Signs: GameDay vs. Occupy Eugene!

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ESPN College GameDay, University of Oregon

It was 6:30 am, and I was crawling on my hands and knees through the ESPN College GameDay crowd on the UO campus with a handful of sidewalk chalk. I was making a series of duck footprints that led to the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, where we were fundraising by selling coffee, donuts and Ducks apparel.

Before you giggle that my only recent brush with the sports world involves art, let me point out that I wasn’t entirely clueless about the show’s proceedings.

For the uninitiated (which would be me ’til this morning), being in a College GameDay crowd isn’t really about the show. The crowd is situated behind the famous sports commentators, and the speaker system isn’t the greatest. Attending a filming of GameDay is actually all about one thing: GETTING ON THE TEEVEE. Turns out the best way to do that is make the tallest, biggest, wittiest sign possible and hope the camera lands on it.

Even after browsing through the101 greatest GameDay signs ever the night before, I still didn’t understand some of the inside jokes waving around me as I worked. Why does Corso need to “redeem himself”? What is a “Quack cobra”? What’s this “Pac-12” thing, and whatever happened to the Pac-10? Okay, now I’m just sounding ignorant.

I understood some of the signs, I swear! “My Arms Are Tired” was pretty straighforward.

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Occupy Eugene March, High Street

The GameDay signs probably wouldn’t have crossed my mind again, except for the fact that I stopped by City Hall at 4 pm to watch the start of the Occupy Eugene protest. I’m not sure what to think of the whole Occupy movement. Their goals are a little too unclear for me to pass judgment one way or the other, but something I do know is that they’re just as passionate about making signs as the GameDay groupies.

“END CORPORATE PERSONHOOD.” “I AM THE 99%.” “no one Should go Hungry.” “REVOLT.” “SHARING= JUSTICE, JUSTICE= PEACE.”

The content may have been different, but in terms of style, the GameDay and Occupy fanatics had a lot in common. Some messages were scrawled in permanent marker on cardboard, others were spectacularly decorated with glitter glue. Some espoused messages of violence, others were playful. All of them displayed sign art’s classic overuse of CAPS.

I’m not going to say that the similar ways we communicate our deepest convictions might give us hope for peaceful discourse and unity. Okay, so I’ve just said it. Art is a universal language! Corny corn corn!

In any case, I feel like having a cause for which you’ll wake up early, dress in funny clothes, make signs and freeze your butt off is generally really healthy, whether it involve sports, politics or tagging sidewalks.

Now could someone please explain the whole Pac-10/12 thing?

BONUS VIDEO: Here’s a tiny clip of the Occupy protest, which was filled with revolutionary people who politely avoid jaywalking.

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3 comments
  1. Jeremy said:

    Pac 12 is the new football conference (as well as other sports) for Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, Washington State, Cal (Berkley), USC, Stanford, UCLA, Arizona, and Arizona State (the old Pac 10) with the two new schools; Colorado and Utah. This is the very first official year for the Pac 12.

    • So at least it’s a recent change! See, I’m not so misinformed about football…
      Thanks, Jeremy!

  2. Sounds like your knowledge of sports terms is about the same as mine… I am on the fence about the Occupy movement as well… I think I get the hoopla, but what is the end means?

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