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Heated rivalries don't require hated rivals.



Byline: Ron Bellamy "Rockin'" Ron Bellamy (born December 13, 1964) is an American professional boxer. He is the half-brother of former NBA center Walt Bellamy. Ron also started his career in basketball, playing collegiately at UNC-Charlotte and professionally in New Zealand and Europe.  / The Register-Guard

AS A COLUMNIST, you often find yourself getting ripped by some of the nicest people, which is how I happened to meet my friend Tracy Combs, Husky fan.

Well, sort of meet.

We figure that one day we'll buy each other a beer someplace some·place  
adv. & n.
Somewhere: "I didn't care where I was from so long as it was someplace else" Garrison Keillor. See Usage Note at everyplace.
, perhaps after an Oregon-Washington football game that goes four overtimes with a berth in the Rose Bowl on the line and becomes a classic, but right now we've neither seen each other, nor talked on the phone.

Our conversations take place exclusively via e-mail, which was our introduction back in 1999, when I received a rather scathing, and unsigned unsigned
Adjective

(of a letter etc.) anonymous

Adj. 1. unsigned - lacking a signature; "the message was typewritten and unsigned"
signed - having a handwritten signature; "a signed letter"
, criticism about a column I wrote on the Oregon football team's loss to UCLA UCLA University of California at Los Angeles
UCLA University Center for Learning Assistance (Illinois State University)
UCLA University of Carrollton, TX and Lower Addison, TX
 on a Saturday night in Pasadena.

Now, if columnists conducted post-column press conferences, the way football coaches do post-game interviews, I would have said that I'd played hard and given great effort but probably come up short in the analysis department, and that while the conditions were the same for all the columnists, it was a night game on Fox Sports Net, which meant writing as the game went along, which is always an adventure.

Especially that night, when the Ducks got way behind and then staged a furious rally that ended with Marshaun Tucker's sliding catch on the UCLA 1, meaning that over the course of writing this work-in-progress I'd buried the Ducks deep and then furiously started digging them up again after Matt Smith's interception return for a touchdown.

Anyway, the final product was more than the usual blather, and I figured I had a few shots coming, and so rather than reach for the delete key On computer keyboards, the delete key (sometimes shortened "Del"), should, during normal text editing, discard the character at the cursor's  at this anonymous criticism from cyberspace Coined by William Gibson in his 1984 novel "Neuromancer," it is a futuristic computer network that people use by plugging their minds into it! The term now refers to the Internet or to the online or digital world in general. See Internet and virtual reality. Contrast with meatspace. , I replied, somewhat testily tes·ty  
adj. tes·ti·er, tes·ti·est
Irritated, impatient, or exasperated; peevish: a testy cab driver; a testy refusal to help.
, that at least I signed my name to what I wrote four times a week, which was more than this guy had done.

(OK, so the the response wasn't my finest hour, either. ...)

Which rather than the "Oh, yeah ... " that this probably deserved drew instead a delightful e-mail of self-introduction from Tracy Combs, Husky fan, who lived in Eugene from 1983 to earlier in '99, and now lives in a suburb of Jacksonville, Fla. During his Eugene days, Combs, now 50, drove around Duckville in a Jeep with a license plate that said "Husky;" that was him, his Jeep, and his license plate on the front page of The Register-Guard on Oct. 17, 1992, the morning of an Oregon-Washington game at Autzen Stadium The stadium is tucked between the Willamette River and Coburg Hills. The uniquely shaped bowl blends in with the wooded Eugene landscape. The shape also allows for unique acoustics, making it one of the loudest stadiums in NCAA Football for its capacity. .

Over the past three years we've corresponded regularly, at least a few times a month, as much as once a week in football season. Trace is sort of my Husky conscience - yes, those words can go together - who reminds me that the view from outside Eugene tends to be different than the view from the midst of the phenomenon that has become Oregon athletics.

I'll write about Oregon's improvement as a football program.

Trace will remind me that the 85-player scholarship limitation is a bigger factor in that improvement than anything else.

I'll point out that if it was just that, then Northwestern wouldn't have gone to the Rose Bowl and then disappeared.

Trace will say that well, yes, being Nike University does have some benefits.

Like Washington doesn't have waves of donors with deep pockets, I'll wonder.

And so we go, the Husky fan and the guy who covers the Ducks. Earlier this season, I wrote that the view from the top of the expanded Autzen Stadium was second in the Pac-10 only to Husky Stadium's view of Lake Washington Lake Washington is the second largest natural lake in state of Washington (after Lake Chelan) and the largest lake in King County. It is bordered by the cities of Seattle on the west, Bellevue and Kirkland on the east, Renton on the south and Kenmore on the north, and surrounds . Whereupon where·up·on  
conj.
1. On which.

2. In close consequence of which: The instructor entered the room, whereupon we got to our feet.
 Trace reminded me that I'd overlooked a small geographical feature known as Mount Rainier A format for providing platform interoperability and native OS support for CD-RW and DVD+RW disks. The "MRW" or "CD-MRW" format enables files to be saved to RW disks as if they were hard disks (from any Save dialog or dragged and dropped). .

He is a Husky fan with a sense of humor Noun 1. sense of humor - the trait of appreciating (and being able to express) the humorous; "she didn't appreciate my humor"; "you can't survive in the army without a sense of humor"
sense of humour, humor, humour
. When his team lost to Michigan earlier this season, the game turning on a UW penalty for having 12 men on the field, Trace noted that at least in that situation the oft-maligned Husky defense forced an incomplete pass An incomplete pass is a term in American football which means that a legal forward pass hits the ground before a player on either team gains possession. For example, if the quarterback throws the ball to one of his wide receivers, and the receiver either does not touch it, or tries .

Over the months, our written conversations have come to deal with more than just games. We've reacted in horror together to Sept. 11, and reflected on the passing of summers.

And in part, I write about this today because I'd like to think that if he suddenly got tickets, and a private jet from Orange Park, Fla., that my pal Tracy Combs, Husky fan, could walk into Autzen Stadium on Saturday, resplendent re·splen·dent  
adj.
Splendid or dazzling in appearance; brilliant.



[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin resplend
 in his purple and gold, and not have to worry about being insulted, cursed and otherwise treated rudely by the minority (I hope) of Oregon fans who can't keep a college football game in perspective.

Because Oregon fans can now root for one of the league's best programs, and watch a game in one of the league's best facilities. Along with that ought to be an effort to lead the league in class, too.

Oh, and one more note about my friend Tracy Combs, Husky fan. Earlier this year, direct from Florida, he sent me a T-shirt celebrating the University of Miami's national championship football season, which concluded with the rout of Nebraska in the Rose Bowl. It was one of those shirts that has all the scores written on the back, and it took something for Trace to send that, because the Hurricanes blew away his beloved Huskies.

In turn, I sent him a T-shirt from the Elite Eight; it might be the only shirt he owns that has an Oregon logo on it.

I'm not sure that Trace ever wears his Oregon shirt, but I wore my Miami shirt quite proudly last summer, posing for a team photo with my youngest son's T-ball team. I was the assistant coach, and the head coach was my friend E.J. Rotherham, Nebraska fan.

Which is another story altogether.
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Copyright 2002, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Columns
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Article Type:Column
Geographic Code:1U9OR
Date:Nov 14, 2002
Words:959
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