Good morning, grieving sports fans.
We are gathered here to honor a conference lost, never again to be found. I know we all have shared sweet memories, painful memories, and everything in between with the deceased, and it’s my great honor to deliver their eulogy today.
I want to start by saying the Pac-12, or Pac, as friends would often refer, wouldn’t want us to be sad today. Pac would want us to celebrate their life, remember the good times, and laugh about the bad times (Larry Scott).
I remember the first time I met Pac. I was 4 years old, down in Eugene with my family at my first Coug game, and I remember feeling like I had a friend all around me. Only one friend, though; I was in Autzen. Everyone else seemed a little snooty. But not Pac! I knew Pac would always be there for me, through ups and downs, and I could always relish in being the sometimes talented underdog league. Even though I don’t like the Ducks, I still remember when they upset Ohio State early last season. I was able to push past my resentment towards Oregon, and respect the fact that it made Pac look better.
When I moved to college, Pac was there for me. They gave me a fun conversation topic to start in bars, a hill to die on and a name to defend. Pac understood me. Even when I was far away and homesick, I knew they would always be there. I took that for granted.
Just last month I was in a bar, and a man in an Iowa State shirt came up to me. We started talking about the Alamo Bowl (28-26 Go Cougs forever) and he said to me, “Emma, how the hell are you rattling stats off about that game from like four years ago?!” and I said “random man whose name I do not remember at the time of writing this, I always remember the Alamo.” That victory was one of the more meaningful ones for me, and for Pac, and I think they would have laughed at that joke.
I remember how happy we all were when Larry Scott got the boot. This is almost his fault, if you think about it. And remember how euphoric and united we all felt blaming things on Larry? How effortless it was? How fun? Pac gave us that. For a time, we got to be together — rivalries aside, all forces joined against the same enemy. Sometimes it’s true what they say: the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Or rather, my sports team rival, but some things are bigger than the game. Pac taught me that.
I’m sure all of you have your own memories of Pac, and if you want to share your own eulogy; please feel free in the comments below. It’s important to be together during times of such division.
If you’ll all join me in singing Over the Rainbow, I think it’s what Pac would have wanted.
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