It’s perfectly natural for a football fan to be pissed off after their team loses a game. People say things, throw things, and drink things they don’t really mean to - it’s part of being a college football fan. When your team does so in embarrassing and epic fashion, as the Oregon Ducks did in their highly-anticipated Thursday night season opener against Boise State, the emotions run even higher. High enough, even, for one Oregon graduate to engage in that most formal of protests: the strongly-worded letter.
Long favored by the elderly and the mentally ill to express their displeasure at…well, everything, the strongly-worded letter is a uniquely personal way to lodge a complaint against a person, a company, or, in this case, the Oregon Ducks’ pitiful performace several weeks ago in Boise. Usually, the letter in question is passed around and laughed at by its recipients (I worked in customer service for years, trust me on this). Occasionally, the sender might even get a form letter response. Oregon fan Tony Seminary received something slightly different - a personal check from Ducks coach Chip Kelly.
Seminary was so appalled by his alma mater’s performance in Boise, he composed a formal business invoice requesting reimbursement for his trip from Portland to Boise to see the Ducks take on Boise State. EDSBS, in a surprising and impressive fit of journalistic awesomeness, heard about the story and tracked Seminary down for verification:
[EDSBS] called Seminary, who runs an IT company in the Portland area. He happily confirmed the story.
“I wasn’t happy with the team’s performance, and it just left a bad taste in my mouth. I think most of the Duck contingent felt the same way, and that was even before the post-game shennanigans. I just felt like I needed to reach out to Coach Kelly and give him my two cents about how I felt about the performance.”
Kelly tracked down Seminary, asked for his address, and days later Seminary had a personal check from Kelly in his mailbox.
Too often we rip coaches for being uncaring, unfeeling a$$holes towards the media, their fans, and even their players. The fact Kelly would take the time to acknowledge Seminary’s letter is rare enough; the fact he cares enough about his performance and his fans to reimburse Seminary shows a level of responsibility that most people in modern-day athletics on any level aren’t willing to take.