When I first heard a bunch of University of Oregon scholar athletes were caught on camera snowballing around campus last Friday, I was pretty outraged …and excited — especially after I looked up what snowballing means in the Urban Dictionary.
Then I became one of 3.3 million to watch the clip of the players snowballing with actual members of the U of O student body and, to be honest, I was a little disappointed. I mean, yes, it got everywhere, but I was just expecting a little something more and at least wanted to see a handful of two-ways.
But then I started reading commentary about why it’s bad to pack molecules of frozen water and throw it at people and things, especially grumpy former professors who look like the scary old man with the shovel from Home Alone who turns good in the end, when all along I thought this was one of the great joys of extreme weather circumstance brought on by global warming.
I guess I was wrong. I guess having fun in the snow is no longer sanctioned by the NCAA or the Pac 12 or the University of Oregon.
I guess throwing snowballs at cars, especially rental-looking cars (which is the most fun thing ever), is no longer a welcome distraction from the fact that the school is making close to $150 million in ticket, TV and licensing revenue off the free labor of football players in the apparent exchange for jackets that don’t even look warm enough for early fall in Eugene …much less actual snow.
And hey, this at least proves some U of O football players actually set foot on campus.
But now every major quick-to-judge news and sports-shouting outlet is chiming in and there’s talk of the school taking action in the form of, among other things, suspending players (patsy tight end Pharaoh Brown the first to fall) from the Alamo Bowl on Dec. 30, which is basically the punishment equivalent of not allowing your child to finish his or her vegetables before giving them dessert.
In the spirit of reactionary commentary, I do believe Oregon players should be admonished …for not using their superhuman talents to throw snowballs at the right things.
Here then is my list of things I wish Oregon football players would throw snowballs at:
11) Mike Bellotti. I don’t really have anything against the winningest coach in Oregon history other than the fact that he pretty much continued his mentor Rich Brooks’ school of running up the middle on third and long, never really won the big game and shaved the ‘stache just when the Ducks needed it most (ie, after QB Dennis Dixon got hurt in ’07 and then number two Oregon proceeded to lose three straight to close out the season). Nor do I want to kick the man while he’s down (lost his ESPN gig in 2012) but I think a snowball aimed at the shorn upper lip might be appropriate for the $41,000 that shows up every month in the checking account of the embattled one-and-done AD as part of his retirement package. That’s right, the Oregon Public Employees Retirement System pays more than $500,000 a year, or about $10 million if he lives to see 80, to keep Bellotti not in mustache wax.
10) Phil Knight. I still can’t help but guess that the Oregon alum was secretly flipped Homeland-style while attending business school at Stanford in the early ’60s. How else can one explain the Ducks being the most dominant team in college football for the past two seasons running with a scoring differential of plus 32 and absolutely rolling over (both at home and on the road) vs. the Tree in mid-season. It doesn’t make math sense and it doesn’t make business sense. But it DOES make sense that the $16-billion-man Knight, who donated $106 million to Stanford Business School in 2006, (making the smart smarter) would have a vested interest in keeping the well-endowmented Cardinal at the top of the charts. For that, the turncoat benefactor gets a snowball in the Big Phil grill.
9) Carolyn Davidson. Continuing with the Nike theme, Davidson is the sort-of-unknown designer of The Nike Swoosh. A Portland State student when she met Phil Knight on a chance encounter in the early ’70s, she claims to have spent more than 17 hours designing one of the world’s best-known logos and got paid $35 for the effort. In 1983 she was given 500 shares of Nike stock as something of a white elephant, but that’s it. Actually, she deserves to throw a snowball at her own design for the effort.
8) The 1973 MGB convertible. The car that killed Steve Prefontaine at age 24 in 1975 should get a whole bunch of snow dumped on it. Of course, Pre’s not-oft-reported driving with a BAC of .16 on windy Skyline Boulevard near Hendricks Park should shoulder some of the brunt of the icy treat as well.
