Editor’s note: Former Oregon State men’s basketball player Adam Masten (1998-2002) wanted to share his thoughts on the OSU/UO rivalry. Here’s what he has to say. From time to time, he’ll contribute OSU-related insight and thoughts here.
Some people really just don’t get it.
The author of this FishDuck.com article is one of those individuals. His article floated around social media last week making the argument that UO and OSU fans should root for their rivals to do well. From the timing of the article, I’m led to believe that he’s got his finger pointed right at the Beaver faithful routing for the “other OSU” come Monday. His response to those wearing red next week: “Move to California” — the insult of all insults for any Oregonian.
My favorite Oregon Lottery billboard of all time is the image of a map of the west coast with California missing from it, proclaiming that luck happens. So those words a week later, still raise my blood pressure a notch.
Do I have it wrong? Is that author right, should I be rooting for the school to the south? After being insulted, I placed my anger aside to rethink my position and what resulted is all too natural for me. I’ve always had two favorite teams: The Beavs and whoever is playing the ducks.
I came to a quick conclusion. This guy is missing something. You can tell he comes from a well-meaning place, but I’m not sure fans of UO are in a position tell me and the rest of my OSU faithful that we should root for their team. There is a long tradition of intense rivalry in Oregon.
So is it possible to hope for the best for each other in a true rivalry? Batman and the Joker, Hatfield and McCoys, etc. . . and do you think Auburn was routing for Alabama against Ohio State? It goes against the grain to root for someone who wants to beat you. Our two schools always are competing, even when we are not playing. We are trying to outdo the ducks on and off the field when it comes to athletics. Consider some historical perspective.
In 1953, duck fans were caught burning an “O” on OSU campus lawns. Oregon State students stripped them down to their waist and painted them orange and black. In 1910, after Oregon won the Civil War, fans of both teams rioted, resulting in the cancellation of the 1911 game. In 1960, UO students “abducted” the OSU homecoming queen in front of her home. In 1954, OSU students held 25 UO students “prisoner” after they infiltrated OSU’s traditional bonfire. Those duckies heads were shaved, once again painted, and then they forced to do menial labor for the OSU frats. Certainly, the folks involved in these pranks weren’t rooting for their rivals.
Then there’s the question: How does the ducks’ success help OSU? Conference revenue dollars that all conference schools get, what else? I can’t think of any true advantage Oregon winning Monday night gives Oregon State. It would hurt recruiting, especially in state, and I can’t see how donors will be more excited to cut OSU checks. Oregon residents with no affiliation usually get behind a championship caliber team and spend dollars on jerseys and gear. So someone please tell me how them winning helps us.
Don’t get me wrong. From everything I’ve seen about number 8 (Ducks QB Marcus Mariota), I’d be happy to see my son turn out like him (Biggest compliment you can get out of me). He’s a humble leader with faith and determination, and by all accounts, a great guy. I wish him well, but not to detriment to my team.
I’m not sure duck fans should be telling me how I should support my school. We are adding to what we’ve built and we’ve still got work to do. We continuously have to hear the “little brother” jokes and they have gone on for way too long — but I don’t want them to stop until we start a streak or our own and get those bragging rights.
Because I’m looking forward to the day I get to sling athletic jabs at my duck friends with a football Civil War win streak behind us. We know we are not where we need to be as a program (We are all excited about Gary Andersen, though!). And while the streak of losses on the football field to UO is tough to deal with, we’ve got something to prove and we are working hard toward getting there. That said, we need to take every advantage along the way and pray for some good luck. The ducks winning the “Ship” doesn’t get us closer to that goal.
So let me be clear on a couple things as I wrap up. My attitude is all about athletic competition. A former UO basketball great (my rival on the hardwood) now is a part of my family and he’s a great person, friend, and truly a brother. I also speak to a former UO wide receiver every week. Lately, we banter about me purchasing an Ohio State t-shirt for the game and then he pokes fun at me for only beating Oregon once during my career at OSU. That’s fun. I’ll buy him a beer and we’ll watch the game together. That’s what the rivalry is for me. The banter stops after athletics. Just because my brother-in-law’s team is playing a big game doesn’t mean I need to root along with him. In fact, the banter brings us closer.
Maybe the author of that FishDuck article isn’t missing something. Maybe I have it wrong. Or maybe it’s my sports background and the competitive juices still flowing through my veins 12 years after hanging up the sneakers that makes me feel this way.
Still, Mike of FishDuck, I hope your team loses. I would love to buy you a beer after they do.
Adam Masten, 98-02 OSU Mens Basketball