Sticks and Hits

Conner and I left Portland at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, golf clubs in tow, and headed down I-5 for the trip to Corvallis and some golf and football. The cooler was packed with beer and sodas and the footballs were resting in the back seat of my wife's Honda accord, patiently waiting to be picked up and spiraled through the air. The designated meeting time and place was 1:00 p.m., Burger King parking lot in downtown Corvallis.

We arrived at the spot about 10 minutes early and I set out to adorn the Accord with all the Beaver paraphernalia that ordinarily would already be on the car, but I had just gotten it washed before we left and thus had to wait until it dried. As I was applying the magnets, pompons etc., Stinks pulled into the lot with Debra Joy, the white Tacoma already proclaiming to the world just where their allegiance lies.

Conner and I went into the Burger King to use the facilities and get a burger before golf. I figured if we're going to be slugging back beers for the next 9 hours (Stinks and I, not Conner. Geez, people I AM a father you know…), it might be sage to have something in my stomach. I got Conner his usual. Hamburger plain. PLAIN. No ketchup, no mustard, no cheese, just two buns with some meat in between. When we got back outside, I was surprised when Stinks informed us that that's how he eats his burgers too. PLAIN. To me this is like ordering a pizza, but telling them to leave everything off of it ‘just give me the crust', but I think it made Conner feel good that he wasn't the only person that eats his burgers that way and he and Stinks hit it off pretty fast.

We headed out to the golf course, got out the clubs and loaded the bags with cold ones. Neither Stinks or I did anything momentous on the first hole, and my 12 year old son won the hole with a par. It's not good when your 12 year old son --who never plays golf--beats you on the first hole, but I eventually settled down a little and was able to par four or five holes consecutively in the middle of the round. We didn't keep score so I don't know what the scores were, but the shot of the day easily had to be Stinks' tee shot on number nine, a 110 yard par three. His shot with a pitching wedge arced toward the green and then the pin. The closer it got the wider our eyes got. It landed on the green, took one bounce and hit the pin, coming to rest about a foot right of the hole. The only thing that kept it from being a hole in one was that it didn't hit the pin dead on and drop straight down, instead catching it just to the right. A tremendous golf shot. As we walked down the fairway, Stinks good naturedly regaled us all with proclamations of ‘saving the best for last', and ‘just wanted to show Conner what NOT to do before I showed him how to do it right' and ‘looks like my ball's the only one with paint on it'. He had earned bragging rights with that shot.

We concluded the round and loaded up the clubs and headed for Reser Stadium, arriving at our tailgating spot at around 3:30 or so. It was a quiet little residential neighborhood about 4 blocks from the stadium that ceased to be quiet the second Stink's and I stepped out of our vehicles. We cracked the first of many beers and set to pulling out the chairs and getting our tailgating spot in tailgating condition. We decided to leave a space between our rigs for my friend Larry—the legendary Larry, whose exploits I've documented on this board on numerous occasions—would have a place to park. Stinks had stopped by the OSU bookstore on the way to Burger King and purchased several items with the Beaver logo on them, two of them being spiffy new black and orange folding chairs. Debra Joy suggested we set up the chairs between the rigs to save the spot for Larry. Stinks opened up the first chair and set it down, where Debra immediately picked it up and moved it into the shade on the sidewalk. She then watched with amusement as first Stinks, then myself, then Stinks AND myself tried to get the damned thing open. We tried everything and the bastard would not budge. Finally Conner gave it a try—12 year olds think all adults are idiots—and had no better luck. As we were about to give up, the chair, as if it had been playing some kind of joke this whole time, popped open all on it's own making us even more pissed as we weren't going to know how to open it again later, dammit. As Stinks set up the chair, he noticed that the reason it was being so difficult was that it was already broken in two places and the frigging price tag was still on it. He then did what all red-blooded American males do in that situation and let out a barrage of obscenities that would make a longshoreman blush. I was proud of him. But he cracked open another Bud light and quickly got over it, as Conner and Stinks and I then broke out the Wilson Official NFL leather football. Stinks and I forced Conner to run pattern after pattern while he and I took turns throwing him the football, being extremely careful not to spill our beers as we were doing it. Running patterns after all, is for kids. Grownups have earned the easy part, drinking beer and throwing the rock.

