Portlandia tries on football mania for a week

Ducks by a pond

Careful: this week, people may not be talking about these kinds of ducks. Look for context clues.

Sports are generally not a high-priority here in Portlandia. Of course, we have the Trailblazers, until recently Portland’s only major league team (and, while the Timbers and their Army are most definitely a core part of Portlandia, I’m still not sure soccer counts as a major league team…but I’m probably in the minority on that one around here). I am not a huge sports fan, or at least I wouldn’t be considered one in most parts of the U.S. Here in Portlandia, I’m probably above-average on the fandom scale, and I find myself in conversations where I know more about sports than the other participants more often than I used to. So, it will be interesting to watch Portlandia embrace the insanity of a quest for the BCS championship, if only for the last bit of the ride.

Now, there are many Oregon Ducks fans (and Oregon State Beavers fans) in the metro area, and in Portlandia. They, like college fans across the country, live or die each week waiting to see if their team can survive to continue the chase again next Saturday. But, most Portlandians have only latched on in the last few weeks, and many are only just now realizing that this is, in fact, a pretty big deal. Either that, or they found out it was going to be broadcast in 3D, but either way, everyone seems to be in on this one now. Local media have moved the Oregon Ducks reports from the Sports timeslot up to the first few minutes each news broadcast, signaling that this is truly important stuff.

At first, my hopes for rampant outlandishness were high, but now I’m not so sure. Given that football in the Midwest can turn ordinarily straight-laced cubicle drones into half-naked, body-painted banshees, logic would dictate that Portlandia’s version would be even more spectacular. But we are at a disadvantage, not least of which is that the real epicenter of craziness will be down the road in Eugene, where the actual campus of the U of O lies. Without that a central core of youth and stupidity to rally around, Portlandians will likely miss out on the unique insanity that ensues after a major national college championship win. We’ll also likely miss out on the inevitable drunken rioting that is the inevitable result of all that insanity, so at least there is an upside.

It will likely take a Trailblazers championship (or, perhaps, one from the Timbers) to really see Portlandia celebrate like a true sports town, where it seems everywhere you look the team colors are out in force and “it” dominates 95% of all conversations. While the love for sports doesn’t run as deep here in Portlandia as other U.S. cities, the love for a good celebration and public wackiness certainly does. While the Ducks may not be enough to uncork all the celebratory madness, one of our home teams could make it happen again someday, and I am sure it will be glorious.

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