For Duck fans young and old, life since New Year’s Day has been tough: the football team dropped the Rose Bowl; men’s basketball has been embarrassing as Mac Court ends its tenure; and a flurry of arrests and accusations against several football players have been our only news-worthy events. This leaves one major men’s sport still standing – baseball. Although very young in its second life on this campus, the great American pastime is the University of Oregon’s last chance for redemption this year.
Now some might say that the recent mishaps by a few football players shouldn’t have an ill effect on the entire football program or the University. In a perfect world that would true, but in this day an age, athletes are expected to be perfect on and off the field – regardless of what Sir Charles might say.
Nearing the end of the rollercoaster ride of a year in Duck athletics, we as fans are asking for a miracle to save it. A Pac-10 tourney championship for the basketball team would be perfect, but that’s about as likely as no convictions coming from the recent crime spree. The football team won’t have a chance to redeem itself on the field until fall, and most of the nation will still be skeptical. But baseball season commenced last week with a promising win over #4 Cal State Fullerton. With PK Park ready for the opening home series and a growing fan base, baseball can win back the hearts of Duck fans around the world.
Unfortunately our society judges success on wins and losses. Duck baseball has the potential to win the favor of the nation back, but it will take an exceptional season of World Series caliber baseball, as well as a clean season off the field. They cannot do this alone, however, as the members of the football team need to shape up and represent Duck athletics and the University of Oregon to the best of their abilities, too.
So for now, as fans, we can only hope for the best. It is important for us to remember that athletes are human, just like us. It is unfair for us to expect them to be perfect – on or off the field. Sure, this is low point in Duck sports, but true fans don’t turn their backs; true fans don’t give up on their players or coaches; true fans fill the stands in the rain, sleet and snow. As Emilio Estevez would say, true fans know we’ll be okay because when the going gets tough, Ducks fly together.