Flowers, Football and a Wedding. Saturday.

Fall Saturdays make the greatest days.

Mine began at 8:30 a.m., when I took my pillow and blanket into the living room and posted up on the couch for the final 30 minutes of College GameDay.

On this particular Saturday, several friends were in town because an old housemate was getting married. By the time GameDay was over, our house was buzzing and coffee was brewing.

My roommate and I took an impromptu trip to the Eugene farmer’s market and swung by HomeGoods to pick up a wedding gift (even classier than buying the gift day-of: writing and signing the card in the car en route to the event).

Until we left for the wedding, I had one eye on football games and one on getting ready. It was held at the Mt. Pisgah Arboretum, just outside of Eugene. The wedding was perfect: short but meaningful ceremony, great dance playlist and Cafe Yumm! bowls for lunch. (If you’re not from Eugene, Corvallis or Portland, you don’t know what you’re missing. Yumm bowls are my kryptonite.)

If you’re a college football fan, I know what you’re thinking: Who gets married on a fall Saturday? Well, neither the bride nor the groom are huge football fans, and we made it back during the first quarter of Alabama-LSU. Not bad at all. By the time all the evening’s action was in full swing – there was frantic remote-control flipping between ‘Bama/LSU, OK State/K-State and Oregon/UW – we were out of our fancy wedding attire and back on the couch to take in the night games (including a Duck win over UW. Nice try, Chris Polk!).

Fun farmer’s market trip. Beautiful wedding. Solid Ducks victory.

Not a bad Saturday.

Just to humor myself, a few photos from the day (Yeah, I used Instagram. Judge me all you want.):

Unfortunately, I didn't bring any of these bouquets home, but they're a lot prettier than the beets and broccoli I bought.

Yumm bowls and beer. Can't go wrong. (For the uninitiated, Yumm bowls are made with brown rice, black beans, a to-die-for sauce called Yumm sauce, tomatoes, olives, cilantro and sour cream. There are other variations - for example, some people like guacamole or salsa with their bowls - but I've perfected my Yumm preferences.)

A few of the friends with whom I enjoyed the ceremony, Yumm bowls and dancing. From left: Lauren, Miranda, me and Brad.

The Big, Scary Thesis

As a freshman, the Honors College thesis was a semi-intimidating, rather mysterious project that we didn’t have to think about for three years.

Now as a senior, the Honors College thesis is a wildly intimidating, still mysterious project that IS DUE IN EIGHT MONTHS. So start researching.

Gratuitous Duck photo: backup QB Bryan Bennett, who shined vs. Arizona State after taking over for the injured Darron Thomas. Bennett does tweet though: @BryanBennett3.

Dramatic? A little. But still true. As a student in the UO’s Clark Honors College, one of my graduation requirements is to write an undergraduate thesis on some topic related to my major. Since I graduate this spring, I’m in the Thesis Prospectus class this term, which is designed to help us narrow our focus and start the research process.

I’m a public relations major who l-o-v-e-s social media and sports, so combining the two for my thesis seemed natural. That’s how I arrived at my topic: a look at the development of social media policies in college athletic departments and their implications for college athletes’ free-speech rights.

Even the casual fan can’t help but notice that social media is becoming an increasingly important factor in the sports world. Hardly a day goes by when ESPN doesn’t quote an athlete tweet instead of a prepared statement, and fans clamor for re-tweets and mentions from sports stars.

However, there’s bound to be trouble when you let college athletes (students aren’t always known for having the greatest judgment; for example, I’m writing this at 1 a.m. and ate a massive Voodoo doughnut an hour ago) freely use a social platform that allows them to say anything they want in under 140 characters.

More and more schools are implementing social media policies (or “responsible use guidelines”) for their athletes. But do athletes, even though they’re on scholarship and publicly represent the school, deserve to face such restrictions? A 4.0-student who receives a full academic scholarship and participates in, say, the debate team, can tweet anything he or she wants. Are athletes facing unfair treatment?

No, I’m not going to be standing on the street corner, crusading for athletes’ First Amendment rights. But the question fascinates me, especially as a greater number of schools place restrictions on athletes’ social media use.

My prospectus is still in its early stages, but tomorrow I present it for my class and make my first big leap into thesis-dom. It’s still early in the process, and I’m uncovering new research and new angles every step of the way.

