*NOTE: the following events took place from 11/4/11-11/5/11
Beaver fans are an odd bunch. I mean they have to be don’t they? One doesn’t just choose to be a beaver fan. It’s like living in North Dakota…you don’t just randomly move there. You have to either be born into it…you grow up a North Dakotan.
Same thing with beaver fan. You’re usually born into it and raised as one. People with no ties to the university aren’t randomly adopting Oregon State as their team. Why would you? They are the equivalent of Green Horn, Oregon. Not really on the map.
To remain a beaver fan certainly is odd, but credit their loyalty. History tells us that Oregon State isn’t a very successful football program. Outside of a few good years here and there, they typically are an average to below average program. What would keep you hanging on as a fan through the years is something I’ve always wondered?
Just how odd is “beaver nation” –which really only extends from Philomath (or Philometh as my friends call it) to Corvallis – and the fans that reside in it? I decided to search for the answers to those questions myself, and go undercover in enemy territory.
Through the help of a mutual friend, a meeting was arranged for me to spend a couple days with a die-hard beaver fan, who we’ll refer to in this story as “Bob” to protect his identity, and get a feeling for what a typical beaver fan is like.
This is the day in the life of beaver Bob.
Now to understand beaver fans you need a little background on them first. Beaver fans always have their guard up. Their edgy, and have a giant chip on their shoulder. Almost as if they have little man’s syndrome. That’s probably due to years and years of bad football, and living in the shadow of big brother – the University of Oregon, who they refer to as “that evil empire down South.”
Let’s face it, beaver fans have an inferiority complex when it comes to the Oregon Ducks. The two programs couldn’t be any more different – both on and off the field.
Oregon state hasn’t enjoyed nowhere near the amount of success on the football field as Oregon. Beaver fans rationalize this by claiming they do it “the right way.” They don’t “whore” themselves out to anybody like Oregon does with NIKE. Never mind the fact that Oregon state doesn’t even have anyone on Phil Knight’s level that they could “whore” themselves out to. And even if they did, they wouldn’t take all his money because somehow that’s just wrong!
Oh and beaver fans like to tell you they run a squeaky clean program. Mike Riley is a saint, and would never bend the rules to land a blue-chip recruit. In fact, the type of player Oregon state recruits is different from the type of player Oregon recruits.
Oregon state is a blue collar school, an agricultural school. To fit that, they recruit the “under the radar” guys, the two and maybe three star guys. The guys who are hungry and wanna be there. They have a point to prove. To beaver fan, Oregon is all about flash, and recruiting flashy four and five star players. But to be straight, only reason why Oregon state only goes after the “under the radar” guys is because, that’s all they can get realistically.
And this is why beaver fans really are kind of bitter to begin with, and ESPECIALLY hostile towards Duck fan. With that in mind, I knew what I was up against as I was getting ready for my adventure with Bob.
I headed over to Bob’s house after work, early, on a Friday morning. I work from 10 PM – 3 AM. I headed straight to his house. He knew I was coming and politely stayed up for me. Our mutual friend told Bob I was coming as a prospective student, wanting to get a tour of the town and campus.
Upon meeting Bob, I didn’t know what to think really. A little shocked when he reached out to shake my hand I noticed he was missing three fingers. Yeah that was from the time when he chopped his digits while operating a saw…long story. Back to Bob. Short in size, and kind of on the hefty side. Like his beloved institution, Bob prides himself on being a hardworking, blue-collar guy. He enjoys huntin,’ fishin,’ and trappin.
He’s not shy about displaying his love for all things Oregon state. There’s so much orange and black crap around his house you’d think it was Halloween!
Our day began at 9 AM, as Bob got dressed for work. He was head to toe in beaver gear. You know…just in case anybody needed a reminder of who his team was (as if anybody really cares). Bob, like a lot of beaver fans, feel it is their duty to “represent everywhere you go,” as he put it.
Maybe that’s just part of their inferiority complex? As if they’re saying, hey look at me, I’m a beaver fan, we do exist!
