December 30, 2009 - 7:32 PM
So, I was lucky enough to attend not one but two Golden State Warriors basketball games while home this break. Watching basketball games is not a normal activity while at home, and these two games were abnormal for the Warriors as well. On Saturday, they beat Steve Nash's Phoenix Suns in a classic western shootout that ended 137-127. Put simply, it was two explosive offenses going toe to toe, and the Warriors found themselves on top when all was said and done. But even more impressive was tonight's 103-99 victory over the Boston Celtics. Granted it was a Celtics team sans Paul Pierce, but when you have KG and Ray Allen on the floor, I don't discount that win whatsoever.
So, I was delighted for change of pace in my sporting world and I was equally gratified to dish out some Bay Area love in my normal offseason as a San Francisco Giants diehard. But my weekend's dose of NBA gave me time to do some people watching in a completely different setting, which was quite intriguing. You see, each different sport attracts very different fans. And a person's favorite sport reveals something about their character; it divulges pieces of one's personality. I'm no sociologist or cultural anthropologist, but see if this makes sense.
Basketball fans I discovered to be more glitzy, and glamorous. There would be men and women meeting at the lounges between levels and chatting or exchanging flirtatious glances. The diehard fans are the ones that will shell out the extra bucks for a closer seat to the action, but they won't be discreet about it. Jack Nicholson, bonafide Lakers superfan. I rest my case. At a basketball game, you cannot get a word out while the action is going on. Lights are always shining and music is pretty much always booming. All you can do is watch these athletes dribble back and forth, and when the guys stop, the cheerleaders come out to please a separate set of emotions for the same exact crowd.
When you really think about it, watching a basketball game is like going out for the night out on the town. You sip fine cocktails; you wear flashy outfits; and you make sure your kid gets a souvenir at his first game. Wait, maybe not that last one.
Comparison should add clarification. Baseball. Warning: I will be bias about this because I love ‘our nation's pastime.' Watching a baseball game is much more laid back than watching a basketball game. You sit back and let things happen. There's no time limit - no bells, buzzers and whistles. Just wave your hand when the hot dog guy rolls by and stand up and stretch after the top of the seventh inning. If you forget, don't worry there's a song to remind you. At Fenway Park, there are two. (Bonus points to anyone that knows the second song and who sings it.)
Watching a baseball game is like heading out to the beach, or the park. You can soak up the sun, or whatever the elements bring that day and pay attention to the game's intricate details, or not. Either way, you will enjoy the company of friends, family and fellow fans, regardless of whether or not you know what's going on in the game. Baseball fans share a common interest in baseball - the stories, nostalgia, memories, records, and what ifs. On any given day in baseball, history can be made. A nobody throws a no-hitter. Some rookie hits for the cycle. A pitcher cranks a homerun. (Okay, there's the baseball bias. I'll get back on track.)
What I'm trying to say is baseball fans are different than basketball fans, which are different from football fans, which are different from hockey fans even. Football fans are similar to baseball fans, except they don't have a game to watch every day, which means football fans have to get a week's worth of cheering and jeering done in one afternoon. Now that I think about it, hockey games are pretty much the same - except swap for a colder climate and missing teeth.
The list goes on in size and scope. College sports fans are different from professional sports fans. Track and field fans are a completely different breed altogether. Even modern day fans are different from the fans of yesteryear. Sports change with time, and so do the fans.
There's a good chance I'm over-thinking these things, I'll admit. It's been a few weeks since my last class, which means my mind could be rusty. Or maybe, I've found a calling in cultural sport-ology.
With all this said, I'm heading down to the Rose Bowl on Thursday. According to my own analysis, I'm going to need to get a month's worth of yelling in on Friday afternoon. My roommates have already started driving down I-5 and they told me that there are "unlimited Duck's fans on the highway." I'm pretty pumped, and I'll be sure to report in soon enough.
In the mean time, think about this:
What does your favorite sport say about you?
December 26, 2009 - 1:41 PM
I know this is slightly belated, but I was inspired by the holiday shopping season to make suggestions as to what types of clothing you all should be investing into if you wish to fit in with the local Eugene crowd. It's difficult to write this with full force, not being in Oregon physically, but then again, it has reached the point where I can safely say ... you can take me out of Eugene, but you can't take Eugene out of me.
There are many different styles that could be considered "local" around Eugene. I still remember when I was reading about colleges during my senior year of high school, and the one memorable phrase about the University of Oregon in my copy of "An Insider's Guide to Colleges 2007," went something like this: There are two types of students at Oregon - Greeks and granolas. I laughed about that when I first skimmed over it, but I think I laugh about it more now. Agreed, there is some truth to that statement, but it certainly doesn't cover all bases of our student body. It's more of a catchy jingle than anything else.
