What’s good, Lax Nation! Maximizing Prophet back again to give you the low down on a heated rivalry tucked away in the wet Northwest.
I’m going to preface my article with a story..
I was about 13 years old and I was with my dad at a celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe. Awesome tournament, I’m getting autographs from Jon Elway, Mike Eruzione, Charles Barkley, Jason Kidd, Ray Allen, Chris Webber, Mike Schmit, Jerry Rice. Its a dream come true for a kid that loves collecting sports cards. So we’re walking around watching some of the golfers and we come across Rick Neuheisel, then the University of Washington head football coach. Rick was teeing off.
Now my dad was a huuuuge Ducks fan, thus having a big influence on me and the school I would eventually choose, and he collected every football poster since 1991 until 2005 where I have picked up the tradition. So while us Ducks are routinely included in the ‘Worst Fans In The Pac-10′ discussion , my dad and I quietly wait while Neuheisel tees off between the 15 or so people watching his foursome. Neuheisel swings and everyone but my dad and I golf claps.Who knows why but my dad turns to this elderly guy next to him and quietly says, “I’m an Oregon Duck fan and I’ve always thought this guy (Neuheisel) was an asshole.” The guy turns to my dad, pauses, and says bitterly, “Oh ya? Well I’m his dad and I think you’re an asshole!” Akward to the fullest. Neuheisel ended up being a nice guy and actually apologizing personally to my dad at a big dinner later, but even despite all of this I’m still a big hater of his.
For those of you (especially you newer Duck fans) who don’t know about the rivalry between Washington and Oregon read this article from the LA times (but add in that Neuheisel and his team celebrated by dancing on the Oregon ‘O’ after a win in Autzen).
Now on to my Seattle adventure.
I hate the Huskies, I hate UCLA for hiring Neheiesel, I never lost to UW in lacrosse and have personally seen the Ducks beat down the dogs four times. Twice in Autzen, twice in Seattle. In case you’re curious to see how my last lacrosse game against UW went check out this video.
I’m so one-handed it’s funny.
This takes me to this past October weekend, my Oregon Ducks playing the Washington Huskies in Seattle. A fellow Oregon Lax alumni, Vinny, had purchased 14 tickets in the Oregon section and offered me a seat for a reasonable price and a couch to sleep on so how could I say no?
Friday morning I throw my backpack full of scrub student apparel and ride North through the gray Oregon skies and the grass seed capital of the world (really) to arrive downtown Portland to meet fellow O Lax alums Josh, Kopca, and “Turtle”. They toss their gear and five cases of Hamm’s and PBR and Redbull in the back of my Explorer and we start our trip to the city that never sleeps, Seattle.
After three hours of masterful driving on I-5 and we arrive at Vinny’s apartment and immediately grab food in preparation for the night of tearing apart the “Paris of the West”. We eat and catch up at Dick’s, the In’N'Out of Seattle, and finally head over to Paul’s (P$, another lax alum) to get the night pre-funky. PBR is pounded and pong is played in celebration of arrival and anticipation of a weekend for the ages. We party hard, as we should, and call a cab, as everyone should, to take us to this bar Vinny wants to go to called The Frontier Room. We get there at 11 and the place is packed. Nonetheless, we push our way to the far back corner and elbow out a niche for our group. Much to our suprise there are multiple t-shirts with green and yellow and the Oregon walking around this bar. These people have taste.
When you blend all that drank and a handful of Ducks and put them in the heart of rival’s city, you’re going to get some “LETS GO DUCKS” chants. Who knows how these things start but it happened, not once or twice, but probably eight or nine times in a overcrowded downtown Seattle bar.
Remember how I mentioned that there’s a reason we’re known as “The worst fans in the Pac-10“? Every time we chant, a few husky fans throw out the clever, “F— the Ducks“. You’d think the Pac-10 school with the best academic reputation in the NW could do more creative heckling, but hey, they’ve got bigger things to concern themselves with.
With every chant I’m just waiting to have a beer poured on one of us or for someone to get cold cocked in the side of the head, anything more confrontational than just yelling. I mean we hate each other, right? And we’re in their city, right? I’m a little stunned because this behavior would never be allowed in Eugene, but then again we are supposed to be the worst fans.
The bar closes and some little guy is talking enough garbage in my ear that the bouncer thankfully breaks up our groups and shoo’s us from the curb to protect his babies. We hop in separate cabs and are taken back to Vinny’s spot. We set the alarm for 7am and pass out at 3:30, we need our rest for the big game.
