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Why I’m a fan of the Oregon State Beavers

Are sports fans born or made?

California v Oregon State Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Welcome to the refreshed Building The Dam! To celebrate the new look and feel of our sports communities, we’re sharing stories of how and why we became fans of our favorite teams. If you’d like to share your story, head over to the FanPosts here to write your own post. Each FanPost will be entered into a drawing to win a $500 Fanatics gift card. We’re collecting all of the stories here and featuring the best ones across our network as well. Come Fan With Us!

My journey to Oregon State fandom probably isn’t different than many of yours. I was born and raised to be a Beaver fan. Literally, I was born in Corvallis and my grandfather was a professor at OSU. As the author Elliot J. Gorn explains “For it is in childhood that the bond between fans and sports is born and nurtured” (A Brief History of American Sports). My love affair with sports and fandom also started at a young age. As a kid I played sports year-round, whether it was basketball, baseball, soccer or whatever else I could get my hands on.

When I was still very young my family moved up north to the Portland area, but we visited Corvallis often because most of my extended family lived (and still lives) there. My first ever big-time sporting event was attending an Oregon State football home game in Reser Stadium. I remember my dad talking to me about Ken Simonton and how great he was, but I was mostly interested in eating my hotdog.

As the years went on I remember enjoying watching Beaver greats like Steven Jackson, Chad Johnson and even Jonathan Smith. I remained a loyal Oregon State fan, but my obsession didn’t really take off until I starting watching Derek Anderson, Matt Moore, Yvenson Bernard, Mike Haas and others compete on the gridiron. By the time the Rodgers brothers (James & Jacquizz) made it to Corvallis I was star-struck. I started religiously watching every Oregon State football game as well as memorizing the depth chart and generally paying way more attention than the average fan.

Oregon State v Arizona
Jacquizz loses his helmet, but doesn’t stop
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

I had grown up hearing about Oregon State’s 28-year streak of consecutive losing seasons, but I didn’t have any strong memories of the Beavers not being competitive. For almost as long as I can remember, Mike Riley was the head coach and Oregon State was generally a good football team.

It was difficult to watch Phil Knight and company turn the enemy (also known as the Ducks) into legitimate national title contenders, but Mike Riley almost always coached an above average football team. Watching Sean Mannion drop back and air it out to Markus Wheaton and then Brandin Cooks was breath-taking, even if the Beaver defense was struggling on the other end.

When Mike Riley was announced as Nebraska’s new head football coach in 2014, I was stunned. He was essentially the only Oregon State football coach that I had ever known and after he turned down USC, I didn’t think he would ever leave Corvallis. The Beavers were already looking thin on talent before Riley took the job in Nebraska and I had little optimism for the future of Oregon State football.

Oregon v Oregon State Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Thankfully Oregon State whisked Gary Andersen away from Wisconsin, which helped calm my fears and the Beavs have been steadily rebuilding since that time. Generally, the future of Oregon State football might be as bright as it’s ever been.

Overall, trying to sum up exactly why I am a fan of Oregon State is no easy task. The combination of family, friends, drama, excitement, community and overall escape from the general stresses of life have driven me to not only become a life-long Oregon State fan, but also an incredibly dedicated sports fan. It’s the reason I spend way too much time watching, reading, researching and writing about sports.There is no doubt that I’m a fan of the Oregon State Beavers. The school has helped me build or strength valuable relationships, while also creating life-long memories.

SB Nation is all about fostering a fan led community and we want to hear from you about why you are a fan of the Oregon State Beavers!

Reader sweepstakes instructions

1. Readers should go to the FanPosts section and write a post with the headline 'Why I'm a fan of the Oregon State Beavers'.

2. Posts should be under 800 words.

3. We will collect these posts into a section and they will be automatically entered into a random drawing.

4. That's it!

Here are the full Official Rules for the reader sweepstakes. Abbreviated:

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. SB Nation Why Are You a Fan Contributor Sweepstakes starts on 8:00am ET on May 25, 2017 and ends at 11:59pm ET on June 8, 2017. Open only to legal residents of the United States, 18 years or older. Click here for Official Rules and complete details, including entry instructions, odds of winning, alternative method of entry, prize details and restrictions, etc. Void where prohibited or restricted by law. Sponsor: Vox Media, Inc.