How does the intersection of sports and social media interest you? If you have any thoughts or suggestions for my process, or any random thoughts at all, I’d love to hear them! (And in the off-chance that you’re a college sports reporter who’s covered social media-related topics…can I interview you?)

As scary as the thesis is, being an Honors College student is worth it, if only for this photo. When GameDay was in Eugene last week, their production crew used rooms in the Honors College building; as a "thank you" for letting them take over our space, they gave us set tours. This is me in Chris Fowler's usual spot.

A Retro TV, Reborn

Editor’s Note: Yes, I understand that I have not written my regularly scheduled college football recap posts for the past two weeks. I blame it on the busyness involved with moving to Eugene, starting a new slate of classes and hiring for Allen Hall Public Relations. I also understand that there are absolutely zero people waiting breathlessly for my next installment, but in fairness to my blog, I had to include the disclaimer.

On to the real news.

This is the view from where I sit in the living room of my new house at school:

After a comedy of errors involving two defunct (or nearly defunct) televisions, we were gifted with this lovely piece of TV history. As retro as it may be, it functions perfectly and we didn’t pay a penny for it. A win all around, really.

I don’t consider myself to be a TV junkie by any means, but there is something to be said for having instant access. The past three years, I lived in an all-girls co-op house where TVs were either three flights downstairs or monopolized by movie-watching couples (or both). Now that I live in a house with seven other girls, our people-to-TV ratio is much more manageable, and I foresee numerous peaceful nights in front of the tube.

And I haven’t told my housemates, but I’m hosting a World Series party. You’re invited.

Back in Autzen: A Few Photos from Oregon-Nevada

There is something so special about witnessing a game in Autzen Stadium. I know every college football fan feels this way about his or her team’s home stadium; for me, that’s Autzen, so the gameday traditions and experience are something I treasure. From crossing the Willamette River on the Autzen Footbridge to joining Don Essig in a rousing chant of “It never rains in Autzen Stadium,” I love it all. Especially after last week’s tough loss, it was nice to be back in the friendly Autzen atmosphere and see the Ducks beat Nevada, 69-20.

Sidenote: Darron Thomas connected with De’Anthony Thomas for a couple of touchdown passes this afternoon, and Don Essig’s call was “Thomas to Thomas for the touchdown.” Love that alliteration. It’s my new phrase for the season.

I’m no photographer (plus these are all from my iPhone), but here are a few of my favorite pictures from the day. Go Ducks!

Duck fans make their way across the Autzen Footbridge en route to the stadium. Especially on sunny days like today, this is one of my favorite pre-game scenes..

Our first sight of the stadium.

Obligatory "we made it into the game!" picture with my friends Katy and Alicia. Student tickets are linked to your student ID card (we don't get a paper ticket), and even though we know we have tickets, we're always nervous that it won't scan correctly. This is after we breathed our sighs of relief.

Here's the view from our seats in the student section. The athletic department encouraged fans to wear yellow to this game. Given our past struggles with wearing one color, I'd say we did an O.K. job this afternoon. (Though I wasn't crazy about the players' yellow + gray combo.)

Tim Tebow Wishes His Uniform Had Wings

After discovering that ESPN’s College GameDay was coming to Eugene on Halloween, I figured I had to go.  Despite the fact that I didn’t get a ticket to the game (see the previous post), I really wanted to go see GameDay live, mostly because I’ve enjoyed watching the show in the past and wanted to see Lee Corso put on the Oregon Duck head in person.  (Nice prediction, Lee.  USC who?  The Ducks are now #8 in the nation.)

So, my friend and I entered the line around 3:30 on Saturday morning.  There were already a couple hundred people in line.  One guy behind us was an impeccable Chip Kelly impersonator, and another held a sign that said, “Kirk Herbstreit is my dad.”  Not really sure what that is supposed to imply, but it was funny.  A girl in line was holding a cup of 7-11 coffee, and as I made small talk with her, she revealed that the cup did not hold coffee, but peppermint schnapps.

We stood in line for a couple hours before being allowed into the area where the show would be taped.  My friend and I didn’t make it into the main “pit” of people who would get the most TV time, but we still had a great view of the show’s hosts and the screen they put up that showed GameDay as it was on TV.

