A national championship family feud
Phoenix resident Donna Goetsch was tickled pink when she received a football T-shirt for Christmas.
The shirt, from her son Bruce Goetsch in Indianapolis, is emblazoned with University of Oregon Ducks and Auburn University Tigers football helmets.
"Going for all the marbles," it notes, referring to Monday evening's BCS National Championship game in Glendale, Ariz.
"I'll be wearing it Monday," says Donna, the proud collegiate-football-watching grandmother of 15 grandchildren. "I would love to see the Ducks win.
"But," she adds, "we do have this rivalry going on in our family. They text each other back and forth about the game."
Call it a friendly family feud.
Two of her grandchildren are U of O graduates while another is a junior at Auburn. Obviously, they have differing football loyalties, which they share via Facebook.
"We will let the game decide who gets to do some taunting at the end," says grandson John Stanaland, 24, of Medford, who graduated from Oregon in 2008 with a degree in economics and business administration.
"I will be watching the game very intently," he adds in a telephone interview. "I say Oregon wins in a close game, something like 42-37."
Up in Eugene, his sister, Janiece Stanaland, 26, agrees that Oregon will triumph. A 2006 graduate of Oregon, she attended her first Oregon game in 2001 with her maternal grandmother when the Ducks played — and beat — Wisconsin.
"I think it will be high scoring, but I got to go with my Ducks," she says. "It's going to be fun to watch. We keep in touch on Facebook. But we keep it friendly because we are really into our teams."
True story, says granddaughter Lauren Goetsch, 20, who lives near Atlanta.
"But I think Cam Newton and my boys will come through with the win," insists the Auburn junior majoring in international business.
"I am an Auburn Tiger — I have to root for my team," she adds. "Of course, I've always rooted for Oregon when they weren't playing my boys."
Like other members of her large family, she describes the rivalry as congenial.
"I don't know if my cousins know how serious we take our football here," she says. "But I couldn't ask for a friendlier rivalry than to play Oregon. It will be fun to see who ends up with the bragging rights.
"I do think maybe Uncle Bruce is enjoying this a little too much," she adds with a laugh.
That would be Bruce Goetsch, 48, a former longtime Medford resident who sent the jersey from Indianapolis. He is one of Donna's three sons. She also has two daughters.
"We are having a lot of fun with this," acknowledges Bruce, who went to Oregon Institute of Technology in Klamath Falls. "It is kind of a family feud but definitely all in fun."
Not only are there Ducks and Tigers — oh my! — but also Beavers involved in this family's football.
"Two of my five kids are Beaver fans," he says. "When we get together, there is always some in (Beaver) orange and black along with (Duck) green and yellow. It can be interesting."
But he allows he will be squarely behind Oregon come Monday evening.
"We're going to get a whole bunch of people together here to watch the game and root for Oregon," says the former Oregonian.
"The funny part of it is, my youngest sister lives in Glendale, about 15 minutes from where the game is going to be played," he adds. "I just wish we could have flown mom down there for the game."
But the family matriarch, who turns 76 next week, says she'll be happy to watch the game on TV with local family members.
"My family has kind of turned me into a football fan," she says. "We try to tone it down, but we can get pretty vocal. But it's all in fun."
Still, with all the bad news of late, she figures the game will offer some respite.
And maybe even a little hope, she says.
"It's good for the state to have a team in the championship," she says. "We'll see who gets the bragging rights. But it is just for fun."
After all, she will tell you, it is just a game, albeit for all the marbles.
Reach reporter Paul Fattig at 541-776-4496 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.