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Rose Bowl Reminiscings From An Oregon Grad


After the Oregon Ducks devastated the UCLA Bruins in the inaugural Pac-12 Championship Game on Dec. 2, my friends and I began making Rose Bowl travel plans. On Dec. 29, our crew of 13 caravanned southbound on I-5 to Southern California, where we hoped our football team would find its first BCS victory in three consecutive tries.

After a brief stop for a nap in San Francisco, we continued to Malibu, our weekend home base. Our Prius/Suburban caravan arrived as the sun set and the fog rolled in, essentially masking every necessary street sign. Eventually, we made it to our friend’s house. His mom, the Mayor of Malibu, greeted us with snacks and places to sleep.

We spent New Year’s Eve enjoying warm sunshine by the house’s pool situated on a hill above the ocean fog. As midnight neared, we arrived at a house function worthy of HBO’s Entourage.

New Year’s Day brought more sunshine and a heightened intensity for the Jan. 2 Rose Bowl game. After cruising the Venice Beach boardwalk for lunch, our caravan drove a few miles away to Santa Monica for the University of Oregon Pep Rally. Peter Jacobsen and Neil Everett hosted the event and introduced guest speakers like former UO quarterback Joey Harrington and various university professors.

We awoke in time to watch the sunrise over the Malibu oceanfront on Jan. 2. A quick stop at Lily’s for a breakfast burrito energized us for the drive into Pasadena. We parked on the golf course next to the Rose Bowl with four hours to mentally prepare for the game.

The stadium glistened in the 82-degree sunshine. Thousands of green-and-yellow-clad fans roamed the tailgate areas, rarely integrating with the red-and-white Wisconsin opposition. Fans exchanged friendly (and inhospitable) banter before entering the stadium, fueling our animosity for the Big 10 challenger.

We saw every play with intense accuracy as we sat six rows behind the Oregon end zone. The Ducks and Badgers battled hard through the duration of the contest, culminating in a potentially game winning drive by Wisconsin that ended with a ball spike as time expired. I stood in bittersweet excitement, knowing that my last student Duck game couldn’t have been more exciting. Wide receiver Josh Huff hoisted the trophy, symbolizing the Duck’s first Rose Bowl win in 95 years.

We drove home the next day, leaving the sun behind us as we headed for the rain. The 2,000-mile journey exceeded all of our expectations.

*By: Tom Malone
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