Our own John Canzano was on the scene at AT&T Stadium as the Oregon Ducks dropped a heartbreaking 27-21 loss to the Auburn Tigers in the season-opener. But in his column for The Oregonian/Oregon Live, JC brought a much higher perspective than transcends the disappointment fans will feel about the result. Canzano met six-year-old Ducks fan Carter Santos, a San Diego native who last year was diagnosed with leukemia. Santos’ family attended the game thanks to tickets left for them by Oregon Ducks offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo. Writes Canzano:
Carter’s father played college football at San Jose State alongside Arroyo years ago. And so this is how a first grader came to stand at the mouth of the tunnel watching his Ducks run onto the field on Saturday night, grinning beneath that medical mask.
“It’s real,” Carter turned and said, “we made it mommy.”
Read the full column here for more on Carter’s story and the support from his family. It’s moving. And it offers much-needed perspective the morning after a gut-wrenching defeat, leading one to question what ‘gut-wrenching’ really means.
Canzano gave some reaction to the game on the field, as well:
I don’t know what’s ahead for the Ducks. I like the UO defense. Herbert is a star. But Oregon is limited for the second straight season by a thin group of young receivers. And coach Mario Cristobal deserves some criticism for his clock management. Armed with 20/20 hindsight, Auburn probably shouldn’t have had time for that fatal touchdown pass. But what we really have here is a team that now has a chance to turn a dismal opening night into a season that could be as fun.
And as for how Carter is dealing with the loss? Perhaps grown-up Ducks fans can learn from him there, too:
Turns out the kid with leukemia didn’t cry after the game. He’s more focused on what comes next. How the Ducks respond to adversity. After Saturday’s setback, he’s now wondering if Oregon will push through the disappointment, learn from its mistakes, and turn that opening-night gut punch into the start of a wonderful journey.
You know, make a positive from a negative.
Read the full piece here.
Don’t miss John Canzano on 750 The Game with The Bald Faced Truth weekdays Noon to Three pm. He’ll be back Tuesday, Sept. 3rd with his full analysis from the Ducks loss in Texas.