Ottney: Name gameWritten by Sarah Ottney | Editor in Chief | firstname.lastname@example.org
Oregon, Ohio, is a phrase I never thought I’d hear on ESPN. Oregon, yes. Ohio, yes. But Oregon, Ohio? That all changed this week.
In case you missed it, the city temporarily amended its name in support of Ohio State, as the Buckeyes face the University of Oregon in college football’s first playoff series title game Jan. 12.
Prompted by an online petition, city officials decided to have a little fun and play along. I woke up Jan. 5 in Oregon, Ohio, but went to bed that night in “Oregon, Ohio Buckeyes on the Bay, City of Duck Hunters.” The name is a play on the city’s motto “Oregon on the Bay, City of Opportunity.”
Predictably, online judgement was swift, ranging from “AWESOME,” “Sweet!” and “Funny” to “Lame…,” “ Stupid!!!!” and “This has to be the absolute dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.”
The name is quite a mouthful, I’ll admit. (But doesn’t it have a fun Game of Thrones-y ring? “Ohio State Buckeyes of House Urban, King of the Big Ten and Defier of Expectations.”)
“Silly but you’ve got to love the passion for their team,” commented Mark Uyehara on ESPN.com.
Hey, a mayor’s job is to promote his city. Millions of people now know there is an Oregon, Ohio. That’s the kind of goodwill and name recognition you can’t buy.
Lindsay Myers, executive director of the Oregon Economic Development Foundation, was torn.
“As the economic development director for the City of Oregon, Ohio, I’m thrilled for all of the publicity! As a dedicated fan of the SEC, I simply can’t get on board with this,” she joked.
The best part? Neither of the two petitioners are Ohio State fans either — one is actually a Michigan fan.
As Crystal Anderson posted on Toledo Free Press’ Facebook page: “I live in Oregon and I hope it pumps some life into this town. It is fun and really who is it hurting?”
Exactly. Lighten up, people. It’s all in good fun.
Five years ago, I was in Pasadena, California, watching Ohio State take down Oregon at the Rose Bowl. This year I’ll be watching on TV from Oregon, Ohio Buckeyes on the Bay, City of Duck Hunters. Here’s hoping for a repeat performance on a bigger stage, for a bigger prize.
Sarah Ottney is editor in chief of Toledo Free Press. Contact her at email@example.com.