February 27, 2010 - 4:40 PM
The unfortunate thing about football season is that it eventually must come to an end. With this, all of the campus-related activities that relate to football also come to an end, like intramural football. Every year I play on my fraternity's intramural football team that plays in the league that extends through the fall term. With only five regular season games, every game is crucial and very competitive. Intramural football is my favorite intramural sport to play and I always miss it after the season is over.
The student recreation center came up with great idea to allow all of the football lovers to to play the great game of football even in the winter term. Today I played in a flag football tournament in Autzen Stadium. Although it was empty, it is nice to be able to say that I have played in this historic stadium, known around the country for the noise that never ends due to the stadium's unique bowl-shaped configuration. There were ten teams in the tournament and it was double elimination, so each team was guaranteed two games. The slogan "it never rains in Autzen" held true as the sun was shining all morning and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. We didn't play as well as we had hoped but we did it more for the experience. Our frustration with our performance was quickly erased as we were supplied with free Muscle Milk for participating. For whatever reason the drinking fountains weren't working within the stadium so the cold beverages were a nice touch amid the hot sun.
Some might disagree, but I feel that today was the first day of the year that has felt like spring time. The sun has been out a few times in the past few weeks but it has still been somewhat cold. After leaving Auzen Stadium with my fresh chocolate flavored Muscle Milk I decided that is was still much too nice out to waste the day sitting inside. I was starving so I decided to grab some breakfast at Studio One, a delicious cafe right off of campus. After enjoying a nice meal in the sun I went home and joined my roommates for a game of basketball. We were going to go the recreation center, which tends to be a hub for most basketball activity, but we decided to play in the parking lot of the church that is right across the street from our house. The church has an old hoop that is rarely in use so it is quite convenient. I rolled up the sleeves on my shirt to try to catch some rays and avoid the notorious farmers tan that is always an annoyance. We began playing and next thing we knew we had been playing for a few hours. We had a party at my house for my birthday on Friday night, so now it's time to clean up the aftermath. Sunshine will put anyone in a good mood, and I can't wait for another spring term in Eugene.
February 25, 2010 - 4:29 PM
Even though the Ducks football team wasn't able to leave Pasadena with a Rose Bowl victory, the season was still viewed as a success considering that we were able to knock off the highly esteemed USC Trojans and win the Pacific 10 Conference. Shortly thereafter, our coaching staff was able to bring in what ESPN considered to be the 13th best recruiting class in the nation, including Lache Seastrunk, arguably the best high school running back in the country.
Unfortunately, recent events involving football players in Eugene has shed a negative light on the program's recent successes.
Since the end of the season, multiple players have been tied to various crimes around campus, and some of these players have been arrested and kicked off of the football team all together. Head Coach Chip Kelly recently had a segment on ESPN in which he was asked about the off-field dilemmas and how it has effected the football team as a whole. He said that he can't be around the team all the time and it is embarrassing for the program and for the University of Oregon all together. Some have begun to compare this Oregon team to the University of Miami teams of the 80s and 90s, whose actions prompted the school to be appropriately nicknamed "Thug U."
Regardless of what has occurred I feel that we still have depth in enough positions to put a successful team on the field. Whether LaMichael James is ever allowed to play again or not, the signing of Seastrunk has provided our team with another stellar running back who should have no problem making an impact early in his college career. Despite the allegations against Jeremiah Masoli involving a fraternity break in, there has been nothing to suggest that he will be kept off of the field next season.
After the bowl games were over Sports Illustrated ranked the Ducks at number six for the post season rankings. The publication's reason for doing so was the fact that we will be returning so many offensive starters from this last year's team. As a senior, this next season is Masoli's last chance to make a name for himself in college football. He has had two years to become acquainted with Oregon's tricky offense and he put up impressive numbers this last season. He has all of the tools to lead the Ducks to another Pac 10 championship and beyond. With Pete Carroll's recent departure from USC, it could be time for a changing of the guard in the Pac 10.
Every so often my fraternity holds an event called a brotherhood. With everyone as busy as we are during the school year it is nice to get everyone together for a little fun. Tonight we are getting everyone together for some bowling. I am not the best bowler in the world but I can usually throw it straight enough to knock a couple of pins down. What is bowling without a cold beer? I turned 21 last Tuesday, and let me tell you, being of age feels phenomenal.
February 21, 2010 - 11:02 AM
In my three years at the University of Oregon I can't remember the last time it was sunny out during week eight of the winter term. The sun was shining all weekend and I made sure to be outside catching as many rays as possible. The roof on my fraternity house is flat and very wide, so when the sun is shining this tends to be one of the most popular leisure spots. We just recently finished renovating the destroyed basketball hoop in our front yard, so those who weren't on the roof decided to dive in to a pick up basketball game.
Yesterday morning I happened to be walking by the student recreation center and I noticed a sign that said that the first 50 students to attend the women's tennis match received a free t-shirt. I love free clothes, and I had never been to any type of competitive tennis match before, so I decided to go with a few of my friends. The Ducks were taking on the Alabama Crimson Tide, and seemed to be doing well from what I could see. Watching the match allowed me to support my Ducks and gain some exposure to a sport that I had never watched in a live setting before. The free -shirt is pretty radical, and I happen to be wearing it as I write this blog!
