Football and Religion: The Connection is Real


My son on the big screen at the U of O Ducks game

MONTCLARION: November 4, 2011

I see why folks equate football with religion. I’m not talking Tim Tebow here, although his reverence before Bronco games has led to a new term for public prayer called “Tebowing.”

I’m talking about the unparalleled beauty of a ballpark in fall and the spirit that fills its fans. For the Cal Bears, this year, it’s AT&T Park — where the stadium is awash in blue and gold with a backdrop of ships on the sparkling Bay.

In Oregon, it’s Autzen Stadium, where I’m penning this piece right now.

Since my son became a U of O Duck this year, I’ve been overcome by the beauty of Eugene in autumn. It’s not just the electric yellow and green Duck wear, or the bright crimson leaves on the trees — it’s the whole pregame ritual. It’s the parties in the lounge at our Red Lion Hotel; the Oregon flags that folks hang in their room windows and the big morning breakfast and brisk walk — en masss — to the stadium.

Football fans are a congregation, and game day is their gospel. Spend a Saturday in a college stadium near you, and you’ll be a believer too.

GETTING CONNECTED: When is a traffic jam something to celebrate? When it’s the result of a decades-long effort to get underground utilities in the Piedmont Pines neighborhood. Crews have begun working on panel conversion, and that, coupled with the repaving on Mountain Boulevard, has traffic in a bit of a tangle going through the area.

ANIMAL TALES: Four Texas tigers are settlinginto their new home at the Oakland Zoo, just in time for the Thanksgiving break kids camp. The sisters arrived last week after zoo director Joel Parrott agreed to take the cats so they wouldn’t have to be split up. Tigers are cute as kittens, but, as the humans who raised them found out, they are unpredictable and expensive as adults. Ten pounds of food per kitty per day — a lot of Friskies.

FIRESTORM PHOTOS: Some of the most stirring photographs of the Oakland hills firestorm are now up online at www.thomasbachand.com/oakland_firestorm. Local photographer Thomas Bachand has poignant images and essays of the tragic event as we continue to remember the 20th anniversary.

BOOK IT: History buffs should check out the sale at The Bookmark Bookstore in Old Oakland (www.thebookmarkbookstore.org). A collection of books owned by the late Oakland writer Jessica Mitford includes titles from Art Hoppe, Herb Caen and others. Reader Kathleen Hirooka says the proceeds will go to the Oakland Public Libraries.

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