Inspirational Golpashin soaks up injured end to his Oregon Ducks career
LOS ANGELES - In Monday's Rose Bowl, Ramsen Golpashin will be in uniform and standing - or sitting - on the Oregon sideline.
It's a small victory for the popular senior offensive lineman.
Golpashin started against LSU in the Ducks' season opener, and had his senior season in front of him for the highly ranked Ducks. He was going to be part of something special.
But in a practice before the Ducks played Missouri State on Sept. 17, Golpashin crumpled to the ground. A teammate fell on his left leg.
"You usually get rolled up on here or there and you know you'll be fine," he says. That time, it felt "unfamiliar" and he knew "it's pretty bad."
The result: torn anterior cruciate ligament, surgery, out for the year.
The first two weeks after the injury were "pretty depressing," says Golpashin, a 6-4, 275-pound guard from Saugus, Calif.
The Ducks, curiously, never officially revealed that Golpashin was out for the year, leaving the media and everybody else to just guess the player's status.
But, Golpashin could be seen hobbling along with crutches. The point is he stopped feeling sorry for himself.
"I realized you can't sit and dwell on something you can't fix," he says.
"After I got hurt, I tried not to disappear. I stuck around, went to workouts with (teammates), tried to go to as many meetings and practices as I could, was at all the games. I tried to help any way I could, tried to stay involved somehow."
He was fully dressed in UO uniform for Senior Day, Nov. 26 against Oregon State. Later, it was announced that Golpashin had been named one of two "most inspirational" players by teammates - the other being safety Eddie Pleasant.
"I was just happy because it's something your teammates vote on, it's a sign of respect," he says. "You play this game to try to earn respect. It was good to see your teammates care about you and hold you in that type of regard."
A walk-on who earned a scholarship and played a key backup role in 2010, Golpashin started against LSU, but committed some penalties. The UO coaches scrambled to find the right combination on the offensive line.
Still, it was an enjoyable time for Golpashin in and around the Cowboys Classic game.
"Even though we lost that game, it was the funnest time I had playing football," he says. "Me and Darrion Weems were really excited, playing next to each other. We had fun in the locker room before the game, then went out there ... it's unfortunate we lost, but it's still a great memory to have."
Golpashin finished his undergrad in business in June and plans to continue working on his masters of Business Administration until next December; he'd like to get into sports management or operations. In the meantime, he still gets to enjoy the Rose Bowl with his teammates. His knee is still sore and weak, but it's getting better.
"It's unfortunate how my senior year had to go," he says. "It's good to spend your last week of football here. Being back home. I'm soaking in the experience."