Invested in Oregon football season tickets 27 years ago, and also seats for the Oregon Symphony Orchestra.
Whatever happened to those yawn-a-minute classical music tickets?
Reflecting on the purchase of Oregon season seats and directly related contributions to the Duck Athletic Fund, the author of Almost DailyBrett can categorically state: My life has been totally transformed partly as a result: super spouse, college professorship, advanced degree and even a little Valley Fever to build a little character.
Never conceived even for a nanosecond or two that my two humble tickets in Section 33, Row 15, Seats 7-8 near the 30-yard line at Autzen Stadium could mean so much.
When I ordered the season tix, there were only 12,000 brave Oregon season ticket holders. There was an alumni tent in the gravel parking lot. The average crowd was about 25,000, and the mean, hateful, despicable Don James-era Washington Huskies ruled the Pacific Northwest, if not the Pac-10 Conference.
Today, there are more than 42,000 season ticket holders for the always packed friendly confines of Autzen Stadium, where it never rains. The Ducks have beaten the Huskies a series-record (and counting) 12 straight times.
Back in 1990 the Ducks were … the Ducks. They were always a tad above mediocre. Bill Musgrave was the quarterback, surrounded by decent talent. Oregon went 8-4, including a landmark upset of Ty Detmer’s No. 4 BYU Cougars, but lost in the frickin’ Freedom Bowl.
The author of Almost DailyBrett was determined back then, he did not want to go to the Pearly Gates without once watching the Ducks in the Rose Bowl. Oregon was predicted for 10th in the Pac-10 in 1994. And then there was the magical October 22 game against Washington in Autzen Stadium.
For a few seconds, it seemed that time stood still: “Kenny Wheaton is going to score. Kenny Wheaton is going to score … “
The band was playing “Mighty Oregon” on the floor of the Rose Bowl on January 2, 1995. There was not a dry eye on the Oregon side of The Granddaddy of Them All. We lost that day, wearing Champion jerseys and pants in uniforms that would make the Green Bay Packers proud.
Uncle Phil was not on the sidelines. That would soon change.
Akili, Joey, Kellen and Dennis …
Some of the greatest to ever play quarterback for Oregon starred during the Mike Bellotti era (116-57) including Akili Smith, Joey Harrington, Kellen Clemens and Dennis Dixon. They handed the ball off to Reuben Droughns, Maurice Morris and Jonathan Stewart. The likes of Haloti Ngata plugged up the middle on defense.
The author of Almost Daily Brett worked for LSI Logic and Edelman Public Relations during this era and would make frequent trips to Eugene and to road games (e.g., Michigan Big House in 2007) from Silicon Valley – all for the love of Oregon football.
Unfortunately, breathing in the Valley Fever fungus before Oregon’s tight win over Fresno State in Fresno almost led to curtains. Never thought that going to a Duck game could be so deadly to my health. Fought the little Valley Fever bugger to a standstill and dodged prostate cancer as well. The net result: The Chip Kelly era of Oregon football, matrimony, an advanced degree and a second career.
LaMichael, Kenyon, DeAnthony, Darron, Jeanne …
Headed up to Eugene during Chip Kelly’s first year for a game against Cal. Went to more than a football game that fall day in 2009. Stopped off at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication.
Could I be a college teacher? Sure, take the GRE, apply for a fellowship, serve as a TA and devote 15 months of my life to earning a Master of Arts degree.
All the rest is history.
Oh BTW, Oregon went 46-7 in Chip’s four years including a trip to the “Natty,” a thrilling win over Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl with a high-speed, spread offense that revolutionized football.
Uncle Phil was stepping up big time with the Moshofsky Indoor Practice facility (no more alumni tent in the gravel parking lot), an academic support center for athletes and an incredible football complex.
Landed an emergency adjunct instructor position at Oregon, which led to a July 4, 2012 Match.com date with a fantabulous Fraulein by the name of Jeanne. She is now Jeanne Brett.
Heisman Marcus; Rose Bowl Blowout
Nearing the end of my sixth decade on the planet, my UO advanced degree, teaching experience and my extensive background made me competitive for a tenure-track assistant professorship in public relations and advertising.
The drive from Ellensburg’s Central Washington University to Oregon’s Autzen Stadium is about six hours. It has been worth every minute as the Ducks continued to overachieve under Mark Helfrich (33-8). Marcus Mariota won the Heisman, and easily outdueled Jameis Winston in the Jan. 1, 2015 Rose Bowl, 59-20.
The Ducks have come a long way from the days when yours truly wondered if they would ever play in Pasadena on New Year’s Day, let alone twice competing for the national championship.
If you are scoring at home, Oregon is 226-100 ever since your author bought his season seats in 1990. The Ducks have won seven conference championships, went to two national championship games, played in four Rose Bowls, winning the last two, and two Fiesta Bowls, winning both. All-in-all, the Ducks have been to 23 bowls during this time.
More importantly, the tickets have been so much more than precious pieces of cardboard with bar codes. They have represented new love (e.g., Jeanne), a challenge (e.g., Valley Fever), an intellectual achievement (e.g. M.A. degree); valuable teaching experience (e.g., adjunct instructor): and a new career as a professor and mentor (e.g., assistant professor).
All-in-all, I am One Ducky Dude. Can hardly wait for fall.