Sunday, November 24, 2013


"No time to wallow in the mire" Forget the bad new at home and abroad. Forget the results of last weeks games, forget the record books, forget Thanksgiving ,Forget "Black Friday" sales  !!!

Here in Oregon this is Civil War Week. The week of the game between the University of Oregon Ducks and the Oregon State University Beavers. The game will be on FoxSports1 on "Black Friday" in Eugene at Oregon's Autzen Stadium. The game will be on Fox Sports 1 at 4:PM PST.
Someone said the "Civil War" game "is for the right to live in the State of Oregon" or at least the right to live in the State of Oregon with your head held high. This is one of college footballs oldest rivalries. The oldest west of the Mississippi. Here in Oregon, Ducks and Beavers can be found in most offices, families and neighborhoods. It's brother vs brother, neighbor vs neighbor and coworker vs coworker so it truly is a Civil War. These two teams and their fans do not like each other.

One of my favorite Civil War stories is from World War II. One of the Band of Brothers featured in the HBO mini series, Don Malarkey, is a University of Oregon alum. His studies were interrupted by World War II and he was in the paratroopers in England preparing for the D-Day landings. Eisenhower and Churchill came to view his unit before the beginning of the invasion and Ike asks Malarkey what he did before the war. He said he was a student at the University of Oregon in Eugene, and Ike asks him who won the last Oregon vs Oregon State Football game. Of course Ike played football for Army at West Point.

It is fun to walk around the tailgate parties before the game because you see Ducks and Beavers together. There is a scene in the movie Gettysburg where a confederate general tells a British Army officer who is there as an observer just before Pickett's charge that "All Virginia is here today". At each Oregon vs Oregon State Football game I like to think "all Oregon is here today."
Jon Wilner, of the San Jose Mercury news in California rates the rivalry football games in the Pac-10 and rates the "Civil War" game as the #1 rivalry game when he writes:

"1. The Civil War.

These days, Oregon-Oregon State has the best combination of passion, significance and competitiveness.

The passion takes the form of hatred — much closer to the Arizona-ASU situation than a healthy dislike.

OSU looks with jealousy at its richer, more-famous, more hip neighbor and wonders what might have been if Phil Knight had gone to OSU. The Ducks hate OSU because they’ve been told to hate OSU for decades.

The games are usually high scoring, although not always close, and the home team has dominated this decade.....

Without question, Oregon and Oregon State have been the most successful natural rivals in the conference in recent years. And that makes the Civil War the league’s best rivalry."

I first learned to hate the Beavers in the late 1960's when the Beavers, regularly under coach Dee Andros,( The Great Pumpkin) beat the shi* out of Oregon Duck Teams and did it with such relish.

A number years ago Dee, long retired, not too long before his death, came to a joint Duck/Beaver "Civil War" lunch in Medford and gave a passionate speech about the "Civil War" game that made me want to strap on a helmet and start playing right there. When Dee Andros walked into the banquet room he was wearing a god awful bright orange blazer and a black and orange striped tie. A local young TV sports reporter, who had probably just moved to this area, walked up to him and asked him if he was an Oregon State fan ..... it brought a smile to my face.

(Dee Andros was a veteran of World War II where he served four years in the U.S. Marine Corps. He was awarded the Bronze Star and spent more than a month under heavy fire on Iwo Jima. He was present at the famed moment when Marines raised the American flag on Iwo Jima.)

In my lifetime I can remember twice when the Duck were denied a trip to the Rose Bowl because of a loss to the Beaver..... The first, was in 1964 when I was in high school and listened to the game on a transistor radio at a speech tournament I was competing in. The Beavers won and went to the Rose Bowl. The second, was in 2000 when I spent part of the game at a hospital with a dying relative.

