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December 11, 2014

A good friend of mine in Seattle — an Eritrean immigrant who helped pen that country’s as yet unratified constitution — once pointed out that, should I really want to understand the collision of race and politics in the U.S., read the sports pages. I figured he was being coy, but the more I think about it, the more I comprehend sports as a microcosm of society, where all sorts of racial and social tensions play out, often in the subterranean codes of privilege, ability and competition.

December 4, 2014

Sports are funny. If folks in this country cared half as much about the political process as they do about football, we’d all be living in some elegant utopia right now. Even casual sports fans can hold a civil, intelligent discussion about the pros and cons of the nickel defense, but bring up Obamacare and most of us degenerate into retrograde morons, hurling incoherent epithets at each other. Politics these days have become a nightmare, but football — it’s our religion. And that’s sad.

November 26, 2014

What a difference a weekend makes in the fickle, fanatical world of college football, where the panic and pandemonium of winning and losing wreck havoc with all cool reckonings. It’s all so hard to grasp, much less parse and parlay. A single game can overthrow the whole shebang, sending the number-crunchers scrambling for a new paradigm.

Not all that far back, for instance, the wily bookmakers in Vegas suddenly scooted the Oregon Ducks to odds-on favorites for a national title, deeming UO’s chances at 9-2 (22 percent), just above Alabama’s 5-1 (20 percent).

July 16, 2014

A Copa das surpresas (“the [World] Cup of surprises”) was a phrase I remember hearing several times during the first weeks of the 2014 World Cup. Holland had crushed the 2010 World Cup champion, Spain, 5-1. Germany beat Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal, 4-0. Costa Rica went undefeated in its first three games to become the leader of one of the most difficult groups of the cup. Top-ranked teams like Spain, Italy, Portugal and England didn’t even make it to the round of 16.

July 9, 2014

I consider myself a fairly transparent person, but there’s something I’ve been reluctant to share: I would not be upset or disappointed if the albiceleste (the Argentine team — nicknamed after the white and sky-blue stripes of their flag and jerseys) wins the World Cup. I was passionately supporting other teams but they’ve all been eliminated. 

June 26, 2014

While soccer has been exploited by some with malicious intentions (recently evidenced by the horrific suicide bombing that took 14 lives of World Cup-viewers in Nigeria), soccer has tremendous potential for promoting and facilitating peaceful intercultural exchanges and fraternal international relations. 

June 19, 2014

My travel experience has convinced me that the best plan is to make no plans — or at least to keep plans as flexible as possible — and my experience of watching Brazil’s first match in this hubristically hopeful host nation has confirmed my conclusion that spontaneity and flexibility bear the sweetest of fruits. 

June 12, 2014

After Charles Miller brought two soccer balls with him from Scotland to Brazil in 1894, the game caught on like wildfire. Soccer has become a defining characteristic of this young, diverse nation, which often identifies itself as o país do futebol (“the country of soccer”). Alex Bellos, former South America correspondent for The Guardian, concluded that “football gives Brazilians a feeling of national identity — citizenship, even — much more than anything else.” 

June 5, 2014

From June 12 to July 13, billions of people will watch the world’s most popular sports event: the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup. The 2014 FIFA World Cup will be the 20th such tournament — and the second to be held in Brazil. Of the 203 national teams that competed in regional tournaments in order to qualify, only 31 teams will travel to Brazil to join the host nation for the 2014 cup.

April 10, 2014
Photo by Rick Levin


April 3, 2014

For the first time in school history, the 13th ranked UO disc golf team is sending its men’s A-team, men’s B-team and a women’s team to the National Collegiate Disc Golf Championships April 16-19 in North Augusta, S.C. The team is holding a fundraising tournament Saturday April 5 to raise money for the trip. The “Duck Chuck” begins at 9 am and holes will span much of campus. Anyone is welcome to participate. 

September 19, 2013

Eugene Metro Fútbol Club is moving on up, with a new connection, new name and new opportunities for its more than 500 players. EMFC has joined forces with the Portland Timbers and its Timbers Alliance, becoming Eugene Timbers Fútbol Club and, in turn, notably allowing its youth groups to play on a bigger stage. 

July 11, 2013

After a disappointing tie against the Westside Timbers on Saturday, July 6, EMFC Azul’s head coach Jürgen Ruckaberle looked for a more passionate effort against 6-1 THUSC Diamonds. And he had reason to be impressed, though the next day’s scoreboard showed a loss. Azul fell 4-1 facing a superior team, but Ruckaberle took a lot of good away from the match as the women’s team prepares for next weekend’s playoffs. 

