Monday, January 10, 2011
Game Day Ready!
Never having played on a competitive sports team, I’m not personally familiar with the rituals teammates go through to prepare for a big game; however, I’m intimately knowledgeable about the rituals this fan goes through before a big game. Tonight’s National Championship game is the biggest game ever for my favorite team: The University of Oregon Ducks football team. Leading up to this game, my cars have sported Ducks flags, my theme tree for Christmas was an Oregon tree and my house is now decorated, not only with red for Valentine’s Day, but also with green and yellow for tonight’s game – we even have a Duck soap dispenser in the bathroom. For the last several days I have worn nothing but Duck clothing: t-shirts, hats, fleece, jewelry. This morning, however, it wasn’t enough to just slip on a Duck shirt; today, I went through my Game Day ritual. First, the shirt: I have worn the same black “I Love My Ducks” shirt this entire season. I didn’t plan on it becoming my “Game Day shirt”, but when something works, you don’t mess with it. Next, my jewelry: the beaded green and yellow “O” bracelet made for me several years ago by my friend Tami, my green and yellow Nike (have to give a nod to Uncle Phil) watch and my green and yellow beaded earrings made for me this past summer by my friend Sally’s mom. Then, the purse: I switch my “stuff” from my daily purse to my little Oregon Ducks backpack purse. This is a great purse for going to games because it’s compact and was cheap enough that I don’t worry about someone spilling soda on it. Finally, the jacket: I’m not as particular here. I have several Ducks jackets and I wear the one that best fits the weather. This morning it was cold and I considered also wearing my yellow fleece Ducks scarf that I came across last night (found after a year of being MIA in our guest room which has been occupied by one kid or another for more than a year and which is now back to being a guest room), but I couldn’t bring myself to put it around my neck – it has not been part of my Game Day ritual this season.
Once I’m dressed and ready to go out (or leave for the game if it’s a home game – with an 0-5 road record, I’m barred from away games), I then text my Game Day message to a regular group of family and friends. During the regular football season I include wishes for my kids and their soccer teams and sometimes I give a shout-out to another Pac-10 school (never the Huskies), but the essence of the text message is simple: It’s Game Day! Go Ducks!
As I go through the motions of getting dressed, putting on my jewelry, preparing my bag and sending my Game Day text, I feel at-one with the team. This is my Game Day ritual and, while not a single player on the team knows who I am, I know that the team, other fans and myself all have our own ways of preparing for and supporting the team. We are all Ducks and I do feel Ducky today!