7am comes and I hop out of bed. Its a 12:15 kickoff and we need to get a good tailgate spot. On our way there I’m yelling “Go Ducks!” to every elderly person jogging or walking their dog, all the way into the QFC next to Husky Stadium where I finally get to tell some purple who I’m rooting for.
Vinny park’s MY car next to a bunch of Husky fans. I give ‘em a “Go Ducks” as we roll up and they reply by threatening my car while I’m in the store. I honestly thought I’d have food or a loogie smeared all over my windshield when I came back, but no. Although someone creative fingered ‘UW’ into the dirt on my rear windshield. A little disappointing. I figured it would fire me up a little more but now I must ponder; is the Oregon- Washington rivalry over?
If this had been Corvallis I would definitely had some property damage to my rig and at least a couple fellers in camo hats and bright orange hunting jackets in my face staring me down, possibly spraying Grizz Green on my face as they tell me: “Geeeeeeeeeeetttttttttt out if you know what’s good for you!“.
And rightfully so! This is a rivalry! We can be friends Sunday through Friday but on Saturday we need to let everyone know who made right decision in choosing a college.
Now at this point, I’m still mentally preparing myself for a violent confrontation from a UW fan. Last time I was in Seattle for pleasure was when the future ex-wife got me Yankee tickets. The Yanks won and I was high fiving the other Yankee fans, being goofy and having fun. Of course some Red Sox fans had shown up and one of their boys starts heckling me. Wouldn’t you know it but the smallest guy in the group jawing at me and in retaliation I attack his insecurity and yell back “Its not big deal, he’s just a little guy. He’s got that short man syndrome thing, put the baby to bed.” Naploeon finds this enraging and gets in my face barking about how I’m smaller because I have a lower weight to height ratio or something.
I just gave him the 7th grade girl brick wall with my hand from my elevated position. He gets madder and wants to fight but thank God we were in a big crowd of people because his friends were some massive Boston fellas.
Anyways back to Seattle. I eat my QFC doughnuts and drink my chocolate milk ( aka rally breakfast), and we set up shop in the Husky Stadium parking lot. Its still pretty early and fans are slowing filtering past us. We’re crackin PBR’s and tossing the pigskin, giving a “Go Ducks” to our fellow Oregon fans and just generally doing the tailgate thing. We started on the fringe of the tailgates at 9am but eventually become surrounded by a sea of purple. Let it be known that every time one of us missed a catch and the football dribbled near a Husky fan, man or woman, they would consistently toss it like a girl, shot-put style back to us, just disgusting.
As the game draws nearer our cases of Hamms and PBR start dwindling and the real shenanigans begin. I’ve got video evidence of how much harder the Ducks partied than the Huskies and that the Dogs can start a wave but can’t start a clever rhyming chant. Husky fail.
No ducks were harmed in the making of this video:
Sloppiness once again rears its ugly head and, before we leave for the game, our tailgate area is littered with empty cans and broken bottles thanks to Vinny’s itching to clear off cluttered tables in under two seconds. So our saucy clique is finally fired up enough to make it to the poor excuse for a football venue called Husky Stadium. On our walk to the game I’m once again flabbergasted by the lack of heckling and the amount of Washington students and fans that are carrying around lattes and mochas.
What a difference 300 miles makes.
We reach the heralded Husky stadium and not to sound like a downer but I am unimpressed by its 72,000 capaticy size and design. Husky fans will argue it has a beautiful view of the lake to the East, which it does but that track?
For a stadium that used to be the loudest stadium in college football, it was pretty quiet the entire game. It wasn’t even sold out or if it was a bunch of fans were busy grabbing their Starbucks and never found their seat.
Maybe I’m spoiled because I watch games at arguably the best venue in college football, but this atmosphere was not Autzen, nor was it close to it. Don’t believe me? Just ask Kopca or the couple behind him who were politely asking him to sit down and shut up all game.
So the end result? Ducks scrape on the Huskies of course (highlights here) Don’t feel bad Locker, Javid Best couldn’t do anything about it either and you two guys are suppose to be pretty good.
So me and the gang start walking back to the Explorer and we’re trying to rub it in to our Northern neighbors noses that our team just hung 40 on them by yelling out traditional UW heckles. Personally, I don’t make purple jokes, I went to Sunset HS in Portland, Oregon and I’m proud to rock that purp. Nonetheless we had some good heckles like:
“Ted Bundy was a Husky”
“Oh Ya! I remember 90′s!”
