Sunday, October 28, 2007

USC vs Oregon Football

This weekend we took 997 Airlines (our Piper Arrow) south from Bellingham to Eugene for the USC vs. Oregon football game. Lucky for us game day came on a good weather weekend.

We flew down on Friday and arrived at the downtown Eugene Hilton at about 4:00. The official hotel was in Portland, so that was where the pre-game rally was held. You can imagine our surprise at seeing the USC band warming up the parking lot as we arrived. We hurried outside just as the band headed towards the Hilton Convention Center. We followed and discovered that a Witfawn Tours group led by Barbara Cotler was having a rally of their own. Barbara graciously invited us to join the group to hear the sophomores of the Trojan Marching Band led by Dr. Bartner perform their hearts out. There were about 80 students including the Band, Song Girls, Spirit Leaders, Silks (tall flags) and Tommy Trojan. Thank you Barbara - you made our day!

The next morning we headed for the game early. It is an easy walk from the Hilton to Autzen Stadium. After crossing the footbridge over the Willamette River, paths take you through Alton Baker Park to the stadium. We arrived just in time to see the USC Football Team arrive on buses escorted by the Oregon State Police. That's two days in a row that we were in the right place at the right time.

Autzen lived up to its reputation as the loudest statium in America. According to The Register-Guard, "a sound-level reading of 127.2 decibels — louder than a jet plane at takeoff [was recorded] during No. 5 Oregon’s monumental win over No. 9 USC." Part of this was undoubtedly due to the "largest crowd in UO history, 59,277." We sat across from the student section and my ears agreed.

OK, we weren't happy with the 24-17 final score, but the whole weekend was memorable. We got a great pre-game show, a chance to personally greet our team and experience an enthusiastic crowd at the game. Even surrounded by revelling Ducks all the way back to the campus, we were made to feel welcome. Then we ended our busy day with a great dinner at the Misako Japanese Restaurant.

Sunday had 997 Airlines winging us back north. Fortunately, good tailwinds and mostly clear skies got us back to Bellingham in record time. Fight on!! -- Margy

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