I am a man of words and, just barely, a man of my word. And I am also a man of my birds, however I might try to duck my allegiances when things go south on national television.
Explanation: This past December, buoyed by success, media hype, and my environs (I live four minutes from Autzen Stadium), I drank the Oregon Duck Kool-Aid and accepted the prevailing wisdom that Coach Chip Kelly and Crew would win the Rose Bowl on January 1st against the Ohio State Buckeyes. I was so deliriously confident, I made a bet with Greg O., a friend who lives in Ohio, about the game. It was typical of most bets involving football bowl games: the loser had to write a serious, straight-up Shakespearean sonnet about the game, including an overt note of congratulations. No sarcasm, no weasel worse, no free verse.
The sonnet, once approved by the winner, would be posted on this blog. As I said, a very typical bet.
Unfortunately, the Oregon Ducks lost to the Ohio State Buckeyes, 26-17.
I am finally, a month later, fulfilling my end of the bargain. So, without further ado—or, with much ado about pigskin—here is my sonnet:
The Rose Bowl Sonnet: A Duck's Lament
My spread, Chip said, would shred with confusion,
Scamp'ring past the Buckeyes towering yet
slow, spun by misdirected illusion,
Hence confidence and this rash, beguiling bet.
Two fortnight gone, and still the ling'ring pain
Doth endure; twas glory held, dimmed, then flushed,
Gridiron dreams first flew then fell in vain,
Ducks scattered; Masoli's crew dashed, smashed, crushed.
Alas, Tressel's men did spread their massive paws
and cast Coach Kelly's lads from side to side,
A chance—brief!—died quickly; the fumble lost
Pryor smelt blood and did to glory glide.
Tis better to have played and lost, you say?
I only know thy team was best that day.
Speaking of Shakespeare, did I mention that Joseph Pearce's new book, Through Shakespeare's Eyes: Seeing the Catholic Presence in the Plays, is now available from Ignatius Press?