A view of the big screen:

DSCN2330

A sampling of the fan-made signs: (The best one read: Trojans: Welcome to Autzen Stadium, your next stop on the way to the Holiday Bowl.  The title of this post is also taken from a fan’s sign.)

DSCN2304

I don’t know exactly what it was, but something about going to the show made me fall in love with football.  Especially college football.  I’ll be reading up on my football this week and have already blocked out time to watch next week’s College GameDay.

That said, since I am somewhat of a newbie at this football thing, I’d love your input about WHERE to get my football information.  What blogs do you read, shows do you watch, podcasts do you listen to?  I’d love to hear any and all of your suggestions.  Thanks for helping me feed my new obsession.

Tim Tebow Wishes His Uniform Had Wings

After discovering that ESPN’s College GameDay was coming to Eugene on Halloween, I figured I had to go.  Despite the fact that I didn’t get a ticket to the game (see the previous post), I really wanted to go see GameDay live, mostly because I’ve enjoyed watching the show in the past and wanted to see Lee Corso put on the Oregon Duck head in person.  (Nice prediction, Lee.  USC who?  The Ducks are now #8 in the nation.)

So, my friend and I entered the line around 3:30 on Saturday morning.  There were already a couple hundred people in line.  One guy behind us was an impeccable Chip Kelly impersonator, and another held a sign that said, “Kirk Herbstreit is my dad.”  Not really sure what that is supposed to imply, but it was funny.  A girl in line was holding a cup of 7-11 coffee, and as I made small talk with her, she revealed that the cup did not hold coffee, but peppermint schnapps.

We stood in line for a couple hours before being allowed into the area where the show would be taped.  My friend and I didn’t make it into the main “pit” of people who would get the most TV time, but we still had a great view of the show’s hosts and the screen they put up that showed GameDay as it was on TV.

A view of the big screen:

DSCN2330

A sampling of the fan-made signs: (The best one read: Trojans: Welcome to Autzen Stadium, your next stop on the way to the Holiday Bowl.  The title of this post is also taken from a fan’s sign.)

DSCN2304

I don’t know exactly what it was, but something about going to the show made me fall in love with football.  Especially college football.  I’ll be reading up on my football this week and have already blocked out time to watch next week’s College GameDay.

That said, since I am somewhat of a newbie at this football thing, I’d love your input about WHERE to get my football information.  What blogs do you read, shows do you watch, podcasts do you listen to?  I’d love to hear any and all of your suggestions.  Thanks for helping me feed my new obsession.

Excited about Life

Eugene!  Public relations!  Friends!  My Chicago Cubs wall sign finally on display!

This is how I feel right now.  Regardless of the fact that the last couple weeks have been ridiculously busy with school preparation, last-minute errands, moving, settling into a new room and meeting new housemates (all of which has kept me from blogging), I think life is just great right now.

Of course, the good feelings will probably lessen some when classes start and schedules start to fill.

But now?  I’m excited about life.

I blogged earlier about the fresh start that comes with September, and my fresh start has truly begun.  I’m in a new room with new décor and new people.  Everything is new.

Another new thing is my enthusiasm for my major, public relations.  I honestly didn’t know a whole lot about public relations until today, when I attended a social media discussion in Portland today.  A few friends who are heavily involved with UO’s student-run PR firm were invited to attend the discussion, which was put on by a Portland PR firm.  They invited me to tag along, and I learned TONS.  Those were capital letters for a reason.

I’m so excited to learn more about how PR is done and what happens in the industry.  It’s constantly changing and seems like an innovative industry with a lot of different career possibilities.  I love using and learning about social media, and this discussion really opened my eyes to how social media fits into public relations.  The girls I drove with were all PR majors and were all extremely happy with their choice to pursue public relations.  They were confident, skilled, and thrilled to be representing UO and their student-run firm.

Hopefully, I can be a part of that firm this year.  Next week I’ll begin the application process, so I’m a bit nervous but still excited about the possibilities that PR offers.  It’s just a great time to be excited about life.

What are you excited about in the coming year?  Your major?  Your school?  Your friends?  Your location?  Tell me!  Also, if anyone out there works in PR or is a PR student, I’d love to hear from you.  I have so much to learn and would love to know any tips or stories you have to share to a PR student.

Coming posts will be less about me and all the cool things in my life and more about what others are doing.  That’s much more important in the grand scheme of things, but this was a “preface post” to the rest of the year.  Here we go!