Running Heads

From the editors of Cascade Books and Pickwick Publications at Wipf and Stock Publishers

Ducks, Bears, Timbers, and Nerves

Tonight is a big night for me sports-wise. I would not call myself a rabid sports fanatic. I’m not a fanatic of any kind really. But I do keep an eye on a select group of teams, and three of them are playing tonight in the biggest games of their seasons. I have to admit I’m a wee bit nervous.

The team that has my nerves least on edge is the Oregon Ducks. Despite the loss last year to the Stanford Cardinal and despite the fact the Cardinal are #5 (the Ducks are #3), something about this year feels different, and so I am not as worried. Not to say I don’t have some nervousness, and for good reason!

The Portland Timbers have made the MLS playoffs for the first time in their history, and they did it as the top team in the Western Conference. Then their first ever playoff opponent ends up being their most bitter rival, the Seattle Sounders. In the first leg of their two-match tilt, the Timbers went up to Seattle and came away with a 2-1 victory. Now they return to Portland with advancing to the conference finals on the line. The Timbers are tough at home, having lost only once there all season. I find it difficult to imagine a two-point loss tonight, but I am still nervous, and for good reason!

Finally there is my alma mater Baylor. The Bears have done something in the last few years that they’ve rarely done in my lifetime—win! And this year they are off to an historic start to the season, going 7-0 and rising all the way to #6 in the BCS rankings, despite playing a rather soft schedule up to this point. That changes tonight. The Bears face #10 Oklahoma. Why am I nervous? The Bears have a history of losing, especially to the Oklahoma Sooners. The Bears have only ever beaten the Sooners once in their history, and that came in the last seconds of the 2011 game in what came to be known as RG3’s “Heisman Moment.”

A win tonight legitimizes the Bears, puts them in the conversation for a conference title and possibly a national championship appearance, and makes their losing history a little more faint. There is so much riding on this game, I can’t help but be nervous.

Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your perspective), I cannot watch any of the games. We don’t have a large cable package that includes any of the channels broadcasting these games. And I don’t imagine I’ll be able to get away from the house to watch any at a sports bar, especially since I will be leaving Gail with all domestic responsibilities for 9 days (ETS and SBL/AAR pull me away from home for a long stretch!). I’ll rely on updates on my iPhone, which I’ll turn off if it gets unbearable.

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