Hey, aren’t you #25?!


Kenny Shelton, right, preps for a Ducks game.

Are you black in a predominantly white college town? Are you constantly asked what sports team you play for? Do people constantly stare at you with a joyous — and slightly puzzled —gaze as they try to figure out if you’re their favorite college athlete?

I’m here to tell you that you’re not alone! The great folks of Eugene constantly (yet erroneously, and blissfully so) assume I’m on the football team; from young to old, it never fails.

I have been asked for autographs by kids on the street and been given a free sandwich at Market of Choice by an older woman for my “job well done” in the Rose Bowl victory.

I have even been given extra time on a few assignments in the classroom because I was “too tired from practice” — their idea, not mine.

You might be nodding your head in agreement with me, reassured that these instances in fact occur in other people’s lives, or you could be reading in disbelief, thinking I’m grossly exaggerating some isolated incident that resonates in my mind.

But seriously folks, if I had a dollar for every time I was asked if I was on the football team (or the basketball team sometimes, go figure), I could start a scholarship in my name, no problemo. But despite my … cough… cough… Herculean 5’11, 225-pound build and my regal, chocolatey complexion, what makes people assume I’m an athlete before a scholar?

Don’t get me wrong, it does come with a few perks: The terms “wait,” “line” and “cover charge” have little to no meaning to me. I get free drinks. It is an instant icebreaker, deal-sealer, and it even earned me a free tow a few years back from a graying mechanic who greeted me with the cheerful, “Aren’t you number 25!? I love them Ducks!” Umm, yes. How could I say no?

But it’s not all glitz and glamor — the assumed athletic prowess can take a toll.

Have you ever taken flak from a nasally know-it-all sports fan while trying to casually drink at a bar? Grocery shopping has never been more awkward. The weird rise you get from people who think you’re a football player is reciprocated only by the impending awkward moment that inevitably ensues when you tell people that no, you’re not in fact on the team and yes, their apology is always accepted. And run ins with DPS and Eugene P.D. still occur. Even during my few minor brushes with the law, the “narcos” asked “What sport do you play?” before asking my name.

So, in light of my experiences, I’ve started the BIPWCTA, or the Black in Predominantly White College Town Allegiance for people like you and me to better cope with the aforementioned conditions. We offer weekly meetings to council attendees and also to provide a haven for dialogue on how to deal with the unique set of problems that we face.

We offer fellowship time, book lists, “I AM NOT AN ATHLETE” pins/sweatshirts, dominoes lessons (at all levels, mind you. Think guitar but with less music. Actually, don’t think guitar.) and much, much more.

And I also recognize that many other people from many other races are also confused with college athletes, and for that very reason our membership is open to everyone. It can be tough — I too have wrongfully assumed an Eric-Mangold-looking fella was on the O Line here in Eugene only later to find out he was an interior decorator. But I digress. If this piece spoke to you in any way then BIPWCTA is the group for you! Be on the lookout for regular updates from me the BIPWCTA. #Skoducks #BIPWCTA



Seeing as how most reporters continuously spout off secondhand speculation regarding our beloved Ducks, referencing cryptic practice reports and even more cryptic Tweets, I figured I’d take a different avenue to show everyone how Duck football Wins the Day, and it all starts in the kitchen.

A balanced diet is of course important for everyone, but especially our athletes. High performance vehicles require high performance fuel. Ever seen a pit crew fill a Formula 1 racer with unleaded? Exactly. They need rocket fuel straight like DAT and our Ducks.

I was able to get a few words in with Ducks associate athletic director and nutrionalist James Harris, the man who tailors those diets, and who is also responsible for the mantra #eatingforapurpose.

#eatingforapurpose began as “burn it to earn it,” or the concept of knowing how much work it will take to burn of what was consumed. “A cookie is 200 calories and takes 20 minutes to burn off,” Harris explained.

But “burn it to earn it” proved to be a bit difficult to decipher, so Harris came up with #eatingforapurpose which is more self explanatory. Each player is provided with a detail list of foods they “should” and “should not” eat to be the best athlete they could be.

Harris said it’s noticeable when a player strays from their diet. With the speed and tempo of our offense, our players cannot be out there looking like Homer Simpson.

Believe it or not, our lineman are the guys who have to count calories. Due to the notion that lineman aren’t running fly patterns on a regular basis, they don’t always have the same opportunities to burn off those unwanted calories. Lineman then have to stay beastly, yet nimble in the trenches, to ensure our program fires on all cylinders.

When I asked how alcohol came into play he replied, “It’s tough because alcohol stores quicker as fat. There are 7 calories per gram in alcohol vs. 4 calories per gram in sugar.”

Alcohol is also known to slow the metabolism down which is no bueno for guys relying on lightening quick metabolisms as well as reflexes.

“It’s not just the alcohol though,” Harris said half-jokingly. “Nobody goes out for a night of drinking and then goes to sleep, its imperative you pig out first!!!”

I believe the medical term for the aforementioned condition is the DRUNCHIES, but I’m no doctor.

Of course Harris understands that our players are not only human but college students as well, and that they’ll stray from their diets occasionally, but their stringent strength and conditioning program keeps our Duckies in tip top shape.

Spoken like a true Jedi, Harris closed with, “Although it sounds cliche, our ultimate goal is to Win the Day. Our goal is to be the best we can possibly be to put ourselves in the position to Win the Day. We take it one day a time.”

If the Ducks aim to Win the Day, then their efforts have to come from everywhere — even in the kitchen. So, in summation, eat right, don’t feed the lineman, and never put unleaded fuel in F1 racer. #skoducks #eatingforapurpose

James Harris’ favorite spots to eat in the Eug:

  1. Cafe yum (of course)
  2. Mucho Gusto
  3. Chili and a side salad from Wendy’s
  4. Qdoba — has a “mean” salad.
  5. Harris also noted that even fast food joints have healthy options, you just have to know what to look for.

Kenny Shelton reports from Fan Day


On Saturday Aug 25, 2012, Ducks enthusiasts flocked to Fan day at Autzen stadium in droves.

The line to enter the stadium wrapped around the parking lot, the site of which almost brought a tear to my eye. Thousands of fans filled Autzen and waited in 100 yard-long lines — three people wide, four lines wide, endzone to endzone — to meet their favorite football players.

Not only were there autograph opportunities from our local Duck celebs, but our beautiful, talented and much sought-after cheer team even made an appearance.

In addition to the cheer teem performing, there were bouncy houses, inflatable lineman, and several gift giveaways to add to the festivities. One fan said the event was a bit of a “clusterduck” but loved it nonetheless.

It was really a beautiful site to see the smorgasbord of Oregon attire and duck fanatics gearing up for another electrifying year of football, and don’t worry, I made sure not to wear any Oregon apparel to avoid confusion.

One thing is for certain though, Arkansas State is not ready for what we’re about to do to them opening day! Pac 12 Champs or bust! #skoducks

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