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Author Archives: David Gillaspie

Oregon’s Claim On Olympic Sports

Every state can boast qualities that transfer to sports, especially with the variety of Olympic sports. But even on that world stage, some states come up short.

For example, no event for breathing pollution? If there was, you’d see gold medals on every neck in LA instead of gold chains.

No event for sauna? That would put gold medals on every summer road crew in Texas.

What about Oregon? What are the characteristics that transfer to sports?

The first thing people ask about Oregon is the rain.

“Does it rain as much as we hear?” they whine.

Yes, it does, it’s wet, which explains our great swimmers. By now you’ve heard of Michael Phelps and his gold medals, Mark Spitz and his gold.

Before them came the great Don Schollander and his haul from the Tokyo Games of 1964. Four golds swam back to Lake Oswego. Not seven or eight, but four was a huge load for the times, the biggest since Jesse Owens’ take from the Nazi Olympics in 1936. Read the rest of this entry

Special Olympics Oregon

by David Gillaspie

originally posted on oregonsportsnews.com

During a recent twenty-four hours, ESPN Sports Radio 1080 The Fan focused on Oregon Special Olympics. The Primetime team of Isaac and Big Suke broadcasted a radiothon of ‘Athletes For Athletes.’ 

How big are the Special Olympics and Special Olympics Oregon?

The first Special Olympics Games were held in Chicago’s Soldier Field in 1968. They drew over a thousand athletes from America and Canada.

Currently, Special Olympics Oregon serves ‘close to 8,000’ athletes, and growing, out of 70,000 people with intellectual disabilities.

Sports have a way of changing numbers. Read the rest of this entry

Green, The New Blue

The State of Oregon, like the other forty-nine states, creates an image reflecting favorably on the region.

Part of the image is the Blue Book.

For some states it begins and ends with symbols and images. That’s their high water mark. 

Not Oregon.

Still a draw as a wonderland of natural beauty, Oregon also means football, big boy football, the sort of football you dream of for all your state colleges but never get.

Oregon gets it. You should too.

Oregon football isn’t a single season flash with junior college transfers making a one year stop before going pro. It’s either guys buying into the program and waiting their turn to contribute, or showing up ready to play on their first day.  

Due to the ever-inspiring feats of the University of  Oregon Duck football program, the word Oregon is on more lips than ever. With that in mind, why not upgrade, or re-imagine, the Oregon state symbols with UO influence. Read the rest of this entry

World Series For Oregonians, Or…

originally posted on http://www.oregonsportsnews.com/

A WORLD SERIES OF MVP OREGONIANS

The World Series once held the title as most important event in sports. Before the Super Bowl, before the NCAA Final Four became a dramatic mini-series, baseball’s finals were all that mattered.

It was a special time before streaming video and pod casts, before smart phones and tablets.

Recreate the magic by inviting your family out for a drive so you can all listen to a game on the radio together. Their response will tell you all you need to know about Major League Baseball’s popularity inOregon.

You’ll need to use all the finesse you can muster; the World Series is a time for bonding.

Pick one game between the St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers and lure your family to the car with the wild exploits of Oregon-born players in the Series. If they don’t get in, promise to share more history with them.

Start withPortland’s Mickey Lolich. Read the rest of this entry

Oregon Football Number Ones, A History

Originally posted on oregonsportsnews.com

The greatest achievement of a professional football player’s career shows him standing on the Super Bowl podium raising the Lombardi Trophy in one hand, the MVP trophy in the other, and shouting “I’m going to Disneyland – World,” into a Mouseketeer microphone.

Anything less is a huge drop-off until you review your own athletic career.

From an astute fan’s perspective, anyone making an NFL roster is a borderline Superman. They are who you call in an emergency if you know one. You don’t get to the league without taking a few hits along the way, NFL sized hits.

If that’s the pro ultimate, what is the college equivalent? Is it standing on the BCS platform raising the crystal football in one hand, the MVP in the other after winning the Heisman, then going #1 overall in the NFL draft? That hasn’t happened in Oregon, yet.

How close to the dream have Beavers or Ducks come? Starting with Oregon, one player in the history of the program has risen to the top of the professional draft. Read the rest of this entry

Museum Collections Or Historical Hoarding

THE THIN ARCHIVAL LINE

A cultivated museum connoisseur sees a roomful of weapons in the Tower of London and marvels at the minor diversity of each piece.

A hoarder sees the same room and thinks of the screw collection in their kitchen drawer.

A philatelist breaks out tweezers and a magnifying glass to plumb the depths of her new stamp collection.

The hoarder hears the word stamps and goes off while they walk the canyons of Sunset Magazines stacked in their living room.