How could you neglect the hipsters, the fixed gear cyclists, and the power suit clad business majors? How about the band geeks, the outdoorsmen and the international students? Sure, Greek and granola covers a lot of ground, but it doesn't capture the richness that we have on campus. And, as with any generalizations, you will always have your crossbreeds. Who's to say you can't have a business hippie, or a philosophical jock or an Honors student that likes to party? In fact, I just described three of my five roommates pretty well. More to come on that later, now that I think about it. Sorry, I'm getting off topic. Here are some articles of clothing that might help you fit in with one crowd or another at the University of Oregon.
Plaid T-shirts (flannel optional). Face the facts, plaid is back. Grab a light shirt for the spring and summer, and a heavy one for fall and winter. Flannel will be your ticket to an OSPIRG or Outdoors Club meeting, and nicer, low-cut linens let you sit in with ASUO or maybe casual dinner at the Sorority house. Hey, toss some plaid over a gray hoodie and you can hang out with the Springfield bum population.
Moccasins. A must have for winter term, your feet will thank you every time you wake up. For weekends, they are great for walking over to Res Hall dining and for weekdays, they are perfect for your 9AM Writing class, especially if it's in the same hall you sleep in (for those lucky enough to get into the Living-Learning Center). I just received a brand new pair for Xmas and I couldn't be happier.
Green Ducks Hooded Sweatshirt. This one is pretty obvious, and it should be the first thing you buy after telling your parents, "I want to be a DUCK!" There are variations, of course. I always thought yellow looked good on girls, and the full-zip Jansport was a little dressier. My personal favorites are the $15 sweatshirt and sweatpants that come out every spring. If you aren't a fan of the sweat suit though, anything that can be classified as "Lightning Green" or "Thunder Yellow" will do.
Rain-slicker and boots. Again, this one goes without saying, if you want to survive the Oregon rain, get your hands on some rain gear fast. But if you forget anything, you can always run to the Duck Store, which is stocked with green and yellow Columbia jackets and wellies with duck prints on them. They know their target market pretty well.
That should get you all started. And, again, I apologize that I'm writing post-Christmas/Chanukah. Hopefully there is a birthday in your near future. And if you have any more questions about specifics, please ask. Or just grab a lawn chair and plop yourself outside the book store on 13th and Kincaid Street to see for yourself.
December 23, 2009 - 4:02 PM
‘Tis the season for laughter, good cheer, eggnog, and, of course, exchanging holiday gifts. Although I have my own qualms about the extent to which Christmas has become commercialized, I really can't be too grumpy for obvious reasons. But I do feel there is room for everyone to be more eco-friendly during the holiday season - particularly when it comes to wrapping gifts. So, consider this sleigh full of ecotips as my gift to you.
Newspaper is the best gift-wrap. Why? First of all, it's delivered to your front door on a daily basis, so there's no need to rush out to the nearest stationary store just to maintain the element of surprise come Christmas morning. It's cheap, no matter if you're using the 50¢ local paper or the $2 Sunday New York Times. And also, for fear of sounding like Martha Stewart, if used properly you can add a personalized touch to each gift. For a present to your younger brother, use the comic section. Mom, Arts & Leisure. Dad, Sports. It's that simple. You're saving the environment by reusing paper before you recycle them (which I know you will all do afterwards).
Now, newspaper might only be for select occasions. Say, if you're giving a nice bottle of wine to your boss or a coffee table book to family friends, then you might want to be a little classier than newspaper. For these situations, by all means buy the good stuff and don't hold back. There's a fine line between environmentally conscious and frugally trashy. But when exchanging gifts between immediate family members - you know, the presents that don't leave the house - I guarantee that the thought of the gift will mean more to them than the black and white lettering you covered it in.
Save the wrapping. The only thing better than recycling paper, is reusing it. Well, not buying it in the first place would be the best situation, but I'm assuming we've passed that stage. Saving your wrapping paper may not always be an option, especially if you have an overzealous child, but when you can save the wrapping, do it.
On a similar and more practical note, save the bags. Whenever you receive a holiday bag, do not by any means throw it out. First of all, they are a pain in the neck to recycle because you never know what combination of paper, plastic and fibers they are made of, and more importantly they can be reused forever. Just store them away with the ornaments and stockings for the rest of the year, and once again, you don't have to worry about buying new wrapping. Same thing applies for the gift boxes you get from any retail stores. And that way you can really throw off your mom when you put a sparkling necklace inside a box from Sports Authority. Gets ‘em every time.
There you have it. Some ideas to keep in the back of your mind when you're freaking out on Christmas Eve. Save some cash, save the environment and have a few jokes about it in the morning. Because my family lives by these simple rules, we haven't bought wrapping paper in years, at least not to my knowledge.
