Growing up an Oregonian and a huge NFL fan has been an amazing experience. Though Oregon does not have its own team, there are still 32 others from around the country to choose from.
Personally, I have been a Seahawks fan my whole life, and most of those years—not including 2004 and the past three—have been quite disheartening. I grew up with a team that lost much more than it won. However, no matter how bad the season was, no matter how much crushing disappointment, there was always one thing to look forward to: Sports Action.
Sports Action was a form of betting through the Oregon Lottery that started in 1989, allowing everyday folks the opportunity to bet on NFL games without having to be in Las Vegas. The Oregon Lottery website states that, “[Sports Action] was the first successful sports wagering game offered by any United States lottery. Players wagered on the quarter and final game scores, as well as special events such as fumbles recovered, etc. The Sports Action was offered during pre-season, regular season, and the play-offs, including the championship game.”
I remember waking up early on Sunday mornings with my dad so we could go over our daily picks, going back and forth on who we chose and why. We never wagered more than $5 total, because it wasn’t about the money for us. Rather, it was about having something to cheer for after the Seahawks’ usual loss.
That all changed in 2005 when, according to the Oregon Lottery website, “a bill was introduced to amend Oregon Revised Statutes to remove the legislative direction to the Lottery to operate games based on the results of sporting events.” The site goes on to say that, “the Oregon Lottery stopped offering Sports Action…in January 2007.”
The biggest reason behind this legislative action was so that Oregon could host the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball tournaments. Another reason was that Oregon has wanted a Major League Baseball team but still has not been granted one, and it doesn’t look like one is coming anytime soon. As for the NCAA tournament, Oregon was granted the opportunity to host parts of the tournament here.
I remember when they made the announcement to discontinue Sports Action. At first, I was angry. But when I learned that we were going to get the NCAA Tournament, I began envisioning epic Sweet 16, Elite 8 and Final 4 showdowns. As a result of these illusions, the loss of Sports Action stung a little bit less.
However, I quickly realized that my illusions were actually delusions. This is because Oregon is yet to host anything other than the first weekend and is not slated to do so anytime in the future. Minus the rare upset or exciting game, the first weekend is usually chock-full of blowout wins. This is not what I envisioned when I was forced to give up my Sports Action.
Now, I know some may think it’s better to have something here rather than nothing at all—to that, I can only partially agree. The part of me that loves March Madness is glad to have something to do come tourney time, but the part that loves Sunday football (most of me) wishes we could get Sports Action back, or at the very least get some of the later rounds of the tournament.
After all, no team can stay on top forever. Eventually, I’ll need something to look forward to in the face of another crushing year of Seahawks disappointment.