I have kind of been on a roll here with my posts about being a Washington State University Cougar. Go COUGS! I thought, though, I should explain why I am being inspired to write so many of these lately. A week from Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is the Applecup.
This is our annual rivalry game. There is no time during the rest of the year that the Crimson and Gray blood of my COUG faithful pumps harder.
Winning this game can save an otherwise dismal season (as it did last year).
Losing this game can put a taint on an otherwise perfect record, one that won’t be forgotten ever. I look forward to it every year, and I get louder than normal the week before hand. When we win, Husky fans avoid me like the plague at work. When we lose, I am already fired up for next year.
Today, though, during my lunch time walk, I realized something. This game was my first introduction to what it meant to be a COUG!
We had had a Lousy football season. The only game we won was against one of the Montana schools. Meanwhile our counterparts in Seattle were tearing up the then Pac 10. They were destined for the Rose Bowl. All they had to do was win the beat the lowly Cougars of Washington State.
Shoot how hard could that be? Looking back through the records, they had won 8 in a row. No worries! Plus they had a field goal kicker, Chuck Nelson, who was perfect for the season, 30 consecutive kicks made.
Now I am not proud to say I was not at this game. Being a freshman, without a car, the only ride I could find home for Thanksgiving break left the night before the game.(This was back when the game was played, every year, on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, when it SHOULD be played) Not only did I miss the game in person, I missed out on a Gordon Lightfoot concert with a gorgeous brunette! (Jenna!)
But I digress. I had the game on TV, and the first thing I see is SNOW! I thought to myself, hmm, it never snows in Seattle. This could be good! I settled down to watch. We were doing better than anyone expected, with about 4 minutes to go, it was 21 – 20 (Dawgs ahead) and the Chuckster lined up for a field goal. The WHOLE game, the announcers were gushing over him. This was only a 33 yarder. A forgone conclusion that the score would be 24 – 20. The kick was up and it missed! Wide Right!
And, ok I know this will sound weird, but a warmth came over my body! I had, for the first time, experienced what it was to be a COUG! The magic flowed through me! Our guys were fired up! Wearing shirt sleeves, we weren’t feeling the cold! The Dawgs, forgive me, looked liked kicked puppies, shivering next to their heaters.
We scored a field goal, and held them off, winning 23 -20! Knocked them clean out of the Rose Bowl! That’s what it means to be a COUG. The Goal posts came down and the party went on throughout the nighT
I learned that day 2e are invincible in the snow! There is NO game we can’t win and NO team we can’t beat. That single game was a turning point for me personally, its what started the transformation of this:
And this, ladies and gents, is why, during the ups and downs, long losing streaks, and crappy performances that can occur I have never once considered giving up on the COUGS and looking for a new team. We have pride in our school and ourselves, when we run into each other anywhere in the world, we have an instant friend, we can drink a bar clean out of beer, and, on days like the one above, we have a special magic than can be touched!
Bring on the DAWGS! GO COUGS!