I know this may be shocking to y’all, but sometimes, and I know it is probably rare, a Facebook post gets misinterpreted by some. I know, I can hear the collective “GASP” and a loud “Ta HELL you say!!” but yes it is true. It happened to me yesterday when I posted.
Ok y’all. Know that feeling you had today, watching the match, USA team dodging bullet after bullet, all along thinking they could pull it off, knowing it was possible until the very end? That is almost as magical as the feeling you get as a COUG!
I thought I would take this opportunity to explain how this is so..
It was fun yesterday, waiting for the match to start. At work there was a buzz, Facebook was a hummin, Twitter a tweeting, all with the same undercurrent message. “Come on guys, we know we are the underdogs, but we can do this!!” The confidence was high, but more importantly, there was a magic in the air.
People who had never kicked a ball or seen a soccer highlight were trying to explain being offside (I suck at that one). Non sports fans were watchin the clock getting ready for the game. People were just excited, and they had been since we qualified last week.
During the game (yes I know it’s a match, but that reminds me of tennis) there were screams, jumping up and down, groans and a group mind meld sending as much energy as possible to the beleaguered goalie.
Then after the game there was sadness, disappointment, but also an overarching feeling of pride for our guys who played WAY over their heads and clearly gave their all. Not one negative comment was made about our boys.
And that’s when it hit me, for that brief period of time, the entire country felt what it was like to be a COUG.
Husky more cynical of my friends replied with “Why because we lost?? Yeah that is like being a COUG” (I am paraphrasing of course.)
But no, this is NOT what I am discussing. It’s the Magic part we all felt!
Cougs world-wide will seek each other out if they see our emblem on any article of clothing
Time and again you hear stories from my fellow WSU alumni of a shouted “GO COUGS!” in an airport or train station in Asia, Africa and Australia. Shoot, the COUG flag was even seen at the World Cup in the stands of the first USA game in Brazil.
Then there is the COUG optimism. When we are in games like this, we know that no matter how “overmatched” we might be, we have a chance! It might be a snowball’s chance in hell, but it’s a chance, and we have pulled off these games more times than I can count.
We gather together to watch the game, and create the Cougar mind meld. From Hong Kong to Miami, just the COUGS I know, are sending every ounce of positive energy they have to our team. Add to it the rest of the Cougar nation doing the same, and you can almost see a Crimson and Gray aura surrounding the stadium.
How do I know this happens? Because I can tell you from experience, just like yesterday’s game in Brazil, that at the end of a close COUG game (win or lose) I am physically exhausted. Shoot sometimes it feels like I have ridden 100 miles by the time the clock ticks down to zero. It takes stamina to be a COUG.
And, when we play well, even when we lose, we take pride in our boys. Last year, the Oregon Ducks were killing us! Their coach put in the third string. Our guys kept working, and scored more than once on them. The Duck coach actually got mad that we didn’t give up. Son that is just not in our DNA. Watching that coach rant made me proud to be a WSU alumnus!
Don’t get me wrong, we aint perfect! When we blow a game we shoulda won, or worse yet flat give it away (Known as Couging it!) we get mad enough to bite nails! Children have run in fear from me on those days…. However…
We try, and when we fail we try again. We throw everything we’ve got into everything we do. Not just our football, but COUGS in general. I can’t tell you how many times a trick I learned in Pullman has saved the day at work or home. And there are no more loyal friends than those made in the tiny town in the middle of a thousand wheat fields.
I’ve had people shake their heads at me when I speak of Cougar magic, telling me its the same no matter what school you went to. Yet I have ridden with people wearing other college jerseys, never once have a heard Go Dawgs or Go Ducks or any other school for that matter. But with the COUG jersey, time and again I hear GO COUGS!!! The only other school I have seen come close is Oregon State! No wonder Michelle (an OSU Beaver!) and I get along so well!
I saw a post just today from a Freshman who said “I really had no idea why people thought going here was any different. After one year I get it, Once a COUG always a COUG!” But it doesn’t work for all. Many give up and leave, or go to another school. It just wasn’t a good fit for them. The cases of this I know personally, we were happy to see them go!
So, try to hold on to the feeling you had while you watched our team give it their all against Belgium. The hope, anxiety, trepidation, desire and joy you felt during the game, and the pride you felt after the game. Add it all up, and you approach what a COUG feels every single year! To quote Jimmy Buffett “Its a Magic kind of medicine no doctor can prescribe!”
Thanks for the great ride team USA!! And as always GO COUGS!!!