Bob packs his lunch for work. Today we’re having those horrible burrito’s…the kind you get from the store that you zap in the microwave that come out resembling something that you would find in a baby’s diaper, then an actual burrito.
But these aren’t just any burrito’s…these are Reser’s burrito’s! It’s a dollar more than the store brand variety, but, as Bob explains, “it all goes to a worthy cause.” That worthy cause is the Oregon state athletic department. You see, Reser is Al Reser, Oregon states most prominent alum. He’s their Phil Knight, but on a much smaller scale.
The same man who the beavers chose to name their stadium after, is also synonymous with potato salad, and frozen burritos. By buying Reser brand products, Bob feels his doing his part because a portion of that money may go to the athletic department (I don’t know if it does or not).
As we headed out to the garage to get in his car for work, I was appalled at what I saw, and couldn’t believe I was about to ride in this thing. But I was less surprised that he owned it. He seemed like the type of person who would own this sort of vehicle. It was a van, but not just any van, a 1980’s model Chevy 2.0. The kind you’d expect a real pervert to keep. A single man in his 40’s (like Bob), who probably stalk women in it all day. His van, in which he refers to it as his “beaver mobile,” is, surprise…cheeto Orange! It comes complete with a magnate that reads, “official beaver tailgater,” beaver decals, and beaver flags – four of them – one for each window.
As a Duck fan I felt dirty riding in that thing, and wished I had some form of Duck gear on so that people wouldn’t think I was a beaver fan. But I also couldn’t blow my cover, cause then he wouldn’t have agreed to let me stay over.
On the way to work we stopped at a mini mart for Bob to get some coffee.
He was outraged upon seeing some Duck memorabilia being sold there, and by the conversation taking place between two Duck fans, which also bothered him…the fact that Duck fans were even in this part of country!
“Typical uck fans,” Bob exclaimed. “Front runners. Bandwagoners. I bet they don’t even go to school there (UO),” he added.
On a side note, beaver fans think that by dropping the ‘D’ in Duck, they’re being clever by insulting Duck fans. It’s no skin off my nose. Pretty childish really. To them all duck fans are bandwagon fans who didn’t go to school there. First off, that’s not true. Second, as if having bandwagon fans is such a bad thing? It speaks to the success of the program. Goes back to what I was saying earlier about natural fans not just randomly selecting Oregon state as their team. They would Oregon though. Oregon is cool, recognizable, and fun to watch.
Bob gets over his outrage but will remember this event for when he gets home tonight, so that he can log onto his beaver message board called pure orange, greatly exaggerate how boastful and cocky the two Duck fans were, and announce a boycott of said store, and encourage his beaver brethren to do the same thing, until they stop selling Duck merchandise.
But Bob had to put that on hold because he had to get to work. He’s a used car salesman (I’m withholding the name to protect their privacy).
This was a particularly tough day for him. It went by agonizingly slow for me as well. There were very little customers, and Bob only made two sales. The highlight of the day came when he nearly went to blows with a customer.
Apparently this had been brewing for a while. Bob sold a car to this customer, but when the customer didn’t have the money to make a final payment on the car, Bob had to have it repossessed. So he called his friend/repo man to have the job done. He thought it would be funny to have his friend do it dressed up as Santa Clause, being around the Holiday’s an all.
Not surprisingly, the customer was livid. He didn’t understand why a man dressed as Santa Clause was stealing his car. He later found out Bob had it repossessed. Lucky for me, he chose the day I was there to let Bob know just how angry about it he was. The customer demanded an apology, but Bob wouldn’t give him one. Chaos ensued and the police were called to put an end to the situation.
But things were looking up for Bob. He was about to get off work and go back to his life as being an internet troll on message boards. When he’s not baiting Duck fans or browsing adult sites, he can log onto pure orange and talk about tomorrow’s game against Stanford with his beaver buddy’s – all five of them!
For me, I was just excited to get the hell outta there. When we got back to Bob’s house, I went to my room and watched the movie Training Day on my ipad.
TO BE CONTINUED…