It goes without saying this could be a special column, and by that I mean we shouldn't say anything about how good this column could be. The start was slow, I agree, but the ending? The end of this column could be spectacular. It could go places the column hasn't gone in decades. It could be remembered as one of the best columns to run on this page. As long as we don't talk about the ending. Even thinking of the potentially historic nature of this column would be counterproductive to the column. Not to get all preachy, but you have to write in the moment. "You have to enjoy the journey," Oregon State football coach Mike Riley said Tuesday. I agree. He was talking about his football team and The Bowl That Dares Not Speak Its Name, which lurked behind every question and danced around every answer. (Hint: It rhymes with Nose Bowl.)
Riley was talking about Saturday's game against California, and only about Saturday's game against California. But more than that, he was talking about focus. I like focus, and lack it. But not today. Forget one sentence at a time. I'm writing o . . . n . . . e . . . letter at a time. "It's kind of a nice way to live," Riley said. I agree. I've got tunnel vision. I'm razor sharp. Speaking of razors, toss them. "No shave November," Oregon State guard Gregg Peat said. The Beavers offense isn't shaving for the month. Quarterback Lyle Moevao said he has the best beard, and if that's true, Oregon State's offense just tested clean for steroids. It's not a bad beard, but as 11-day growths go, it was about a 2:30 shadow.
"It's something to have fun with," Moevao said. I agree. It's a nice take on the NHL playoff beards, and if I'm not going to think about the end of the column, if I'm going to focus on each letter, trusting each word to do its job to create a successful sentence, then I'm going to do it with stubble. Solidarity in solitary endeavors, that's what teamwork is all about.
Even when it's a team of me writing the column. Hemingway had a beard. It was full. It was wise. It fought hard. It fought well. It was declarative. The beard is a good idea. The Beavers didn't just spend Tuesday not talking about The Bowl That Dares Not Speak Its Name and focus. As is November tradition, they were asked why they stink in September. In the past two seasons, they're 15-3 in October, November and December. "I think it's the rain," Moevao said. "The rain gets us going." Blame it on that. Or credit focus, increased cohesion, practice, patience, plain old-fashioned hard work. Whatever it is, it has worked, and we could all use a little of it -- one day at a time. The end.