July 3, 2013

Looking to get above .500 after recent road woes, women’s soccer team Eugene Metro Fútbol Club Azul ran into an opponent that instead made more than just the sweltering Eugene heat difficult to bear. Seattle-based Emerald City Football Club looked to be a step above from the beginning, as they scored twice in the first 17 minutes to force the home team to play catch-up. Azul managed to hold its own, scoring once before halftime on a corner-kick, but ultimately couldn’t get the elusive tying goal and spelled defeat, 2-1. 

June 27, 2013

The recent road trip was long and difficult for EMFC Azul, and head coach Jürgen Ruckaberle’s soccer team is glad to be home. Over the last two weekends, Azul went 1-3 to fall to 3-3 overall, but they return to Eugene confident, encouraged by their competitive play and ready for two home games June 28 and 29.

June 20, 2013

Track and Ducks football make a lot of noise, but they aren’t the only sports getting national recognition these days. Lesser-known, but ever-growing in popularity, Ultimate Frisbee has carved out a niche. Fugue, the UO women’s Ultimate Frisbee team, won nationals at the USA Ultimate College Championships in May, while the men’s team, Ego, entered nationals the top-ranked team but was eliminated in the semifinals. 

February 28, 2013

Spectators were treated to a couple of close bouts Saturday, Feb. 9, at the Lane Events Center. The sold-out crowd of 1,200-plus came out to see the Sick Town Derby Dames of Corvallis take on the local Flat Track Furies and the Andromedolls vs. Church of Sk8in.

January 3, 2013

For those unfamiliar with Roller Derby, it’s time you knew: This is one of the most exciting, brutal and enjoyable-to-watch sports ever created. And the best part? It’s for ladies only. The Emerald City Roller Girls hit the rink this week to begin their sixth season of what some have called “rugby on skates.” It’s more like speed-skating meets wrestling. Ferocity is encouraged. Fear is not an option. Fun is a given. So, if you’re intrigued (which you should be), roll on down to Lane Events Center this weekend and see what all the fuss is about.

December 27, 2012

1.  The forward pass. Oregon’s Marcus Mariota throws the ball pretty well and Kansas State does not do a good job defending against the pass. The Wildcats rank 90th in the nation in defending the pass and got scorched for more than 300 yards more than once. Watch for Josh Huff to make some big catches. If Marcus can find tight end Colt Lyerla early and often, the Ducks will roll. 

July 5, 2012

EMFC Azul, Eugene’s premier women’s soccer team, had a weekend of ties at home: The first, against Issaquah Soccer Club came down to stoppage time. “It was a real barn-burner,” says Evon Smith, Azul’s coordinator and perhaps the team’s most loyal fan. In a last-ditch effort, Eugene Metro Fútbol Club (EMFC) put an equalizing header between the goalposts from a corner kick that rang in the final whistle, much to the chagrin of the opposing coach.

June 21, 2012

EMFC Azul’s June 15 home match against Portland Rain may not have gone completely according to plan, but nevertheless the Eugene Women’s Premier Soccer team showed great determination and defensive prowess in attempting to keep their northern rivals, who lead EMFC (Eugene Metro Fútbol Club) by one position in the Northwest league, at bay.

June 7, 2012

Rain fell hard on Friday, June 1, as Eugene Metro Azul Women’s Fútbol Club (EMFC) took the pitch for their first home game of the season. The stands, home to a 620-person crowd of screaming fans of all ages, became a puddle-ridden waterway only minutes after the starting whistle was blown. But the atmosphere at South Eugene High School was jovial and spirited, with feet stomping against the metal and hordes of fans engaging in chants each time the excitement level on the pitch rose.

May 17, 2012

Consider the brutality of a pad-less, club-wielding field of men beating the living crap out of each other for no good reason. Now consider the brutality of giving that field of bloody, beaten and bruised men jerseys, a ball, a goal and good reason. This actually exists. This is the hybridic predecessor of rugby, lacrosse and field hockey. This is hurling.

May 2, 2012

Saturday, April 21, the Emerald City Roller Girls all-star Skatesaphrenics took on the San Francisco ShEvil Dead in Eugene. Using strong pack control to pile on the points during the ShEvil Dead’s many trips to the penalty box, the Skatesaphrenics dominated from start to finish winning 206-102.