December 18, 2009 - 7:30 PM
The drive from Eugene to the Bay Area is just shy of 550 miles, which means it takes anywhere between seven and eight hours depending on who's driving, and for as many times as I've traveled the I-5, I don't think I can remember a longer drive than today's. I have no idea what made this drive so arduous, but my traveling buddy, Andrew, and I were absolutely drained of all emotion and energy by the time we exited the Bay Bridge. Thankfully, home was the final destination. All I was responsible for upon arrival was sinking into a relaxing bubble bath to wash the smell of the feeling of highway off and then finding my favorite horizontal position on the couch in the living room and enjoying my family's company.
It goes without saying that I'm delighted to finally be home, especially now that it's the holiday season. I'll introduce you to some of the quirky traditions of the Bean Family.
First and foremost, my mother is known for two things during this time of year; Santa figurines and the Charlie Brown Christmas tree. The first is easy to understand. Over time, she's amassed a glorious collection of Santa's that deck the shelves of our family room. They're really quite fun, and it makes finding Christmas presents a little bit easier, too. But the Charlie Brown tree is still a mystery; my sister and I still have fits about it. We just don't get it. It seems like all moms are enamored with the idea of finding a cute tree with missing branches and scattered lights hanging amidst puny little ornaments. So, what was the first thing I noticed when I walked through the door tonight? A tall, skinny and noticeably top heavy Christmas tree. Just take a look for yourself.
Aside from the goofy tree, everything is fairly normal. My father and I will hang lights on the balcony tomorrow morning and I've already touched base with high school friends. I'm still nervous about returning to my high school campus, although I'm not exactly sure why. But I'm heading up to Napa Valley (another couple hours in a car. Sure, why not?) to spend time at a friend's ranch.
In the end, I guess the drive was worth it. Friends, family and holiday cheer. You really can't do much better than that. The holiday season officially kicks off on Sunday night with the annual caroling party, which never disappoints.
December 15, 2009 - 8:40 PM
Technically, I'm on Winter Break, but I'm staying in Eugene for an extra week to log in a few hours at Facility Services and hang out with the roommates. I'll admit that Eugene is a little bit dreary right now because everyone has headed home already, but between watching "Zombieland" at the $1.50 theatre in Springfield and reading "Last Child in the Woods," there's still plenty to do.
And now that I don't have projects and assignments to worry about, I can finally write about something that's been on my mind forever. I've had lots of professors over the years, and my favorite thing to do is learn their different antics and teaching styles. And, of course, figure out which celebrity they remind me of. Sometimes it's just based on visual appearances, and sometimes it's their mannerisms that do it. So, here are my three favorite celebrity look-a-like professors.
Mike Copperman, Writing 121 - Fall 2007
Writing 121 is one of those classes that just about every student filters through at some point in time during the UO career, so I wasn't expecting too much from this particular class. But, man, did I find a winner. It was my first college class, now that I think about it, and I remember that first day very well. Monday morning at 10am on the 3rd floor of Condon Hall, I show up out of breath because I couldn't find the classroom in that maze of a building. Then in walks Mike Copperman wearing his long, black pea coat. And the first thing I thought to myself was, "Holy crap, AC Slater from Saved by the Bell is my professor!" I became pretty good friends with one girl in that class, and we still laugh about that. On a side note, WR 121 with Mike still remains as one of the better classes I've taken at the UO. Nothing life changing, but I fondly remember those enlightening discussions that we had between the sixteen or seventeen students in class. Definitely exceeding my original expectations.
Greg Bothun might be the most intelligent person I've ever come into contact with. He earned a Ph.D. Astrophysics from the University of Washington and his research interests include properties of galaxies, observational cosmology, climate change and sustainable energies. I don't think Prof. Bothun and I are going to become lifelong friends, but he's at the top of my ‘phone a friend' list. I had trouble putting a finger on what TV personality he reminded me of for the first half of the term, but it made so much sense when I finally figured it out. It was not only the looks - long, scraggly hair, and one of several long-sleeved T-shirts every day always with one sleeved rolled up - but also his overly sarcastic and sadistically witty sense of humor that did it for me. Gregory Bothun is the human manifestation of the Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons.
Dan Carol, Community Leadership and Change - Fall 2009
Once again, it took me a little while to figure it out and once again, it was a combination of mannerisms and appearance. I feel bad because the only picture I could find of Dan is really not too becoming of him, so I apologize. But Dan Carol reminds me of Dustin Hoffman in Rainman. The funny thing is that Dan is kind of a genius in disguise. Well, he hides it well at least. Dan is an adjunct professor in the PPPM department and focuses on topics like climate change policy and civic engagement theory. But in his free time, he served as the Content & Issues Director for the Obama campaign. No big deal.