Mind Bending Duck: Oregon Vs. Stanford 2011

Watch it once first. Then read the following.

In  normal life after a touchdown, a kicker comes onto the field and kicks an “extra point” just a little old “1” to add to the 6 points of a “touchdown”. It’s just what teams have done, for decades. It’s “what you do”. Like brushing your teeth before bed. Like salting the pasta water.

Normal. Houses that had “A” shapes were once normal. Then Buckminster Fuller made a geodesic dome. Frank Lloyd Wright made a house like a rock fallen over a creek.  The first viewers of said creations must have dropped their jaws, wrinkled their brows: “what am I looking at?”

That is what I did tonight when I saw this play. You see, every once in a while, a team does a perfectly legal gamble for a Two Point Conversion. Instead of kicking just the solo point, they do a little pass or run back into the end-zone and get 2 points.                                                                                       Then there’s this.

This bizzarre set up that looks like two different plays set at once and a snap that moved sideways. Looks like it was directed by Anne Bogart or drawn up by a grad student at Cooper Union.       Way left you have nice little triangle, three men.  A man hiking the ball,  behind him looks like a quarterback waiting. Normal except for their strange isolation.  On the right the normal looking scrum of players. “Hike!” The ball skews out not behind to the dummy quarterback but sideways into the big scrum, to the real passer.

Defense is defenseless. #17 in red runs one way, then the other, lost, because the other two points in our little triangle have run streaming into the end zone’s corner… While he is busy being lost, the Oregon Duck who hiked the ball  just steps into the endzone, receiving pass from the guy who was set up way over yonder and caught that sidelong nap.

I could watch it a hundred times and never tire of the legerdemain, the unexpectedness, the architecture of it.  The acting it took. The conviction of the two red herrings fleeing into the corner to make the guys in red into Keystone Cops, confused, too late. They are the magician’s waving hand and the “Abracadabra” that distract you from seeing him do..do…what? Where’s he get that rabbit? Alas, my team has lost, but we may have learned something.

And like a true piece of art even truer than a painting or sculpture, it can never be used exactly like that again.

It would be expected.


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