But, I get it now. That spring game I went to at Autzen Stadium was nothing more than a mere hint of what a real game would be like. If you'll remember, after that game I decided I was happier watching a game on TV where I wouldn't get distracted by everything going on in the stadium and forget to watch what was happening on the field. And where the cameras gave me good close ups of the players and what was happening down there on the field.
But when a friend couldn't make yesterday's game and offered me his ticket, it seemed foolish to say no, so off I went. And I found out what it's all about. Didn't hurt that it was a clear, if nippy, day, or that the Ducks played their best game of the year and beat up on an old rival in the process. Or that Oregon's most recent revered football idol was in the house. None of that hurt, at all. I got the full experience -- and let's face it, lots of really fun stuff happens in the stadium during commercial breaks! And of course the noise, egged on by the big display saying 'make noise', and 'louder'. And which I was happy to take part in. Surprised I still have a voice today, frankly. Fun, exhilarating, a lifetime experience for me even though I didn't realize it would be that way going in.
I accidentally found myself at the tunnel that leads from the stadium to the team locker rooms (a pretty snazzy place) pre-game, so I stuck around for awhile to see who might show up. Missed Vernon Adams, heard somebody else point him out, but he was walking the other direction by then, stopping graciously to pose for quick photos with fans. Embarrassed to say I don't know who this guy is, although his face is certainly familiar. Even studying the team roster photos I couldn't connect him to any of them, with any certainty. And of course, I don't remember his number. He's a big one, though, whoever he is! And gracious with the fans.
And, as I mentioned above, Marcus Mariota was in the house today, enjoying being a fan and no doubt happy to be around a winning team again. His presence probably gave the team a little added energy and incentive, too.
Earlier in the day, in a private ceremony, Marcus' Heisman display was blessed in the traditional Hawaiian way.
Marcus with Vernon Adams and Scott Frost. Both photos shamelessly stolen from Twitter.
During the first quarter, probably at the first commercial break, the Thank You, Marcus video was shown on the big screen and then Marcus live, on the field, waving at the crowds. Another standing O from grateful fans.
And of course, between the third and fourth quarters a long-standing tradition at Autzen, this year featuring a different video on the screen. Part of the toga party scene from Animal House -- the Shout! In the past they used video from the movie. This year, part of the movie was spliced into the beginning of a video that came out last summer, the same scene recreated with the same singer but featuring Oregon athletes. And minus MM breaking the guitar. Do we want to dance? You bet! And we like to shout, too.
In the end, I didn't have a bit of trouble following the action on the field, keeping my attention in the right place. Many thanks to the friend who furnished the ticket. Sorry you couldn't go, but really, really glad that I had a chance. First, and probably last, game at Autzen. Hard to beat that.