Q97 Snap Shot - How 'bout those Ducks
● By Billy Pilgrim
It was 1985. We had moved to Eugene, Ore., for a new opportunity on the broadcasting journey, and my radio station was within walking distance to Autzen Stadium and Oregon Ducks football. I became an instant fan of the yellow and green — the University of Oregon Fighting Ducks. (Did you know they were once known as The Tall Firs?)
Autzen Stadium was a lot smaller then, and games rarely sold out. I remember tickets being cheap and plentiful, and crowds of 30,000 or so were not uncommon. Today, every game attracts a crowd of 59,000 plus, and every game is a wild and raucous affair, with the faithful screaming the letter “O” at the top of their lungs. I yell right along with everyone during one or two games a year with Dave Tappan, Johnny Logan and our buddy Tom Agamenoni, who has had the same seats forever: Section 23, row 25, seats 5, 6, 7 and 8. I say “seats,” though no one really sits for more than a few seconds. That crazy crowd is on its feet from the opening kick to the final play of the game, and that final play almost always punctuates another Oregon victory.
We came back home to Redding from Eugene in 1989, and brought the “O” and the passion back with us. Up until a few years ago, you would rarely see an “O” decal on the back of a vehicle in Redding. And when I talked about the Ducks on the radio, I felt like I was talking only to myself. Boy, has that changed! Look at the number of “O” stickers you see now, and the kids wearing their Ducks shirts and caps. How about the cars and trucks on game day with web feet and feathers and duck flags flying in the wind? Duck wear is readily available in stores now. And who hasn’t seen the Duck fan rallies at In ‘n’ Out and the Duck semi going up and down I-5 regularly? I believe The Fighting Ducks have captured Northern California’s attention and passion.
Eugene is a beautiful four hours and 45 minutes up I-5. It’s a quick drive to enjoy a totally peak entertainment experience — an afternoon or evening of Ducks football. Be ready to yell, applaud, stomp your feet and come away exhilarated and exhausted. It’s not too late to jump on the Ducks bandwagon. There’s plenty of room for everyone in Duck Nation.