I was officiating a wedding in 2007, the last time that the Beavers won a Civil War. I had watched the first half of the game at a friends house, and after griping about the new “Catch through the ground” rule and some unfortunate turnovers late in the first half, what seemed like it could be a laugher turned into a nail biter. Huddled with the groomsmen of the wedding, we listened to the game, through the bizarre “leaping and landing” call and the fourth down stop and Fire Arc Arizona, I was spent.
After that game, i thought that we were seeing the rise to dominance of the Beavers. The following year, we would beat USC at home and while very injured going into the Civil War, I felt like we had an OK shot at winning. I was wary of the ducks who had been surging of late, but I thought we had the defense to slow them down.
I also am wrong a lot. And I mean a lot.
Every year since, I have been waiting for signs that we were returning to being a competitive rival for the ducks, and maybe sneaking in some multi season dominance. The first step to this was taken last Saturday. Behind the legs of Ryan Nall, Marcus McMaryion and Artavis Pierce, the Beavers ran old school, smash mouth football on the ducks all the way to the first Civil War win in nearly a decade.
In this game we saw everything we have come to expect from a Civil War. 3 of the last 4 contests being decided by 10 points or less, the Beavers have knocked on the door a few times. This year they blew through the door with a punishing ground game on a windy, rainy fall night in Corvallis, Oregon. Not to be outdone, the Beaver defense held the ducks to under 400 yards for the first time in over a decade, withstood a furious rush of points in the third quarter and maintained their identity of being the hammer and not the nail.
It was amazing for so many reasons, but also bittersweet for Peter Osborne (or Peter71 as many of you know me as). Amazing because it was the first of what I think will be multiple Beaver Civil War wins. As the coaching staff at Oregon begin packing their things at their office, or at least planning their next steps and freshening up their resumes, the Beavers are trying to channel the excitement of a two game win streak (first streak in the Gary Andersen era) and Civil War victory into recruiting wins as they try and improve on a very competitive and improved season by the men in Orange and Black.
Bittersweet because the last two weeks have shown me something that I have felt for a while but didn’t want to admit: I cannot continue to write The Official Candy Report.
it is not that i have lost my passion for the Beavers (though it has changed a bit) but rather that life is too hectic all the time for me. With each week being a challenge to carve out some time to write even this one single post, I just cannot justify the loss of time with a seeming mountainous list of other commitments calling for my time.
So it is with a sad heart that I step away from TOCR. I started this 13 years ago on Pure Orange because I wanted to have some fun with games and also to show my appreciation for the players that choose to fight for OSU, whether in good times or bad. Ultimately, I did this for the players. As an ex-player (though not for OSU because they were never THAT bad) I know what goes into each game. The preparation, film study, practice, home work, study halls and somewhere finding time to be a 20 year old student. The amount of time that student athletes have to commit to school and athletics is daunting. I wanted to write something that showed that I appreciated them even if the team wasn’t doing well. With 11 different people playing at any given play, some of them are bound to be doing well.
Through this blog and postings on Pure Orange and people asking for Candy on Tuesdays if I was running late (really my favorite memories), I have met some amazing Beaver fans and players and player families. I have tried to honor them by making sure I respect the work they put in and the people that love them and just wanted a break from fans who make personal attacks or go out of their way to throw barbs at young men from the safety of their laptops and sofas. Sometimes knowing them was a blessing, and some times knowing what was going on in a program was painful. Through it all, I would never change a single moment or stroke of the keys. With every typo filled article I was able to be a part of people’s weekly Beaver media consumption and that will always be precious to me.
So thank you, thank you all for everything. Andy is going to take over the blog for me and I may post now and again, but for right now, I am going to take this time, following a huge Civil War win to say goodbye and to offer up my last Award:
The Peppermint Candy Ice Cream Award of Lifetime Achievement:
This award goes to Beaver Nation. Right now, you are needed more than ever to help promote a program trying to build itself up into a power. The Beavers need you and you have always responded when asked. While I may be moving on as a writer, I hope to move up as a donor and supporter of the program. Continue to make citizenship of this exclusive group such a great thing. Crank some chainsaw, explode some first down chants, Fight Fight Fight all the way to the Rose Bowl and stay classy along the way. No one wants to be like duck fans. Or Huskies for that matter…