With all due respect to the Fail Blazers and the Fightinâ Alaska Airlines, the contest isnât even close.
Thereâs only one sports team that provides a distinctively Portland experience.
a team that plays its sport in an unconventional way thatâs been copied
and mimicked across the country in a vain attempt to be hip. It wears
outlandish, artisanal uniforms designed by a hometown business. It puts
professional-grade cash into an amateur enthusiasm.
So what if it plays in Eugene? Portlandâs top team is the Oregon Ducks football squad.
The Ducks own the
entire state. Drive around this city and youâll see three times as many
window decals, magnetic signs and pennants featuring the schoolâs âOâ
logo as any RCTID sticker or red-and-black NBA team logo that looks
like water going down a toilet.
high-flying, nationally second-ranked Ducks (5-0) are averaging a
phenomenal 59.2 points per game this season (while allowing a paltry
11.8 points by opponents) and a mere 20-odd seconds between plays. (The
Timbers boast about their effective possession of the ballâa euphemism
for playing keepaway for an hour and a half. Yawn.)
The Ducks have gone 51-7 over the past five seasons.
the Blazers have a 159-153 record in that time and continue hyping
their hopes for that elusive No. 8 playoff seed. If you like ties, the
Timbers are good at those: With 14 draws this season, they lead Major
League Soccer in sister-kissing.
The fans at the Rose
Garden (sorry, Modaâwhatever) too often sit on their hands. Timbers fans
are certainly enthusiastic and can pride themselves on being one of the
two MLS fan bases that bother to show up to games.
But itâs Autzen Stadium that has earned a well-deserved national reputation in a sport Americans actually care about.
From the opening
moments, when the Duck rips out onto the field on the back of a Harley,
to the end of the game, when the Duck is exhausted from doing a pushup
for every Oregon point, a cacophonous tide of chants roars throughout
crowd (green, yellow, black, white, chrome, grellow, etc., to match the
teamâs uniform combo) pounds opponents with a blast of noise thatâs
like thunder hitting simultaneously with lightning.
You can feel it as
the entire crowd gasps whenever DeâAnthony Thomas touches the ball. You
can see it when quarterback Marcus Mariota decides to run instead of
pass, or when freshman Torrodney Prevot breaks into an overenthusiastic
celebration following a deflected pass in a monsoon.
Haters can disparage
the lavish gifts of Uncle Phil Knight, including the $68 million
football performance center, and purists can bemoan the days when
college athletes and coaches didnât get the royal treatment, complete
with their own castle.
But you know what money buys?
Thrills. Victory. Fun.
[All Rip City Vs. No Pity articles are collected here.]