oregon state blog

I’m a die-hard fan of Oregon State Beavers football because…

Through Years of Misery, Beavers Endure

If you look at my profile you’ll see that first-and-foremost I’m a Boston Red Sox fan. I know how to deal with misery.

I am 22 years old and have lived in Oregon for the entirety of my short life. I never plan on moving either. I love everything about this state. My dad grew up in New Hampshire and attended the University of Colorado for two years; my mom grew up between California and Oregon and graduated from Portland State University.

Growing up my closest college allegiance was to the University of Washington—two of my grandparents went, and met, there. So, for the first 18 years of my life I was a platypus—i.e. neutral to the happenings of college football in Oregon. Then I graduated high school, and began attending Oregon St. University.

Now, I’m a Beaver for life and nothing is going to change that.

OSU Mike Riley

Reeser has seen witness to many games where giants have fallen.

How did I get here? Obviously, I picked the wrong time to attend college.

My first two years the Beavers missed the Rose Bowl by losing to the Ducks in the final game of the season. My last two years the program was an absolute disappointment.

Yet, I have never stopped bleeding orange and black.

Through all ups and downs my roots will always be ingrained in Reser’s beautiful Saturday morning turf. I’m a Beavers fan because…

We’re Giant Killers

September 23, 2008.

I woke up at 6 am and sat in line for four hours before I was finally awarded my first OSU Beaver’s ticket. OSU vs. USC, is it really worth all this wait?

Jump ahead two days to game day.

I walk into Reser with my girlfriend and find a spot in the bleachers next to some friends. It’s crowded and stinks like stale PBR. A drunk guys makes note to learn everyone’s name in a two person radius; for some reason mine is the only one he can’t remember.

Definitely not worth it.

9 minutes and 20 seconds into the game and Jacquizz Rodgers punches one into the endzone. Beavers are up 7-0.

This isn’t going to last.

Half time, OSU is up 21-0. Things are really looking up.

It’s the fourth quarter, and USC has stormed back to make it 14-21. OSU just punted the ball with over 3 minutes left.

“Damn it!” This is looking ugly… wait a minute! Greg Laybourn intercepts the ball and takes it back to the Trojan’s 2 yard line. They’re going to do it!

My first OSU football experience ended with the painting of Reser stadium as thousands of students rushed the field. An unranked OSU Beaver’s led by an unknown Jacquizz Rodgers had just beaten No. 1 ranked USC. It is an experience I hope to never forget. OSU’s history is filled with these amazing David and Goliath moments.

Whether it’s USC, Notre Dame or USC three more times, the Beaver’s have always made a great underdog story. Everybody loves an underdog.

“SAMMIE!”

It started with every kickoff and punt, as long as No. 19 was in the backfield. First came the cheers.

“SAmmie,” “SAmmie,” “SAMMie…” Each one getting louder then the next. Then came the stomps. Leather thrust against shaky metal bleachers. “SAMMIE!” “SAMMIE!” “SAMMIE!”

Sammie Stroughter

The Sammie Sammie chant was EPIC.

The Sammie Stroughter chant was one of the most energizing things during home games. It was also a great tribute to one of the best return men/wide receivers to ever put on the orange and black. I will forever love the Beavers because of Sammie.

Not just because of the chant, but because he was a helluva exciting player to watch. One second he’d be returning a kick back for 70 yards, the next he’d be in the endzone on a 60-yard catch.

Off the field, Stroughter was one of the most enigmatic men on campus. For his first three seasons he would carry a huge smile that could light up a room. For the next two he was a man possessed by crippling depression.

In 2008, his final season at OSU, treatment had brought back the Sammie that Beaver fans everywhere had come to know and love.

My love for Oregon State football has never been just about the game, but also about the players.

Sammie Stroughter’s smiling face plastering campus. Jacquizz and James joking it up in the Memorial Union between classes. Stephen Paea, the lumbering giant from humble beginnings. TO me, OSU football is great. What’s even better is OSU football players.

The University of Oregon Media Storm

It’s the final week of August in the summer of 2010.

I’m working at a Chevrolet service facility during summer break, so I spend a lot of my time listening to local radio stations. In one week, OSU will be facing down TCU in Texas. Two weeks later they’ll be facing Boise State. It’s one of the biggest out of conference schedules the Beav’s have had in years.

Further down south, the UO Ducks are preparing to face New Mexico in their first game of the season. For two hours I listen to local columnist and radio host John Canzano discuss the Ducks upcoming game. He spends 5 minutes on the Beavers. Oregon is a great state divided.

On one side you have the Oregon State University Beavers. On the other, the University of Oregon Ducks. Both programs have seen ups and downs. It used to be that the state was evenly split. The Civil War would come, and you’d see equal amounts of orange and black to green and yellow.

Now that the Ducks are on the center stage, they’ve become one of the most bandwagon teams in Oregon. It seems everywhere you look is green and yellow. Not just a bumpersticker here and there, but flags, and stickers, and stuffed animals, and clothes and just about everything else.

I’m all for supporting a home team, especially one in the spotlight like UO. But, if you have no connections to either college, have never cared about either college and suddenly you’re the biggest Ducks fan in the world… well that’s when I get really annoyed.

I’m a Beaver because the Ducks exist, and everywhere you look in Oregon you’re reminded they exist. I support my team because I’m a tried and true member of Beaver Nation, and no amount of UO Duck fanfare is ever going to change that.

It only strengthens my resolve.

The Weather

It’s hard enough to find someone outside of the Pacific Northwest who can pronounce “Oregon” correctly, let alone someone who can tell you where we are in the United States. If you’ve heard of our nice little state, chances are you’ve heard about the weather.

Yes, it rains here a lot; no, it’s not always the sunniest place in the world. No, it is not depressing. In Oregon we have some of the greatest weather in the world.

Oregon Ducks vs. LSU Tigers 2011

Sometimes watching the Ducks lose makes being a Beaver fan worth it.

We’ve got hot and breezy summers, and tantalizingly rainy winters. Both seasons collide in fall to create a weather grab bag. In other words, we’ve got excellent football weather.

I’ve sat at the top level of Reser, soaking in the sun while cooled by the perfect breeze. I’ve froze in the endzone seats, because despite a balmy 50 degree day the wind chill makes it feel like 25.

Yes, I’ve even stood on the west end bleachers as buckets of rain are poured on my head. Football is a play anywhere, anytime, kind of sport. Rain, wind, sun, snow. None of it matters as long as you’ve got a pigskin to toss around.

That’s why football at OSU rocks. No matter what the weather is like, Reser is packed. No matter how frozen our bodies feel, we cheer as loud as we can.

No matter how wet we may be, we’ll never head for shelter. If you want sun, you’re not in the right place. If you want real football weather, then we’ve got just what you’re looking for.

College Rocks

College rocks, that’s the truth.

Going through my senior year, all I wanted was for it to be over. School work is tough. Now that it is actually over, all I wish is that I could go back.

College taught me independence.

College saw mine and my high school sweethearts “dating” life turned into an “engaged” life.

College is where I shared my first beer with my dad, as well as where I learned what a hangover feels like. Beaver football was just one stop amongst my four year journey at Oregon State.

Some of the best memories I have from college reside in the bleachers at Reser Stadium. That’s why I am an OSU Beaver fan. Come game day, if you’re wearing orange and black you are part of Beaver Nation. It doesn’t matter who you are.

There’s true magic in college football. The passion, energy and mysticism on Saturday mornings eclipses any other day. I had my first taste of college football before I attended OSU. However, I never really learned to appreciate it until I became a Beaver.

That’s why I’ll never turn my back on Corvallis.

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About Jonathan Irwin

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