Friday, December 04, 2009

I Smell Roses

Yesterday my University of Oregon Ducks won their Civil War football game against Oregon State by a score of 37-33.  Not only was this our big rivalry game, but the winner goes to the Granddaddy Of Them All, the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day.  So, for the first time since 1994/95, the UO is playing in the Big Game.  Hooray!

It's amazing to me to think back on how far the UO has come and what it took to get back to the Rose Bowl.  Famed coach Mike Bellotti was never able to get us there, although in 2001 we should have gone.  He went there as an assistant coach, and now as Athletic Director, but never in all his time as UO head coach.  New coach Chip Kelly did it in his first season, but Mike Bellotti played a huge part in it too.  He built the program to where it is today, recruited the players and hired coach Kelly.  All his hard work has paid off, even if Mike doesn't get to enjoy it as head coach.

I'm really impressed with new head coach Chip Kelly.  He seems to run the program very well.  He seems to be a true leader.  He seems to care about more than just winning.  In retrospect, I like how he handled the LeGarrette Blount situation.  He handled it himself, no matter what anyone else thought he should do.  He handled it like a real leader.  I'm sure he has thousands of football decisions to make each and every day, so I'm impressed that he took the time to make a player's personal life his priority.  I think that tells me a lot about what kind of person Chip Kelly is.  I like where this program is headed.

The last time the UO went to the Rose Bowl, I was fourteen years old, still in middle school.  Since then, the team has been to more bowls than I can count.  We've been in the national picture a few times.  Even though we've played some big games and played in some big bowls, this moment feels like the result of all those years.  This is the top for us, with the exception of the national championship.  This is the end of an era and the beginning of a new one.  I can't wait to see what happens next.

Go Ducks!

No comments: