington State - I know they could potentially beat Washington State, and I know that they lost to WSU last year, and it was a big deal, but WSU isn't a consistent team, so I think that they could potentially win that one. Is that a rivalry? OSU/WSU? I don't know. Not really. Two close state teams going up against each other? Not like Oregon and Oregon State. WSU has been SO BAD the last several years that they're not really anyone’s rival. Haha. The team is so bad that they don't have a rival. That’s good. Well I guess Washington could be there rival, but Washington's been really good and WSU has been really bad, so it hasn't really been much of a rivalry, but WSU was better last year than they have been in years past.
@Utah & Stanford - I know that Utah and Stanford, they can't beat.
@Cal - (Rookie interviewer mistake, not crossing off teams while going through them. Didn’t get her opinion on Cal, but after looking at Cal's recent results, they seem like they have their stuff together, enough to probably beat OSU.)
Washington - I don't think that they'll be able to beat Washington.
@Oregon - I doubt that they would be able to beat Oregon, especially because they’re at Autzen this year, so I'm pretty sure there's no way they're gonna beat them.
Let's say Oregon ran the table for the rest of the year, and OSU kinda did what they've been doing lately, and ended up, at the end of the year, beating Oregon. What kinda of response do you think that would bring?
I think, probably a pretty surprised one. I think that would probably surprise EVERYBODY.
Would Eugene get torn down? Would there be some burning of things?
No, I don't think so.
So it wouldn't be that intense?
I don't think so. MAYBE they would feel that strongly about it, but I tend to doubt it.
Let's say Oregon is a one loss team by the time they play, and no one else has gone undefeated, so they have a chance to go to the national title game - what about then?
I think people would be pretty angry with Oregon State for not letting them have it. Haha.
Letting them have it...
People would be very, very angry, except for Oregon State fans, so everybody but OSU fans would be angry. Haha (She said this in a tone that made it sound like there were only four OSU fans in all of Oregon).
My last question was going to be "What would it take for you to root for Oregon?" but it seems like you aren't THAT anti-Oregon.
No, I'm not really that anti-Oregon. I’m anti-Oregon fans, so it's hard to me to root for Oregon fans, because I don't like to see them happy, but at the same time, I like Oregon to be well represented, because people don't think about Oregon that much. We’re not a big sports state in the national eye. When people think of football, they don't think of Oregon. I mean, now that Oregon has been to the national championship and all that...
So you like success for Oregon as a state in general?
Yeah, I like the representation for Oregon.
So you just don’t really like Oregon fans. You think they're kinda like Packer fans...
What if one of them saved your cats from a burning building, and they were like "Go Oregon!" You just had your cats saved. You’d be really, really excited about that. Would there be that hatred there, or is it not that strong?
Ummmm, no I would still hate Oregon fans, just not that particular one.
Ok, so you'd be alright with that one for that moment.
And then maybe 10 minutes later...
Well it depends. There is a range of douchiness... Hahahaha ...for Oregon fans. I have a good friend who’s an Oregon fan, and I don't really think he's a douche-bag. He didn't go to Oregon though. His family didn't go to Oregon. He has no reason to be an Oregon fan, which bothers me, but, I also have another friend of a friend. He's not my friend, because I don't like him, and he never went to Oregon, and he's like the epitome of douche-bag Oregon fan. He hates OSU, hates everything to do with OSU. Like, is just a complete asshole about OSU, and he didn't even go to Oregon. And they have a joke that every Oregon fan has heard, or every Oregonian has heard, I don't know if you've heard it:
“What do Oregon State fans and Oregon fans have in common?”
“Neither one of them went to Oregon.”
Haha. That's pretty good.
Anyone in Oregon has heard that joke. But it's true. It's not really a joke. If you didn't go to OSU, you're usually not an OSU fan.
So you're a rarity.
I'm an OSU fan, because I may go there. I’m hoping to go there and a lot of my friends went there, and I don't want to be an Oregon fan. So, that's my opinion.
So Oregon State fans, there you have it. An educated-by-her-football-loving-pops opinion from a positive, yet realistic, OSU fan. And gentlemen, if you’re interested in sparking up a conversation with this footballista/firecracker/anti-UofO-fan wonderwoman, you’ll be able to find Shawna at Reser during home games and otherwise at your neighborhood dive, rooting for the Beavers and Bears until football is deemed unconstitutional.