Here's the problem with New Year's Resolutions: the ones that never get done, we never wanted to do in the first place. For instance, I could stop drinking soda. It'd probably make me a little healthier, I don't need all that sugar and empty calories, and I enjoy having teeth and not having scary synthetic chemical cancer you apparently get from Diet Coke. But here's the thing: I like drinking soda. It tastes good, it's got bubbles, and the caffeine gives me energy. And why am I going to stop doing something I enjoy? Here's how resolutions should be thought of:
I resolve to change a part of my life that isn't awesome.
Soda is awesome. It isn't good for me, but I think it's awesome, so it stays. My apartment being a dirty, unorganized, shithole? That isn't awesome. So a great resolution for me is to reorganize my apartment, and keep it cleaner throughout the year.
But this isn't about me. If you want to know about my New Year's Resolutions, you can find them HERE. This is about Oregon athletics, and what we as fans can resolve to do to make Ducks sports even better than it already is. And we're gonna start with a controversial topic: the halftime in-and-out policy at Autzen Stadium.
For the many Duck fans who have never attended a game at Autzen, your New Year's Resolution should be to make it happen next year, by any means necessary. When you get there, you will find out that the stadium opens up its gates at halftime, allowing for fans to head back to the parking lot and grab a drink, or seven, before the second half begins. The problem is, there isn't really enough time for approximately 15,000 people to squeeze through the gates, walk back to their vehicles, open and consume a beverage, walk back to the stadium, and get back to their seats. So inevitably, the second half of Oregon games begin to less than a full house. From a football atmosphere standpoint, this is unacceptable. Oregon is an elite football program, and fans should, at this point, feel responsible for elevating their effort to match the team. But from a fan standpoint, the in-and-out policy is great; it discourages fans from sneaking alcohol into the stadium, and I've got to imagine the mad dash to the parking lot and back is fun (truth be told, I've never done it). So which scenario is more awesome: loads of happy and satisfied fans, and a half-full stadium for five minutes in the third quarter, or a rabid atmosphere for sixty minutes, and sixty thousand flasks in sixty thousand pockets? I'm on the fence about this, so I'm leaving it to you, dear reader, to voice your opinion in the poll below.
Here's a resolution that is much more clear-cut: I resolve that Oregon's men's basketball team makes the NCAA tournament. We are now in Year 3 of the Dana Altman Experience, and while the Ducks have made deep runs in two consecutive postseason tournaments, neither have been the Big Dance. Oregon sits at 11-2 after non-conference play, and this is a year of parity in the Pac-12, where essentially any team in the conference can make a run at the championship. This won't be a year where the Pac-12 gets five or six teams into the tournament, but Oregon has the talent and the system to be among the top two or three at the end of the season. March Madness is undeniably awesome, and Oregon being involved is something that should be happening with regularity. It is resolved!
Lastly, the most lofty of my resolutions: I resolve to watch an Oregon team win an NCAA championship this spring. 2012 was an amazing year for spring sports at Oregon: softball made its first College World Series since 1989, baseball came within one game of making a World Series of their own, women's track and field finished second in the nation for the fourth consecutive year, men's golf made the final four, coming one hole short of advancing to the championship match, and men's track posted another top ten national finish. That's five teams that were within striking distance of an NCAA title, and Oregon's teams are in position to contend again. Baseball starts the season ranked somewhere between #6 and #11, depending on what poll you look at, and returns "Wild Thing" closer Jimmy Sherfy. Men's golf returns Robbie Zeigler and Jonathan Woo from their 2012 big five, and freshman Salman Raza has been playing extremely well thus far in his first college season. Women's softball adds the #3 national recruiting class to a squad that returns star P Jessica Moore, RF Sam Pappas, and 1B Kailee Cuico, just to name a few. Giving an extra boost to the track and field programs, Eugene will host the 2013 NCAA championships; could this be the year the Oregon women break through and win their first outdoor title since 1985? And don't forget about Acrobatics and Tumbling; while there is no NCAA title for them to win (yet), the A&T women won their second straight NCATA title in 2012 with a perfect 11-0 record, and will go for the threepeat in 2013.
2012 was a pretty great year for Oregon sports, starting with a Rose Bowl win and ending with volleyball's first appearance in the national championship match, with two national titles in between. 2013 sets up to be just as fruitful, beginning with the Fiesta Bowl on Thursday. Leave your own new year's resolutions in the comments section. Happy new year everybody!