Fall practice is upon us. It's the first sign of college football season, and Christmas morning for Rob Moseley's Twitter. The 2011 Oregon football team, until fall practice opens, has been nothing but a myth, an idea in every Duck fan's head. Dreams of crystal footballs and bronze statues dance about like flotsam in our minds, and that itch for the season becomes nearly uncontrollable. This off-season has been especially tough for Oregon fans for two reasons. First, the agonizing finish to the 2010 season. It isn't just that the Ducks lost the national title game, it's that they lost in the most frustrating way possible, leaving a number of opportunities out there that could have meant the difference between winning and losing. Seeing our team walk off that field defeated, seeing the other team celebrate underneath a shower of applause and confetti, seeing all that left an unfulfilled bitterness on our tongues, a taste that just won't go away no matter how hard we try to get rid of it. The tumultuous, rumor-riddled off-season just made matters worse, and having our team return to the sanctuary of the field is the escape we all needed. And now all that is over, right?
I will be skipping the hoopla surrounding fall practice this year for a number of reasons. First, I don't live in Eugene, OR. As a student, I was right in the thick of things. If I wanted to check out fall practice, I could just put on my running shoes and head to Autzen. Now, my scope of fall practice is nothing but words on a computer screen. It isn't as shiny and exciting that way. In fact, it's pretty lame. All these brief updates do is make the cravings worse. So wait, now they're out there playing and I can't see any of it? That's not fair! Larry Scott, if you're reading this, televising fall camp on the Pac-12 Network should be a must. There will still be eighteen or so hours of the day left to show the 2008 Civil War over and over again. I resent the fact that there are Duck fans who get to watch football weeks before I do. Instead of trying to soak up information, I will instead be childish and sit alone in my apartment, eating my sour grapes. And maybe I wouldn't mind so much if fall practice didn't worry the hell out of me every year. I spend the whole summer thinking about perfection, imagining what it would be like to run the table and win the whole thing. So when I hear that so-and-so linebacker was having trouble keeping track of his assignments, or that the third-string running back has a case of fumbleitis, my mind overreacts. I start to get antsy for that first game. I have faith that the players will correct their mistakes, but that worst-case scenario is there, gnawing at my cerebellum like an annoying rodent. And Ryan Katz won't quit nibbling on the inside of my head until the opening kickoff on September 3rd. Not this year, you bucktoothed little bastard. Ignorance is bliss.
Don't let me be a buzzkill for your Fall Practice Fever. By all means, scour the Internet looking for every piece of information. You should seek out how many catches BJ Kelley has tomorrow, or whether we will lose to LSU based on how well the offensive line plays, or whether Boseko Lokombo looks bigger or smaller or sadder than he did last year. But you won't see me asking those questions. I'll be elsewhere, reading a book or drinking a beer or throwing rocks at people wearing purple. I'll meet up with you guys and gals on September 3rd. Look out for me, I'll be the one in the Ducks jersey, throwing back a whisky and Dr. Delight.