Honolulu Lite

by Charles Memminger

Wednesday, December 22, 1999

It’s a proud time
to be a Beaver

IT took me a while to be able to say I'm proud to be a Beaver and mean it. And there are still parts of the country where publicly avowing that you are a furry rodent with big teeth is considered somewhat strange.

But I am a Beaver, damn it. My dad paid good money for me to become a Beaver. And I will not besmirch his memory by denying my Beaver-hood.

All you have to do to become a Beaver is attend Oregon State University. The beaver is the school mascot or symbol or whatever. As far as school symbols go, the beaver is relatively non-controversial. It's not like those schools that have screaming Indian heads or drunken Irishmen as their logos. Only the occasional odd animal rights wacko would complain about the beaver being exploited by a school as mascot.

The beaver was chosen as Oregon State's symbol because, I believe, it is a fierce little creature that can cut down an entire forest in an afternoon which, ironically, is what most Oregon State graduates are trained to do.

Oregon State is surrounded by trees aching to be cut down, so it is appropriate that the school symbol be a voracious tree-cutter-downer. The University of Oregon chose the duck as its symbol because, well, because they are a bunch of doodoo heads down there. A duck? Who wants to be a duck? Look out! Here comes a duck! Waddle, waddle, waddle. Quack, quack, quack. Give me a break. Now imagine you are being chased by a 300 pound angry beaver. That's scary.

And that's exactly what's going to happen to a bunch of University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors on Christmas Day at Aloha Stadium. A herd of Oregon State Beavers are going to be unleashed inside the stadium. I never thought I'd consider going to a football game on Christmas Day. But I never imagined that the Oregon State Beavers would ever field a decent football team. But they did this year, turning in the best season since people wore polyester plaid pants. It's fitting that they face Hawaii's amazing turn-around team.

I'm going to the game because I've got to see these Beavers for myself. I've never seen a winning Beaver live. Our Beavers, when I was going college in the earl '70s, were the laughing stock of the Pacific Northwest and some parts of Canada. There was a rumor that the football Beavers once went to the Rose Bowl, but by the time I became a Beaver, there was not even a scent of that kind of success associated with Oregon State's football team. The biggest change in football history came when the Pac 8 became the Pac 10. We were all so happy. No longer would we be No. 8 at the end of the season. We'd be No. 10!

There was only one way to watch an Oregon State football game. Heavily sedated. When our boys ran onto the field, the Beaver Band would play "Suicide is Painless," the theme song from "M*A*S*H." I'm not kidding.

We'd sneak in vast quantities of a liquid supposedly called wine. Now that I know what wine is, I don't know what we were drinking back then. It cost 89 cents a bottle and was an unnatural hue of purple. We'd swig that swill and watch our Beavers get slaughtered by everyone but the Vienna Boys' Choir.

But things apparently have changed. The Beavers have become winning rodents. Spectators can apparently watch them play an entire game of football without having to be drugged and/or liquored up.

I've got to see this miracle on Christmas Day. Go Beavers.

Charles Memminger, winner of
National Society of Newspaper Columnists
awards in 1994 and 1992, writes "Honolulu Lite"
Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Write to him at the Honolulu Star-Bulletin,
P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu, 96802
or send E-mail to or

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