I admit that I've had a little trouble adjusting to the lofty heights that Oregon Football has found itself. I'm not comfortable spouting off to everyone that might hear about how great we are or how we're the best team in the country. For the first time in recent memory, I'm faced with a real possibility of seeing a USC fanbase rush the field in the event of a victory over my Oregon Ducks. When was the last time you saw USC storm the field after beating someone?
I can be proud of all that and what it means to the success of a team I love.
After all, I'm a fan at heart, caught up in the magic of an unbelievable season. As I stood in my pre-assigned place within the hallowed walls of Autzen Stadium last Thursday however, I couldn't help but feel a little bit uneasy at a seemingly innocent act by the crowd.A UCLA Bruins player was on the ground, being attended to by their staff and I was hearing boos rain down from all corners of the stadium. I had seen the play and it didn't look like he'd suffered anything major but it was still early on in the examination. I've seen major injuries appear to be nothing, seen guys walk off the field looking perfectly fine, only to found out later that their career was over.
There was no advantage to UCLA for a player to take a dive in that situation. We weren't pushing it down their throats, we weren't looking to run them out of the place. This was a different situation. We were booing an injured player, before we could tell if it was serious or not.
I don't want to be that fan base.
I admit it. I booed during the Stanford game when I saw Chase Thomas take a dive and immediately sprint back onto the field. I've watched YouTube videos that showcase the flopping this year and I feel completely in the right about booing those events. I would do it again in a heartbeat. I saw something different on Thursday against UCLA. It may have been just a stinger or it could have been serious. Autzen didn't give it a chance to find out. Guy goes down, play is over, fans see a down UCLA player and boo.
Have we become so jaded by these fake injuries that we'll now boo anytime an opposing player faces an injury? To be the number one team in the land, you have to hold yourselves to a higher standard of excellence. As fans, we need to do the same. Some commented about hearing Washington State Cougar fans "cheer" when Kenyon Barner went down. Although this had more to do with the result of the play rather than the injury, the emotional attachment to the situation was strong as we saw one of our own fall amongst those with supposed glee. We need to be more careful about passing judgment on these kids that play a game we all love lest we be judged ourselves in a way unbecoming of the fanbase we strive to be.
It's easy to open that box. What comes out may be a lot harder to put back in.