Larry and his two friends then arrived and all the expected participants on this day's tailgater were now in attendance. We all took turns recounting exploits form our past and laughed until it was time for us to head to the stadium. We all loaded every pocket we had with beers as it was after all, a whole 4 blocks to the stadium and got there in about 5 minutes. It was now around 6:15. We stood outside the stadium drinking beer and throwing the empties in the shopping carts of the two enterprising homeless guys that had figured out how to make money while just sitting back in the warm August sun, until the beers were gone and it was time to head in and find our respective seats.

As we went through the gates and up the ramp, Stinks and I parted ways as he and Debra headed left toward section 26 and we right toward section 24, agreeing to meet back at the rigs at halftime. We found our seats and Conner immediately informed me he was hungry, so back down the ramp we head for some hot dogs, peanuts and sodas, making it back to our seats just as they are asking for a moment of silence for Ashley Pond and Miranda Gaddis, the two slain Oregon City girls.

The players then come down the ramp, EKU first. I cringe as I hear a little more than a smattering of boos as they take the field. I prefer to save my booing for the refs and think that we should show some appreciation for these kids that have offered themselves up as sacrificial lambs but quickly get over it as I see the boys in black directly behind them. Then the national anthem and finally, after months of agony, the coin toss and kickoff!

It is pretty obvious to me from the start which team is the better one right off the bat, even before the kickoff. Oregon State appears just to big and fast for the Colonels and by the time the Beavers have the ball, I am certain about the outcome. Anderson's very first pass from scrimmage--I expected them to be conservative with the kid?—is a beautifully thrown ball about 50 yards down the middle of the field to a streaking, WIDE OPEN Jason Boyd. It had touchdown written all over it. It appeared that it hit Boyd right in the hands from my vantage point, but people that watched the game on TV have said that it bounced off of his grill so I'm not sure. What I am sure of is that the rather elderly gentleman sitting to my left's jaw dropped slightly as I let out with a "CATCH THE MOTHER#$%*ING BALL!!!". Later, when he found out that I would be in those seats all year and I somewhat toned it down, he relaxed and we had a rather pleasant conversation.

Most, if not all of you know what happened after that up to halftime so there's no need to rehash it. Let's just say that it could have been—and maybe should have been—49-0 going into the third quarter, the defense is that good. Anyway, it was time to head back to the rigs to re-lube, which we did. In record time I might add. We sucked down several and headed back to Reser in about 10 minutes and were still late getting back to the game. We missed the first half of the third quarter but it appeared we didn't miss much. Erickson had by that time had apparently decided to call off the dogs.

The fourth was a time to see just what the bench could do and they didn't look too bad, scoring a couple of touchdowns and executing the offense adequately, considering that everyone in the stadium had figured out that DE DID NOT want to run it up any more and was running the ball on second and third and long. End result? A good tune up for the season and win number one.

Then it was back to the rigs, where Stinks and Debra and I proceeded to have a few more waiting for traffic to clear. Larry and his pals had gotten there before us and left, the lightweights (are you listening to me Larry?) and finally the drive home. I had to stop at the rest stop just outside of Albany as my contacts, which had been in all day, were doing NOTHING for my night vision and I had a most precious cargo with me, get them out and put on my glasses and it was smooth sailing form there.

We arrived at my driveway a rock's throw from the Gresham city limits sign (well I couldn't throw one that far but I'm now convinced Derek could) at around 2:00 a.m., exhausted but satisfied.

Next up; "The Temple Game: OA gets hauled outta Dr. John's and across the street to the courthouse." (Just kidding)

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