Powerless in Portland

Written by Barrett Henderson, The Observer December 05, 2008 04:10 pm

Well, I guess the story begins with me in Albany for Thanksgiving and leaving Friday afternoon for Hillsboro for the 1A state championships.

I’d just like to say how thankful I am that I live in such a great area. I hate traffic. I hope to never return to the Portland area.

I rarely ever find myself frustrated or lost when I drive, but last Friday I was mumbling obscentities in my car with no one in it but me.

I circled the Rose City three times and saw the I-84 West exit a couple of times and was urged to take it and just go home to La Grande.

But instead I stayed and finally found the Lloyd Center for some Christmas shopping and then after one more circle around Portland, I found the hotel in Hillsboro.

I’ve always been a Duck fan and two years ago I got tickets to the Civil War at the last minute. Despite being in Corvallis, I loved the experience.

Two years later after just barely getting tickets, I watched this season’s game in its entirety on the field.

When I got to OSU there was seven minutes before kickoff. I found the media entrance and I asked a guest services attendant where to go and she was clueless. As I wandered aimlessly through a building adjacent to the field, I could hear the game beginning.

I was so close but had no view of the game.

I found another guest services employee and they directed me to another gentleman who asked me to wait while he made some calls to try and help me.

By this time, it was five minutes into the game.

After waiting, the gentleman came back and said, “I’m sorry, man, no one knows where you can go.” I thought this was unbelievable — no newspapers have ever covered the Beavers before?

He could tell I wasn’t about to just leave, so he said, “Well, how about if I just get you on the field?” I quickly responded, trying to sound as professional as possible and not like the excited 12-year-old boy and said, “Yeah, sure, I guess that works.”

So, we weaved through a staircase that got us into what appeared to be a basement. The next thing I knew I was walking through the inflatable entrance the Beavers run through at the beginning of the game.

It turns out the guy who helped me was an Oregon State assistant coach and ran back to his sideline.

I have been to several incredible sporting events including a Game 7 of the World Series, Oregon’s controversial win over Oklahoma, an NBA playoff game and the XFL championships, but nothing compares to the Civil War.

I have also never been to a louder place than Reser Stadium.

I left with a huge migraine, could have been from the noise or only eating at Jack in the Box for breakfast that day.

After the game, as I walked next to players I have admired on television, I realized how blessed my life is right now.

I love my job, I love this area and I love the Ducks.

If anyone is wondering, a GPS for my car is at the top of my Christmas list this year.