Column: Homage to a fallen Beaver
Published: Friday, March 15, 2013
Updated: Friday, March 15, 2013 03:03
I’m just going to come right out and say it: This new logo doesn’t do much for me.
But to be fair, I don’t know exactly what it is I don’t like about it. I mean, it’s probably more aesthetically pleasing than the logo OSU had from 1997-2013.
It’s sleek. It’s clean. It’s modern. It even looks a little scary, too. I imagine that would be hard to do given that beavers are oversized rats in need of dental work.
Seriously, having them as a mascot is about as intimidating as, well, a duck. It hardly resonates in the same way that Trojans, Sun Devils and Cougars do.
So in those respects, sure, the new logo is perfectly fine. I’m just not entirely sold on it, though. It’s too new for me to blindly embrace and love.
You see, I grew up with the old logo. Oregon State and I go way back.
Both of my parents graduated from Oregon State; they even met each other on this very campus.
Both of them are avid sports fans. My dad in particular probably cares a little too much. He graduated way back in 1983, yet he still he refers to the Oregon State football players as “my boys.”
That being said, it should come as no surprise that they wanted to share their love of Oregon State with their son.
As a matter of fact, my dad and I have had season tickets to see the football team since I was six years old, and there are so many memories that we’ve been able to share because we’ve watched Oregon State play. The Beavers provided a constant stream of those precious, sappy moments between a father and his son.
The very first experience I ever had was incredibly memorable in its own right.
It was the infamous Civil War of 1998. Mike Riley was the coach then, and the Beavers defeated the Ducks in double-overtime fashion. The score was 44-41 after a Ken Simonton touchdown clinched it for OSU.
It was a big deal.
After the game, I remember seeing thousands of adults go bat-freaking-crazy. A pack of them even tore down one of the goalposts.
I had no idea what was going on.
All I knew was that all these big people were yelling and making loud noises, and that it was fun.
Ever since, I have lived and breathed orange and black.
I was there when Dennis Erickson took the head coaching job and was calling plays for Jonathan Smith and Ken Simonton.
I was there when Chad Johnson, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, the rest of the Beavers and a rogue possum defeated the Trojans for the first time in 33 years.
I was there when Joey Harrington threw five interceptions that cost the Ducks the Civil War.
I was there before, during and after Reser Stadium was renovated.
I witnessed every single big play, game and story of this millennium.
And while the names from those Beaver teams have come and gone through this school, one thing unified them all — the “Beavers” logo on all of their helmets and at midfield.
So yeah, I tend to get sentimental when I think about that logo. It brings back a wave of good memories.
But last week, the university ushered in a new era without so much as a “goodbye” to the beaver that graced Oregon State’s athletic programs since 1997.
There was no retirement ceremony for the old beaver. No funeral, no eulogy, no remembrance, no acknowledgement, no nothing.
And frankly, it deserved better than that.
Instead, the “ReBeav” was dedicated to moving forward — to taking Oregon State’s athletic program to some “next level.”
I don’t know if that will happen or not. I can’t say I know what the future holds for Oregon State.
I do know what the past held, though. I was there when it happened.
And I guess I will continue to be here as it continues to happen.
So maybe that’s it. Maybe I’m not in love with the new logo because it doesn’t mean anything to me at the moment. Maybe that’s why I can’t help but think that the new logo feels empty.
It’s missing the sentimental factor the old logo had in droves.
I actually think I can live with that. That aspect will come in time.
I have no fear that memories will be made from this school’s athletic programs in the near future. And when they are, the new logo will be a part of them.
Plus, I can’t be afraid of change. My dad grew up with the Beavers too. He, himself saw the logo transition for the first time. It went from this goofy, smiling beaver, who wore some sort of sailor’s hat to the one that just got replaced.
His reaction: “I liked that change. I didn’t like Benny the Sailor.”
So if he can let go of an image that meant the world to him, then I can too.
Right now it’s a struggle for me. It’s like saying goodbye to an old friend, a friend who was there for me during my childhood.
I was raised to love him.
I did love him.
He will be missed.
Mitch Mahoney, sports reporter