Being a Duck fan is so much easier when the programs are run by class acts. Case in point: the story of a Duck fan named Dan and his autographed basketball. For Dan, it all started with Dennis Dixon and the 2007 Oregon football team.
I have been an Oregon Ducks fan since 2007. It started with football. The team with Dennis Dixon, Jeff Maehl, Johnathan Stewart etc. The jerseys combined with style of play drew me in. The Chip Kelly era only solidified my love for the ducks. I have been to two ducks games: (one a) loss vs Utah and (the other) a win vs Virginia both at Autzen.
Like many of us, the quarantine drove Dan to internet shopping. And Oregon’s impressive victory over Iowa in the Round of 32 inspired him to look for some Duck memorabilia to celebrate the occasion.
I got the basketball on eBay... Watching the ducks win their tournament game had me browsing for autographed cards on eBay. Stumbled upon a final four Dana Altman auto where he writes “Go Ducks!” I sent the seller an offer and he accepted! I was hype.
All was going according to plan, until an adorable dog named Fletcher intercepted the ball before it was able to reach its true owner.
Full disclosure: Fletcher is not actually a “puppy” as the title of this piece would indicate. He is five years old and has been with Dan for all five of those years. Which is why it was such a shock to discover “man’s best friend” was also, apparently, a ball’s worst enemy.
So my girlfriend was actually the one who discovered it. I was woken up around 8:30-9am to her yelling at poor Fletcher and yelling for me because he had destroyed the ball. We knew it was arriving on that specific day but we didn’t realize it would be first thing in the morning.
He then took to the interwebfoot (aka r/Ducks, an Oregon Ducks themed page on reddit) and put up a post titled “Dana Altman autographed NCAA Final Four ball delivered today and absolutely destroyed by my dog.”
Dan and Fletcher quickly made amends, and Dan even honored the punctured ball by putting it in a display case. Unfortunately, just like the Championship hopes of Oregon’s 2020-21 squad, the ball was deflated. Dan made what he believed to be his final post on the matter - Update on the destroyed ball haha. Go Ducks! - and was ready to move on.
Then an email came from one of the assistant coaches on the men’s team. It turns out, the coach’s son was a regular on r/Ducks, and just like that Dan got a brand new Dana Altman-signed ball to display proudly in his home.
And so, for now, the ball is safe behind plastic. Though, truth be told, Fletcher is still fighting the temptation to return to the court. Fletcher couldn’t be reached for an interview. However, after being accused of being a Husky, it was revealed that he is actually a Bulldog. So it’s possible that this was an act of sabotage to aid Gonzaga.
He knows that he isn’t supposed to chew the ball. But he still stares at it sometimes. He’s a good boy though and we love him.