As the day progressed and I became tired from laying in the sun, I remembered that the Oregon Men's basketball team had a game against the Golden Bears from the University of California. Given that this season is the last one to ever be played in Macarthur Court, I decided I should probably go to a game, considering that I will be one of only a few University of Oregon graduates who will be able to say that they were at the U of O to witness games in both Macarthur Court as well as Matthew Knight Arena. The struggles continue for the Ducks as they once again find themselves at the bottom of the Pacific 10 Conference. With a promising start to the season, the hopes of being a part of March Madness have slipped away, unless the Ducks can find some way to win the Pacific 10 tournament. Coach Kent was successful in attracting some highly-noted recruits to the University of Oregon, now it becomes a matter of whether or not he will be able to develop his young players by the time they are upperclassmen. With a new stadium on the rise for next season, Duck fans are hopeful that a simple change in location to an amazing new stadium will jump start the Ducks in the right direction. Matthew Knight Arena, which began as nothing more than an idea, has blossomed into a basketball cathedral that can be seen from the top of Spencer Butte in the foothills of Eugene.
The top of Spencer Butte allows viewers to see the progress of our new stadium, as well as the large O that is tattooed on the front of Autzen Stadium. The hike itself isn't too difficult, and the view from the top is breathtaking. As spring time is slowly becoming more of a reality, I plan to spend as much time as I can in the lovely West Coast sunshine.
February 18, 2010 - 4:45 PM
For the past few weeks I have been working through Allen Hall Public Relations to try to create some awareness for our client, Habitat for Humanity, and its new ReStore opening in the Eugene/Springfield area. Throughout this process it was decided that a great way to make people aware of this new ReStore is to try to find students who are interested in volunteering and helping with various projects. Fortunately, the University of Oregon has an office that dedicates its time to organizing community service projects, and finding students who have the desire to participate. While being at the University of Oregon I have realized that there are many people in the greater community who care about service and helping others. While here I have met multiple students who want to dedicate their lives to serving others. At the ReStore in Eugene/Springfield there are only two paid employees. Everyone else who works there is there on their own time because they enjoy doing things for the community. Luckily for University of Oregon students there is an organization called the Service Learning Program in the heart of campus that creates volunteer opportunities for students to partake in.
There are many groups on campus who use this service to organize certain events. For example, every student at the University of Oregon that is involved in the greek system is required to complete three hours of community service per term. Each fraternity and sorority has a person who is given the title of Community Service Chair or something like it. These people can go through such an organization to help find events to send their members to to complete this requirement.
Like I said before, there are also people who use this organization that have no community service requirement, but they do it because they enjoy assisting other people in the community.
Our main goal was to create a Habitat for Humanity group or club on campus that would involve consistent volunteer work at the new ReStore. Through this we would provide students with another way to serve the community, and we would be doing our job by creating greater awareness about the newly opening ReStore at the same time. In the near future we are going to be organizing an event that will allow interested students to come by and see if it is something they might be interested in doing. Additionally we are going to gear our group or club towards fundraising. One of the major issues facing the new ReStore right now is the fact that the income of money is limited due to the fact that the store is brand new, so the ReStore can't afford to partake in all of the projects that it would like to. Those who might not be able to physical provide service can still make an impact by donating money. Fortunately, the ReStore has some interesting projects coming up that could attract volunteers. Soon the staff and volunteers will be painting a gigantic mural that is located in the store.
No matter what kind of service you like to, you will always be able to find something in Eugene, thanks to the services of the Service Learning Program.
February 11, 2010 - 4:57 PM
As spring time nears, the days count down until the first pitch is thrown to spark a new season of Oregon Baseball. With the team's new field completed, all Oregon fans are hopeful that the Ducks can right the wrongs of last season. Coach Horton has high expectations for this year's baseball squad. In fact, he told the Oregon Daily Emerald that he would be disappointed if the Ducks didn't make it to the College World Series, held in Omaha, Nebraska in legendary Rosenblatt Stadium.
As is the case with most new programs, the Ducks struggled last season, dropping 26 of their last 28 games. Remembering the disappointment of last year's season, the players need to forget about the past and take on this season with force as they have a replenished team, with new talent, that is eager to take the field. The Ducks have a chance to shock the league and do some damage. As might be expected, the rest of the Pacific 10 Conference doesn't view this Ducks team as being a major threat. The coaches of the Pac 10 have picked the Ducks to finish last in the conference for this season. In my opinion, this works in favor of the Ducks. When your team is picked to finish first in a division or conference, it means one thing: Every team will be excited and ready to play you, and every team will throw their best pitcher at you. The story won't be the same for the Ducks. When you are picked to finish last, it means that every team will underestimate your capabilities. Teams will overlook you which gives you the chance to catch them off guard. Also, teams won't want to waste a good pitcher on a team that isn't supposed to be any good. In this respect, the Ducks batters will usually be facing the pitchers that aren't yet good enough to be number one starters.
Even last season the Ducks proved that they can compete with some of the best teams in the country. In an extra-inning game in PGE Park in Portland last spring, the Ducks defeated the Oregon State Beavers at a neutral site. It was only a few years ago that the Beavers won back to back World Series, a feat that is rarely accomplished.
As every coach will preach, the Ducks need to prevent themselves from overlooking teams that may appear weak, as many teams will do to them. Last season, for whatever reason, the Ducks lost twice to the Portland Pilots. At the same time, in the home opener they defeated the Fresno State Bulldogs who have won a College World Series more recently than the Beavers have.
It will be interesting to see how the season unfolds. Coach Horton expects a trip to Omaha, while the rest of the Pacific 10 thinks the Ducks are going no were fast. It is on the shoulders of the younger members of last year's team to take over and become leaders, and take the team where it wants to go. With the season right around the corner, I can't wait to be in the bleachers at PK Park watching our Ducks play ball in the spring-time sun shine.