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the elderly Duck

Tuesday,  12/30/08  10:49 PM

Tonight I had a wonderful experience with an elderly Duck. 

I'd done a nice ride from Dana Point down the shore to Camp Pendleton and back (40 miles, featuring a spooky passage along San Onofre beach in fog, as it was getting dark), changed, and settled into the bar of the Charthouse overlooking the harbor for a nice filet.  Next to me were an older couple in their 70s, also having dinner in the bar; we were surrounded by the usual "young people" drinking and/or waiting to have dinner in the restaurant.  The Holiday Bowl was playing on a large flat panel behind the bar, and while enjoying a salad and a glass of Pinot I began to take a casual interest in the game, a match between Oregon (go Pac 10!) and Oklahoma State.

From their remarks to each other I became aware that the older couple were fans, closely watching the game, and we struck up a conversation.  Turns out the gentleman was an Oregon alumnus and played linebacker for the Ducks in the early 1950s.  (I must admit he still looked a little like a linebacker, bowed and gray but large and solid :)  His wife was from Washington, also a football fan, and upon discovering the game on TV in the bar they decided to have their dinner there so they could watch the game.

It was a fantastic game, back and forth, with a lot of great running, and my enjoyment was greatly enhanced by the gruff and insightful remarks made by the elderly Duck.  At one point in the fourth quarter, with Oregon trailing but driving, he said "we need misdirection", and sure enough on the next play Jeremiah Masoli, the Duck QB, faked left and ran right, sweeping around end to score.  "The 'backers were overpursuing" my Duck friend remarked.  Later as the Cowboys mounted a comeback, he noted "they better stay away from the middle"; on the next play they threw deep, over the middle...  and were intercepted.  Oregon prevailed 42-31, and my companions made their exit, clearly satisfied, and we exchanged pleasant wishes for the New Year.  I celebrated with an enormous mud pie :)