Are you a Duck or a Beaver? For some Oregonians, your answer determines immediately whether you're a friend or foe. It's not as big an issue as if you were asked "Rebel or Yank", but allegiances are taken seriously here.
"Duck or Beaver?" means "Are you a fan of the University of Oregon Ducks or the Oregon State Beavers?" You can't admit to being a fan of both. You're either a Quacker or a Beaver Backer. A fan of one means a "hated" rival of the other.
Geography plays only a small part in the fan base. The two schools are less than 50 miles from each other. The U of O is in Eugene and Oregon State is in Corvallis. Families frequently have members who have attended the U of O or OSU. Sibling rivalries extend to alma mater rivalries when brother or sister chooses to matriculate at the other school.
The two teams have played each other since 1894, making it the seventh-oldest rivalry in college football. The match-up is known locally as the Civil War. In 2009, the game decided which of the two teams would represent the Pac-10 in the Rose Bowl. Oregon won. In 2010, Oregon needed to win to secure a spot in the National Championship game against Auburn. Oregon State needed to win to become bowl eligible. Oregon won again.
This year's Civil War is shaping up to be another high stakes affair. Oregon is poised to possibly play in the national championship again if they win out. Oregon State is a surprise team this year. A victory by the Beavers could propel them into the Rose Bowl and eliminate the Ducks from playing for the national title. It's shaping up to be a Game Day experience for football fans in Oregon.
So, am I a Duck or a Beaver? My answer is what locals regularly say instead of "good-bye" here. Go Ducks!
Rick Obst is an Arizona native who moved to Eugene, Oregon in 2005 and fell in love with the verdant Pacific Northwest. He enjoys photography and discovering the many people, places, and events that make this part of the world so special.
To learn more about Eugene, Lane County, and western Oregon, visit 365 and More Things to do in Lane County, Oregon on Facebook. You'll see hundreds of pictures and links to discover the beauty and attractions of this special area.