7) Starbucks on 13th and Alder. The red-brick one-story on the iconic Eugene intersection bordering campus used to house Guido’s, an Italian buffet-and-family-style eatery owned by a bunch of crazy Greeks. Tuesdays in the ’90s meant Mug Night at Guido’s. And Mug Night was no misnomer. Bring a mug and fill it up, endlessly, for one dollar and chillax to DJ Half Pint’s 12-minute mashup of Mr. Jones and The Sign. The line that currently extends around the block for a nonfat peppermint Frappuccino® used to be coeds clad in Eddie Bauer jeans and Gap panel rugby shirts. For gentrifying the Health Center’s biggest patient incubator Starbucks, here’s a snowball straight to your delicious Refreshers™ Orange Melon beverage.
6) Northwest Christian “University”. Not even Dean Wormer could be the foot that got rid of the worst fraternity on campus, but in 1986, the historic building that was home of the Delta Tau Chi in 1978’s Animal House was torn down and in its place, an ’80s-looking tudor-meets-doctor’s-office thing that is current host to the Northwest Christian University’s school of Education and Counseling. “They took the bar!” …Also, a big snowball in the face to whomever greenlighted (is it greenlighted or greenlit?) the destruction of the original structure (built circa 1868), which, among other things, was the original home of Dr. A.W. Patterson, one of Eugene’s founding fathers.
5) The State of Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC). …For shuttering Taste of Germany in 1994. Taste of Germany was a brats-and-beer haus situated in a ramshackle former shotgun-style boarding home just off 13th on Alder Street about a block from campus. Taste of Germany adopted a very European attitude when it came to serving minors in the early 1990s. If you looked like a minor, you got served. One hard-packed frozen projectile in the eye OLCC for closing down this place a week after I got my fake Oregon drivers’ license from that guy in the dorms and making way for the gross- and short-lived-ness of CJ Pepper’s “healthy fast food.”
4) Myself. …For not once taking the time to purchase one of Frog’s jokebooks or not helping Pink Man outride several Amber Alerts with his unicycle or never assisting Hattune and her cart across Kincaid or giving her the other half of my Big Town SW Chicken Fajita that I was never going to finish. Shame on me and a snowball in the ear (where it hurts the most) for lack of sensitivity.
3) The Matthew Knight Arena. Sure your facade looks like something from how one of the Matrix sequels should’ve been, and the floor is something you want in your kitchen along with granite countertops and stainless steel appliances, but did you have to tear down Williams Bakery? I mean, nothing connotes waking up in the dorms in Eugene more than the combined smell fresh-baked toaster strudel hot off the industrial oven, windowsill mildew, spilled bong water creeping from the dorm lounge and the dormy waft of a prophylactic-and-puke lined garbage can in the corner.
2) Kenya Wilkens’ white Mercedes Benz 380SL. I don’t know why, but I remember the point guard and former John R. Wooden finalist/Oregon’s all-time leader in assists and steals cruising around Eugene in a 1985 pearl white Benz with blacked out windows pumping Skee-Lo as he parked crooked at Burrito Boy and got out in one-leg-rolled-up sweats flashing his signature grin as he ordered a “buttload of taquitos” to take back to the UI. I always wanted to throw a snowball at the ride, but not at Kenya.
1) The U of O Book Store for not selling anything normal anymore. All I want is a 100-percent- cotton John Deere-green shirt with Donald Duck punching his fist through a giant O right smack dab in the middle of it. I don’t want it bedazzled like a pair of Real Hosewives jeans. I don’t want it distressed to look fake-old. I don’t want it spray-painted in a Banksy stencil style. I don’t want it offset so it bleeds around the side and onto the back. I don’t want it ironically acid washed. I don’t want it the color of someone’s fading glowstick at the end of Burning Man. I don’t want it embroidered on some new Nike wick-away fabric with a made-up name like ‘Fabricon’. I just want a normal shirt. Apparently this is too tall an order, so you get the biggest, most-packed ball ‘o snow aimed at your painted plate glass face bookstore.