By Hugh Duvall
Last night the University of Oregon Ducks played the Oregon State University Beavers in a “Civil War” basketball game. All of these civil war games are deeply meaningful to Oregonians. This is because fans associated with each school feel strongly, to their very core, to the center of the marrow of their thigh bones, about one thing: Their school’s players from California are better than the other school’s players from California. And they are darn serious about it. If you come across any of them discussing this topic, back away slowly. If necessary, curl up on the ground and play dead, like wildlife experts tell you to do when confronting a grizzly bear.
I feel pride in the talent of these young men from California too, but sadly, each civil war puts a knot in my stomach. I am a graduate of each school. I am a beaver and a duck. Some say that makes me a platypus. This, of course, is absurd. I will share with you this real quote from Yahoo! Answers on the subject of whether a platypus is the offspring of a duck and a beaver:
“There is no possible way a bird and a beaver could interbreed – one’s a bird and one’s mammal. It’d be like you having a baby with a crow.”
Not so fast, Yahoo! Answer. What is your Yahoo! Answer to, ‘How do you explain North Korea’s Kim Jong Un?’ Yeah. I thought so.
The UO ducks refer to themselves as “The Fighting Ducks.” The OSU beavers lack a formal adjective. Some people refer to them as “Those Damn Beavers,” but these people are usually members of opposing teams. As for OSU, they take a more international approach to self-aggrandizement. They refer to themselves as “Beaver Nation.” So, an Oregon civil war, in essence, is a contest between a band of warrior ducks and a nation-state of walking incisors. It’s a real sight. Nothing you want to miss, that’s for sure. And I didn’t.
In the end, it was a freakish blowout. The California Fighting Ducks lambasted the California Beaver Nation 85-43. So now when I run into any of my duck friends who know I have torn loyalties, there is only one thing for me to do –
curl up on the ground and play dead.