Ducks football tradition reveals comparable cultures

Weeks ago, talk about Alabama playing Oregon sparked my interest. Yes, after Notre Dame beat USC, Oregon lost their chance to play Alabama. But, just asking people about their reactions to both teams is reason enough to talk about it. We all know it’s been a rocky couple of weeks in the world of college football. Juggling around the No. 1 spot for the BCS National Championship like it’s a game within itself. But, Alabama versus Oregon wouldn’t be just a football game; it would be an epic battle of cultures.

Alabama and Oregon could not be further opposite than the North and South Poles. I am lucky enough to experience both varying cultures. I grew up among endless evergreen trees, cloudy rainy days, salmon infested rivers, liberals and Democrats, mixed with the pride in local everything, and Oregon was quite the bubble compared to the elephant-strong culture of Alabama. I love traveling and understanding different perspectives. So, after high school and experiencing the natural beauty and unforgettable flair of the Portlanders, I flew down south for another view through the looking glass. Humidity and endless blue skies beyond belief. Country boys, country fried chicken and country music. Culture shock. Love it!

After interviewing a handful of Oregon Duck fans and Crimson Tide fans, I definitely feel the tension rising! As my childhood friends bash the “big and slow” Alabamians, my fellow classmates mock the Ducks’ “horrible colors and constant change in uniform.” Hearing both perspectives makes me laugh out loud, comment back and say, “You’re right! You’re wrong!” Let the fun begin.

We have some strong willed fans out there. Nick Kish from U of O is certain the game “would be really close. The Ducks may even be down at half, but our speed is just too much for a team centered around size and strength like the Tide. Ducks would pull away in the second half and win by 10.”

In retaliation, Doug Wilson, born and raised in Mobile, Ala., has the same enthusiasm but for the Tide, of course.

“I would expect an Alabama victory by about 10 points,” he said. You heard it here first folks. Ten points will be the deciding factor, say these big fans.

The Ducks stick to their courageous, speedy offense while the Crimson Tide holds true to their rock wall defense. Who could possibly win this game? New, fresh blood from the West Coast or traditional blood from the South? I had to ask: “Do the Oregon Ducks know football like the South? Why or why not?”

Doug Wilson (Mobile, Ala., sophomore): “ No. [In] the South, back in the day during the Civil War, football became a measure of manhood, depending on whether or not you can play football. It was the mark of the man. It’s kind of a big deal. In Mobile, our newspapers start a 150 day countdown with a quote leading up to the starting of football season. We have two different seasons, waiting for football season and football season. That’s it.”

Emily Abernathy (Huntsville, Ala., freshman): “No. In the South, it grows more deep. We have more passion.”

The Alabamians stay true to their history, the core of their spiritual connection to the sport of football. What say you, Ducks?

Nick Kish (Portland, Ore., graduate): “I’d say the Ducks know present-day football better than the South. We’re not stuck in the past. We’re innovating the sport and going faster than most can keep up with. And yes, I do believe it makes a difference knowing present-day football better than the South.”

The present challenges the past. The Crimson Tide criticizes the Ducks’ lack of experience and passion for the sport, while the Ducks believe they have the technique to revolutionize football and push aside the traditional ways of the South. Bold, very bold indeed.

I started writing this columnweeks ago, when the Ducks were an actual potential contender. I give them props for stirring up the playing field, but it’s all about consistency and pulling through. And so, we cross our fingers and anxiously continue watching our beloved Crimson Tide football team plow through the next couple of weeks. Throughout the nation we are feared and challenged, making each season more thrilling than the next. So get ready. Roll Tide.


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