You guys know I'm big on the if-you-had-told-me-back-when-I-never-would-have-believed-you stuff. A moment like that happened earlier tonight.
I called and talked to my mom a few minutes when she asked about a birthday gift. (In less than a week, I'll turn 32.) My wife is handling this, so I headed into the bedroom to let them discuss options without me around.
I turned on the TV and tuned in a program we had both watched out in the living room: "Beyond the Glory," FSN's (limited) answer to ESPN's outstanding SportsCentury series. Tonight, Comcast SportsNet featured the show on Bengals running back Corey Dillon. It made for interesting watching because Dillon is from Seattle and attended Washington, much as my wife and most of her family did.
They had interviews with his brothers and a childhood friend. In teasing one segment, the friend mentioned that he ran for like 220 yards against Oregon. And something about the way he said it struck me weird, for reasons I can't really explain.
But I'll try. It was said with such a nonchalance - not that he meant 220 was no big deal, but in that Oregon was just another conference foe to be disposed of, like he had grown up watching Washington and Oregon play (which he had). And I guess what struck me is that the Pac-10 is still a new deal to me. It's like if you grow up around Eagles fans and Giants fans and Cowboys fans, sometimes you forget that there are Chargers fans and Broncos fans and Cardinals fans. OK, maybe there aren't any Cardinals fans, but you get the point.
In a split second, I flashed back to sixth grade. My dad took me up to Bangor, Pa., to an outlet sale that took place in something that fairly resembled a garage. That was back when this particular sports apparel manufacturer made all sorts of random gear. In the decades since, they've grown up, and Majestic Athletic is now the official supplier of Major League Baseball uniforms.
My dad bought me a sweatshirt that day, one that I picked out. I figured that any place that used Daffy duck in their logo had to be pretty badass. Plus it was different, and I was all about wearing unusual sports apparel (unusual for our area anyway).
All these years later, I'm reminded of it. Maybe it was fate, though, that I bought a sweatshirt from the state university of where my future wife grew up, a place where her brother and dad both did time. (And, even more random, a pretty good friend of mine in elementary school moved away while we were in elementary school. She moved to Bend, Oregon.)
The only other connection I had to Oregon - before all the ones I have now, anyway - was that 1995 Rose Bowl, and we all remember what an ass-kicking that was. (Sorry Mark.)
Life is 20/20 in the rearview mirror, of course, but it's strange to sit and wonder whether it was foreshadowing or just the random oddities of life.