“Stamps are stupid,” they say. “Don’t they know it’s just a stamp, not some cultural insight? Sunset Magazine is about life. So is National Geographic and newspapers. If it’s stamps they want, they can have them.”

The difference between collecting and hoarding is often a question of public and private.

A collector takes pride showing their treasure, unless it’s Nazi loot or pot-hunter grave robbing; a hoarder lives in quiet shame once they reach the point of an intervention.

Unique collections get showcased on the Discovery Channel. Hoarders find themselves on Oprah or A&E. 

Writers gush about museum grade material in Smithsonian Magazine. Hoarders have their obsession pealed away in Psychology TodayRead the rest of this entry

Big Time History

Publsished on oregonsportsnews.com

WHEN IT’S NOT ABOUT SPORTS, IT’S STILL ABOUT SPORTS

A sports fan’s journey to the top of the college football world is the best part of the trip. While a national championship answers all questions with one word, scoreboard, ignoring other teams along the way  leaves out more than you imagine.

When the Beavers checked out at #4 in the nation during the Dennis Erickson era, they raised the bar higher than any point in Oregon State football.

They missed the Big Time where they would have rolled over Oklahoma and one of the Stoops brothers in the Orange Bowl.

A great year? Read the rest of this entry

On The Wings Of Karl Friedrich, And History

Living in the city means hearing it all day and all night, urban voices from every cement jungle in history.

You hear voices from the sidewalk, inside the trolley.

Voices outside your apartment window wake you up.

It’s the charm of who’s who in the neighborhood.

Moving to the suburbs only changes the voice, from the actual words that sometimes annoy, to a distant buzz of a freeway that always annoys.

You hear airplanes buzzing overhead because you forgot to check if your new neighborhood lies under a flight path.

A human voice makes a difference.

We hear things as youths that stick a lifetime. That’s what happened to Karl Friedrich.

His mother told about women pilots in WWII. Like a good writer, it stuck with him.

Like a dedicated writer, he did something with it.

Karl Friedrich was the second writer I met while I was downtown for a Willamette Writers meeting; the first didn’t know he was a writer. Read the rest of this entry

Oregon Historian History

OR, “YES, I KNOW.” (Thank you RICHARD ETULAIN )

The question: Where are the historians of Oregon and why don’t we hear more from them?

Blame confusion.

Oregon is not England.

There is no long and dramatic history of the King and Queen of Oregon, deciding battles in the Oregon Channel, or telling timelines of Oregon colonizing the rest of the world.

For some, Oregon is a cherished Eden far beyond the power of common words. The aching beauty of a beach at sunset; the ghostly drama of shadows dancing through the Columbia Gorge; the noble fierceness of the Cascades.

History happens somewhere between the natural environment of Oregon and a forgettable county commissioner meeting in Hillsboro, Coquille, or Vale.

Images of Oregon could fill a calendar a thousand months long, but it wouldn’t be history. Notes from county meetings fill archival storage all over the state, but that’s not history either.

What is history, then? Read the rest of this entry

Portland, Oregon: America’s Hot Spot, Or Wishful Thinking?

Inspired By Time

I'd ask for your number, but I didn't bring paper or pen or a pocket

(With history, it’s either hard or soft. Hard history comes with footnotes, citations, and references; soft is anecdotal word of mouth. Some go both ways.) 

Time Magazine ranks Portland #1 for less than meaningful relationships by researching okcupid.com.

And you thought the heat came from the number of Volcanoes In The City Limits 

Their investigative journalist looked at boxes checked for the sort of relationship okcupid members wanted, then cross-checked where the members lived.

Portland apparently leads the pack by more than a nose.

Before listing the Top Ten friendliest locations in America, let’s look at okcupid first.

When you land on the sign-up page you’ll learn that over 56,000 people are currently using the service, or “online now.”

The drop down menus are pre-filled for Gender, Orientation, and Status. With no corrections you are female, straight, and single. So far, so good?

Anyone wondering if okcupid is OK will see the blurbs from The Boston Globe – “The Google of online dating,” which means you’ll get 6,340,986 matches in 0.5 seconds?

About.com calls okcupid “The best free dating site.” You know you’ll get your money’s worth, and then some in Portland.

The Village Voice shows a certain hippness by calling okcupid “A favorite hangout for internet goers.” It makes you want to break out the beret, shades, and snap your fingers to show you’re cool. Internet Goers?

Time says, “Completely free.” The co-pay comes later at the itch clinic.

Boston didn’t land on the top ten, neither did New York, yet they still pump okcupid. Where’s the Oregonian and Willamette Week?

Here are the top ten cities in America for most promiscuous residents (MPR) according to the experts: Read the rest of this entry