To Be A Real Fan Or To Be A Duck Fan, That Is The Question

It’s time for another column to be written.

I take a sip of my Gatorade. I remember my trainer telling me not to drink it unless I’m working out. I glance down and realize what I’m wearing: an Oregon Ducks sweatshirt. I’m still psyched about the outcome, as all of us “fans” are.  

The Oregon Ducks ran up, over, and around the Oregon State Beavers in the latest edition of the Civil War, winning by a final score of 48-24.

Despite my enthusiasm, I was skeptical writing about the game. I could try to write like a devoted fanatic, you know the kind I’m thinking about- the people that buy the cardboard cut outs of their favorite players, flaunt the flags on their car every month of the year and buy Christmas wreaths with the theme of their favorite team.

I couldn’t have been a fanatic behind the masked identity of the keyboard, but then I realized my position too, as I wore my sweatshirt in the midst of indifferent fans.

I know close to nothing, at least if you compare me to life-long football lovers. Don’t get me wrong. I like the sport. I like the University of Oregon.

And yet, I am not the first opinionated and annoyed columnist to label the Ducks’ fans as a “bandwagon” fan base.

Faced with the realization of my lack of knowledge of football and the Ducks’ pride (a very consistent occurrence on both parties), I ask myself, what makes a true fan?

Usually impassioned flip floppers sporting painted chests cite reasons such as “My uncle lives there,” “My dad went to school there,” or “I appreciate the enthusiasm from the mascot and cheerleaders.” This is an unfortunate outcome of sudden and widespread fame. 

Many claim they are faithful fans, but at the mention of the word “faithful”, we find the heart of the issue.

Many of us readily attribute this word to our own fandom but it is something that can only be tested by time.

Quick! Who was the Ducks ‘starting quarterback and running back in 2007?

For those of you still thinking, instead of using this time to search your brain or check your smartphone, use it to adopt some humility. In no way does this mean you are less worthy as fans but we can come to the realization that there is a lot to learn- myself included- in becoming a true follower of the Oregon Ducks. No more band-wagon-ing.

In case you didn’t know, it’s national hyphen day.

Many Duck fans have remained patient through an existence mainly marked by irrelevance and exclusion. I doubt the newcomers quick to show elitism and arrogant opinions are appreciated. For those who have yet to suffer through season like those in the early 90’s, or more recently 2004 and remain true, maybe you should wait to show enthusiasm until you’ve learned what it means to bleed green and gold- despite success and fame.

I am not advocating a lack of enthusiasm. The lightning quick success and play style of the Oregon Ducks is something worth cheering for, but just as lightning is a symbol of power and speed, it is also one of brevity, staying only as long as the realization of its arrival.

True fans don’t bandwagon. You stick with the team through the suspense, the perfect plays, the brutal hit to the birdcage, the cheerful chop block, the unforgettable false start, the dynamic down and out, the terrific tackle … it’s also national alliteration day.

True fans who move to another city don’t change their allegiance to the team in that area. I mean really- you need to be a fan of your hometown.  

By all means if you move, go to the games, but you can’t pick them as your new team. Like your spouse, it’s ‘till death do us part.” This rule’s exception is given if a family member plays professionally for a team from another city.

Even if your favorite player is traded away, signs elsewhere as a free agent, or whatever else leads him to another jersey, you cannot start supporting their new team.

The arrogance of that is like being a Broncos’ fan now that Peyton was traded, which is quite possibly the case for many new fans of the team.

The bottom line is that in time the day will come. Yes, a day will come again, perhaps sooner than we think, when the University of Oregon will finish a season outside the top 10, the top 25 even. So the question remains: will you still be there? Or will your fanaticism disappear in a flash?

About Arran Gimba