This has been a bad season for the Beavers and they would dearly love to beat the Ducks while we are "down" A win by them will make their season and Oregon fans will hear about it from our Beaver "friends" for the next 12 long months.Oregon  should remember they hate our guts ! They always cheer for us to lose regardless of who we are playing. There is no Pac 12 Championship to play for, there is no Rose Bowl  or National Championship to play for; BUT, there is "the right to live in the state of Oregon!!!

Just remember Ducks, the Beavers will come at us like mad dogs !

Let's go Ducks Win the Day!

Go Ducks beat the Beavers.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

50 Years Ago!

Every "Baby Boomer" remembers where he was 50 years ago when he first heard the news. This is my story.
I was a junior in high school at North Bend High in North Bend, Oregon on the Oregon coast. I was in my Junior English class, the last class, before our "activity period" which would be followed by the lunch break.  Class was interrupted by an announcement by our Principal, R.V. Wilson, over the school's intercom system, that "President Kennedy has been shot in Dallas Texas".  The very first words spoken in my class were from  fellow student D*** O****** sitting in the desk right behind mine,  who said:  "Wickre, it was you right wing extremists!" Our English teacher Rudy Sellei, who had been in the 1956 Hungarian Uprising against Soviet occupation, replied: "we don't know who did it."
The radio coverage of the news was then piped into the school's intercom system for the rest of the day.  A TV was then set up in our cafeteria during the lunch period and school continued. Because of my well known opinions on politics, even at that age, I witnessed some very unfriendly looks for the rest of the day.
 I was a member of the local chapter of Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) and was working in the "Draft Goldwater" campaign.
Some fellow YAF members a few miles away at Marshfield High in Coos Bay had similar experiences. Two of them were caught laughing over an unrelated joke and the rumor spread like wildfire through the school that they were happy about the assassination.
Only later did we learn that Oswald was a Communist who had lived in the Soviet Union and was a supporter of Fidel Castro.  
I also remember that day the tears that flowed from our female foreign exchange student from Greece. Just the summer before she had joined  my family at our cabin on the lake at Lakeside.  We had argued that night about Kennedy and Goldwater.  At the end of the school year she wrote this this in my high school annual:
"Boy, I will never forget the fight we have had about Kennedy and Goldwater that night on your cottage on Lakeside. Remember? ......"
Yes, I remember

Like most Americans we spent the next few days, through the weekend, glued to the TV as events unfolded.  Our collective hearts broke to watch little John-John salute his dad's coffin!
Regardless of my dislike of  John Kennedy I was crushed  that our political system could be corrupted by an assassination. Things like that did not happen in modern America. It would not be the end.... we still had 1968 before us!
Going back in time, I had been a supporter of Richard Nixon in the campaign against Kennedy in 1960.  I had stayed up way beyond my bedtime hoping Nixon would pull it out in California on election night. Only later did I learn Kennedy and LBJ had stolen the election in Texas and Illinois. For the next two years I had a large poster picture of Nixon on the closet door of my bedroom.  After Nixon lost his race for Governor of California in 1962, I read Barry Goldwater's book "Conscience of a Conservative" and joined Bill Buckley's YAF and started to work in the Draft Goldwater movement.
I was unimpressed by the so called Kennedy coolness  and was repulsed by  how journalist fawned over him. Some things never change.  I believed he deserted the Cuban Freedom Fighters at the Bay of Pigs, gave up too much to the Soviets to end the Cuban Missile Crisis* and used thug tactics in sending the FBI to make midnight calls to intimidate steel executives to end the steel strike. It was only later that we learned about Marilyn Monroe and an affair with mob boss mistress Judith Exner.  
The assassination guaranteed the election of LBJ in 1964 which led to his incompetent leadership in conducting the Vietnam War and the not so "Great Society." This led to the destructive 1960's that damaged the fabric of American society which we are still witnessing today. 
*a little over a year before as a sophomore, I had been in the high school library when the school administration issued a flyer on what their plans were  for school evacuation if the Soviets launched a nuclear strike against the United States. Depending on the amount of warning we would either be sent home or kept at school.