Erik Quinn: The Heart of a Family: Civil War

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Civil War

Ah, college. You couldn't come remotely close to convincing me to repeat those years of my life for all of the money in the world. Saying I hated it would be an understatement. Frankly, the parts I have the misfortune of remembering I have tried quite unsuccessfully to forget. If I have to say something positive about it, I would state that a lot of what shaped me as an adult came from that time period and the years surrounding it. However, what happened during those years comprises another long, horribly painful, almost unbelievable story, parts of which I have shared with only a couple of people over the years. I have never shared the entire story with a living soul and likely never will. I would much rather think about Brian's more pleasant college experience than my own, and I do so on a regular basis, especially around football season.

Brian and I attended the OSU Civil War Dinner and auction last night benefiting the athletic scholarship fund. This Friday my college team, the Oregon Ducks, play Brian's college team, the Oregon State Beavers. This is an ancient tradition by Northwest standards, as this rivalry was born in 1894. I have a very difficult time enjoying the Civil War game because I attended the University of Oregon but readily cheer for Oregon State now, having a season ticket available to me when I feel like traveling with Brian to see them play. Being born into a Duck-oriented family, I admit it was difficult to get my mouth to open and any sound to come out to cheer for the Beavs at first, but I have become accustomed to it. I am now a great fan of both Oregon teams.

Last night Brian and I both dressed up to the best of our ability and dropped Erik off at Boppa and Gramma's house before heading to the country club for the event. There were many tables of wonderful items to bid on in silent auctions, including art, baskets of beer, fly fishing trips, and quilts. Brian bid on a day of golf. I was one of about three Duck fans in attendance. There was a booth set up in the dining room with three large wooden nutcrackers dressed in tiny Duck basketball jerseys to be knocked over with bean bags for prizes. My studmuffin husband easily knocked down two of them and won a flashy orange and black Beaver watch. We chose places to sit and were eventually joined at our table by some other older, slightly annoyingly higher maintenance Beaver alumni. Almost everyone was wearing bright orange and black and sported obnoxious but festive orange lapel pins that flashed incessantly. We enjoyed plated dinners of beautifully presented chicken breasts and thick, slightly bloody steaks (no duck, thank goodness). The live auction was a riot. Brian bid on a framed photograph of a local mountain lake, a free Porsche rental, and a stay at the casino, although we were far too cheap to actually fight for and win anything. We also bid on after-dinner sweets in something called the "dessert dash." The table who raised the most money had first pick from a long table of delicious desserts, including glossy pumpkin pies, gorgeous pastries, and cupcakes grouped together and frosted in the shape of a turkey donated by local merchants. The rest of the tables would be called one by one by highest to lowest donation. The table who bid the least would receive the last choice booby prize, a basket of America's favorite non-biodegradable desserts -- Twinkies and Ding Dongs. As they called out tables, a representative from each table literally ran up to select an item. Being chock full of meat, sprinting to grab a rich dessert wearing kitten heels was the last thing on my mind. Brian ran for the benefit of our table and successfully avoided the Twinkies/Ding Dongs with our very modest contribution, although one table actually ended up fighting for the Hostess delicacies. Different strokes, I guess. There was a short video featuring the OSU coach talking about preparing for the game, a speech by a thankful scholarship recipient on the baseball team, and a wacky auctioneer who called his wife on his cell phone during the sale and had the entire crowd scream "GO BEAVERS" (she's apparently a Duck, too).

(Cue the harp music and Nancy fading into an unrelated daydream)

As I sat watching the festivities in this beautiful hall, everything swirled into a black and orange blur. I realized the last time we were in that room together was the day we got married. Brian's hair was hardly gray back then. I remember the balloons...the cake...the beautiful tables...the butterflies in my stomach --

And then I realized Brian was talking to me. His lips were moving, and he had obviously asked me a question.


Uh, sorry...what?



Brian may be gray, but I'm apparently going deaf with age and cramming headphones in my ears on a daily basis for work (plus, I hide my gray, so that's hardly fair). I stopped to explain to him what I was daydreaming about, and we both laughed. Life is certainly different now than the day we walked down the aisle. We seem so much older now in many ways.

After the auction wrapped up and the food was consumed, we headed home through a weak, slushy snow flurry. We arrived just in time to see Erik off to bed and liberate Boppa from his babysitting duties. All and all, it was a great evening, and I enjoyed myself immensely, but I'll be glad when this Civil War nonsense is over! Brian will head off to the game Friday with his newly-purchased deep fat poultry fryer and two poor ducks to put in it for his tailgating party menu. It's hard having a mixed marriage sometimes, but I have learned to roll with it, dead poultry and all.


Civil War (college football game)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Civil War is the colloquial name for the annual college football game in the U.S. state of Oregon between intrastate rivals Oregon State University (the OSU Beavers) and the University of Oregon (the U of O Ducks). First played in 1894, it is the oldest college football rivalry on the West Coast of the United States, and the seventh longest in the nation.

The game is played in November, alternating between Reser Stadium in Corvallis (home field of Oregon State University) and Autzen Stadium in Eugene (home field of the University of Oregon). It has been contested 109 times as of 2005. The University of Oregon holds a series lead of 55-44-10. The game was not contested in 1900, 1901, 1911, 1943, and 1944.

The Civil War briefly had a traveling trophy, an abstract maple-carved statue of a platypus (a creature which resembles a cross between a duck and a beaver). The Platypus Trophy was awarded from 1959 to 1962, after which it disappeared. Rediscovered in 2005 in a closet at the University of Oregon's MacArthur Court, there is a move to revive the Platypus Trophy as part of Civil War tradition.

Other athletic contests (most notably, men's and women's basketball) between the schools are also referred to as "Civil War" games; however the term is most commonly used to refer to the annual football game.

The 1983 contest between the two teams produced a scoreless tie. Played during a rainstorm (and pitting two mediocre squads against each other), the game is commonly known as the "Toilet Bowl", due to the poor quality of play exhibited in the game (it was not a steadfast defensive struggle). No NCAA Division I football game has ended in a scoreless tie since, and due to the recent introduction of overtime into NCAA football (which eliminated ties), it is unlikely to ever happen in the future, unless a subsequent rule change allows tie games to once again occur.

All Civil War games since 1997 have resulted in a victory for the home team.


Anonymous Gramma said...

Those college days were hard times for us, too. I to this day don't know what we could have done better as parents. Regardless, we're proud of the woman you became.
I haven't actually found myself hollering, "Go Beavs!" but I can, in my quiet Duck way, enjoy watching the Beavers play, and would rather that they win, rather than lose (unless, of course, it's Civil War). That's a huge step!
Go Nance! You're great!

Love, Mom

12:51 PM  
Anonymous Lisa S. said...

A friend of mine just referred to herself as a platypus-- duck on the front end, beaver on the rear. :D Thought you'd get a kick out of that. Erik is a platypus by nature. ;)

2:16 PM  

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