Are you ready for some football?

I played golf out at Springwater Golf Course in Estacada last night, as is our Wednesday night ritual on summer afternoons. Several of us from PGE play out there, generally three groups of four, hacking around and drinking beers. On occasion, someone will bring a friend and they then end up becoming part of the Wednesday night regulars.

Last night, after we had finished up our nine and headed to the clubhouse for a final round of beers, I caught sight of a guy that someone had brought along sitting in one of the plastic chairs on the porch outside. He had played with a couple of guys from work two groups in front of me. I noticed the black baseball cap with the orange lettering that said ‘Oregon State University' at the same instant that he looked up and saw my tee-shirt with a picture of a black Beaver helmet and gold Notre Dame helmet with FIESTA! in bold letters above it and a conversation on Beaver football quickly ensued, much to the dismay of Brandon and Billy, the two Duck fans that were seated between us.

We talked about how excited we were about the upcoming season. How we thought Derek would do, how Steven Jackson was a man amongst boys in high school, the best Tailback to ever come out of the state of Nevada and was sure to end up all PAC-10, if not All-America by his Junior year. We talked about how Eric Manning was going to really put the hurt to a few opposing Quarterbacks this year and how the defense was sure to be one of the best in the nation. We talked about how great it was going to be to have the Fresno State Bulldogs coming to our house where we could extract our pound of flesh in revenge for last year, and introduce them to the Beavers new calling card, simply put, "Black and Blue".

Of course with Brandon and Billy sitting between us, the conversation eventually rolled around to Civil War, wherein they both proclaimed to have "kicked the Beavers' butts all over Autzen last year". Of course, this drew more than a couple of chuckles from my new friend and myself, as we remembered a game in which the battles in the trenches were fairly even, most being won by the Beavers, and that a special teams breakdown was the only thing that separated the Beavs from victory in that game. We pointed out that in fact, Oregon had only won that game by a mere field goal and tried in vain to get an answer to the question, "How can you say you kicked our butts all over Autzen when in fact the Beavers held a 359 to 209 yard advantage in total offense?" They both pretended not to hear the question several times and we finally gave up. We did however, come to a general consensus that by the end of the season, all four of the Northwest teams would be at the top of the conference, of course disagreeing on which order.

As I left the course and started my drive home I started getting images in my mind. Those moments we all have where we forget we're actually driving and are somewhere else for a while, the vehicle seemingly having a mind of it's own as it takes you to your destination. I found myself in Reser Stadium on a warm early fall afternoon, my ears filling with the cheers of thousands as a sea of Black sweeps down the ramp and out onto the field. I found myself fighting with the yellowjackets that somehow think they have just as much right to my hot dog as I do. I see tight spirals floating through the air, gliding down to the hands of a guy streaking down the field wearing number 2. I see other balls being separated from their carriers as a Black number 5 puts a crushing blow on him and that familiar POP that goes with it and as I come back to reality, I realize that August 29 cannot come soon enough. ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL? Bring it.

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