In reference to the period UW had a good football team
“Oh ya I remember when we won a game last year”
In reference to their 0-12 season in 08. Thank you college football
My personal favorite:
“Jake Locker is number 10!”
Which I thought was indisputable, but one female Husky fan kept on trying to retaliate with the time honored “Worst fans in the Pac 10“-line but I never gave her the chance as I kept repeating Jake Locker and his jersey number probably as loud as my strained windpipes could manage.
Eventually she gave up on me and got in her car.
We are just about to the car when this one particularly sad and pathetic group of Husky fans that obviously never set foot in a UW classroom starts trying to verbally strong arm us out of the parking lot.
First a little guy with a big mouth (possibly related to Red Sox Napoloen?) who had obviously been sobbing no more then 5 minutes earlier, makes eye contact, cocks his neck, pulls back his shoulders, and just screams, “GET OUT OF HEREEEEEEE!!!!!!!” ”
Finally! That’s more like it.
A couple of his buddys then try to point me to I-5 south and tell me I better get going. You can use your imagination for what I said back to these guys.
We pack up the Explorer and thank goodness Turtle’s friend Shannon didn’t party too hard with us and was kind enough to drive us home. Safety first. All of us not driving pass out for most of the drive until we finally get back to Vinny’s. We crawl from the car to the apartment, we nap longer, and try to rally for one more crazy night in Seattle.
Some of us were more committed than others to go out for the 3rd time in 24 hours, myself included. Regardless, we strap it up and make our way to Paul’s for one more pregame in the Emerald City. We meet up with J-Mat (former MCLA All-American, great friend of mine, and most importantly former 4th line middie with me back in the day) and of course we get paired up as partners for beer/Loko juice pong. This dynamic duo goes on to shred our elder alumni in 4 straight games until they can’t take anymore and they talk us into going to another Seattle bar called Ozzies.
This bar is full of even more drunk arrogant Duck fans that are loud and proud, for better and for worse. I take this night easy because I gotta get up early to head back to my home state, but that doesn’t stop some buddies from taking it to the next level yet again.
It was a relativley uneventful night save for a handful of trannies that I had a long debate over their true gender. Oh and Turtle tried to bring a beer outside with him as the bar was closing. Unfortunately for him the bouncer sees it, grabs it, and pours it on Turtle’s shirt and calls him an idiot. So Turtle, with all his vinegar boiling up in his veins, starts screaming at the bouncer about how he’s going to kill him in so many ways, excatly the same time I start pushing him away from the bar and closer to a cab.
I try not to mess with bouncers. My motto: the better the bar the better the bouncer, and by better I mean more potential to beat your ass to set an example. That’s just one man’s opinion. Anyways we cab it back to Vinny’s for one final time and I caught this gem on my Powershot:
This mess should have been my cue to call it a night but instead Turtle and I decide to go get Wendy’s at 2 am. Funny enough, it takes us an hour to find any kind of food at all so we settle for a nasty QFC roast beef sandwich.
We get home around 3:30 and set the alarm for 7 am.
7 am hit me in the face like LaGarret Blount but I’m out of bed and getting stuff just together trying to ride that alarm clock adrenaline. We hit the 5 South as fast as possible so I can get to coaching lax in West Linn by noon.
Someone in the car had the case of the yaks on the ride home but kept it clean as we roll into Portland at 11am. Despite only getting 3.5 hours of sleep, I do another awesome job with the kids, maybe even finding the next Tillman Johnson in the process. This kid’s got the skills and the attitude but just needs to grow into his body. Don’t worry, he’s got about 12 years.
Lax ends and I fly to my mom’s boyfriends house to get USC tickets, which I get, and to top it off mom cooks me a rack of ribs and has a couple Mirror Ponds in the fridge. Top that weekend, Lax Nation.
I may do it myself with my next article detailing the insanity of the Oregon Alumni game, alumni party, USC@OREGON, College Gameday, oh by the way Halloween.
Live long and prosper.
About the Author: Will D aka ‘Maximizing Prophet’ is an ’09 U of Oregon lax grad, after 8 years of taking lacrosse too seriously he is now trying to find a new hobby to distract him from the stress of no lax, the real world, and the constant battle with the future ex wife. Will D. just tries to live his life everyday like Navin R. Johnson.