Thursday, November 02, 2006

Independence Bowl 1989

In 1989 my then grade school age son and I traveled to Shreveport Louisiana to watch the Oregon Ducks play the Tulsa. Oregon had not been to a Bowl Game since the 1963 Sun Bowl.That is 26 loooong football seasons without a Bowl Game. I went through college both undergrad and law school and two year in the Army without a Bowl Game. Oregon Athletic Director Bill Byrne had to purchase 14,000 tickets for $350,00 to secure Oregon's invitation. My college friend Gaines Smith and I had spent many Saturdays watching the Ducks lose more games than they won and often talked about going to a Bowl Game if the Ducks were invited. Well in 1989 the Ducks got that invitation. Unfortunately Gaines did not live to see that day. However I was going to go. My son and I flew on a "milk run" from Medford to San Francisco, to Denver and then to Dallas Texas. We then drove a rental car across the plains of Texas to Marshall Texas and got a motel room. The next day we drove to Shreveport for the game. It was a NIGHT game in which the temperature, with the wind-chill factor, was below zero. IT WAS COLD on those open metal stands in Shreveport. I kept worrying that my wife would kill me if our son got frost bite. Oregon trailed in the game and it seemed to get colder. There were 5000 Oregon fans who followed the Ducks to Shreveport. Most of the Tulsa fans left because of the cold but the Ducks and their fans would not give up . QB Bill Musgrave led the Ducks back with two touchdowns and a field goal to win the game 27 to 24. It then got a lot warmer. This trip was my young son's first plane ride and he became a hard core Duck fan. It was truly a bonding experience. For college he chose to go to Willamette University. Willamette is a Liberal Arts college in Salem Oregon. However, each season he would often travel to Eugene to meet me for a game and a meal during the four years he was at Willamette. He is now a Teaching Assistant/Grad Student in History in the Midwest and will miss this season. I miss him. He however listens to the games, not on TV, on the Internet.

Since 1989 the entire family has followed the Ducks to the Freedom Bowl in Anaheim California in 1990, the Rose Bowl in 1995, The Las Vegas Bowl in 1997 and the Holiday bowl last year. My Son and I took a road trip to the Fiesta bowl in Tempe Arizona for the January 1st 2002 Fiesta Bowl game with Colorado and watched the Ducks win. We also traveled to the Seattle Bowl one year. However we will always remember with fondness that first Bowl Game together in Shreveport Louisiana. GO DUCKS!