The Apple Cup and Snow always means magic

You know, I can’t help but get a bit nostalgic when the Saturday before Thanksgiving hits.  From the year I started in WSU, 1982, until very recently, this was the day of the Apple Cup.  That legendary game between the WSU Cougars and those other guys who have a school on the lake.

I have many memories of Apple Cups past, and yep, we have lost a lot more than we have one over the years.  But whenever I think of the Apple Cup, my most vivid memory was 29 years ago, 1985, when Seattle came to a standstill due to snow, and the Cougar Band was in the middle of it. Continue reading “The Apple Cup and Snow always means magic”

The COUG Jersey

 

Now you may or may not have noticed over some of my post, but many of my pictures while riding I am wearing the same bike jersey.  image

 

Eric and Dad at the starting line of Flying Wheels 2009
Eric and Dad at the starting line of Flying Wheels 2009

imageflying wheels

 

 

Now trust me this is NOT because I am a cheap bastard and only own one bike shirt.  Ask my wife how many get washed each week lately! (She washes I fold).  But this is the COUG jersey!

 

Yep, for those who may not know, that is short for the Washington State University Cougars.  The premier 4 year college in Washington.  Now there may be some who think the number one school is that glorified Community College on a lake in Seattle.  But those of us who know better know the best Is in a small town called Pullman, sitting on the border between Washington and Idaho.

 

I attended the school in the 80’s.  When I applied and was accepted, I had no idea what an amazing place I was going to.

 

There is just something about being a COUG.  We are not a rich school, like the CC in Seattle or the slimy green team in Eugene Oregon.  We have to fight and earn every dollar we get for the school.  Plus, when recruiting, the wheat fields of the mighty Palouse are not as exciting as the beaches of California, the girls and sun of the Arizona schools, or even the city of Seattle.  Location wise we are probably the arm pit of the Pac !2 (though maybe Utah takes that prize now).

 

Because of our location, it may not be the first choice for an athlete to go to.  Which means the ones we get want to be there.  They generally have more heart and pure joy of the game (in my opinion) than other schools.  But since we don’t usually (Drew Bledsoe, Mark Rypien, and Marcus Trufant not withstanding) get the highest caliber, guaranteed to go to the NFL players, we have to work harder.

 

Sometimes, like last November, this results in wins in the Apple Cup (our game with the cross-state rivals:

 

COUGS WIN!
COUGS WIN!

But other times, we can go YEARS without brining this trophy home:

 

Holding the Apple Cup!
Holding the Apple Cup!

But we never give up!  Its part of the bond that ties us all together!  Anyone can be a Husky fan, but it takes intestinal fortitude to be a COUG!  We’ve also coined the term for completely falling apart and losing a game we should have won.  That would be to COUG IT!  And we do it well….

 

HOWEVER, None of that stops us from being the loudest, the most exuberant, and in my case, the cockiest fans anywhere!  I don’t care if we haven’t won a game all season, I am fired up before the Apple Cup!

 

Game Faces!
Game Faces!

But what does all this have to do with the Jersey?  Well, the truly best part, the most magical, and in my opinion unique part of being a COUG is that you will find us world-wide!  And if one COUG sees another, whether at an airport, a wedding, a funeral, a business meeting, climbing a mountain or, yep, riding a bike, they will yell GO COUGS!  Its amazing!  I can be at the point of exhaustion, and I will hear someone yell it!  It’s good for another 20 miles, and I hear it EVERY time I wear it!

 

I NEVER hear anyone yell go Huskies (the glorified community college’s mascot!) Now my wife and I will yell GO BEAVS, (she went to Oregon State) but it just doesn’t happen aside from us.

 

YEP, I ride with the WSU to show pride in my school, to give and receive GO COUGS! in my travels, share high 5’s and Pullman stories.  I do it to experience the true joy and magic of being a COUG!  And I will guarantee I will be wearing that shirt (or a new one when this one falls apart) on every big ride I go on!

 

GO COUGS!!!

 

 

 

 

 

Go Cougs
Go Cougs (Photo credit: dklimke)

 

 

 

 

Ain’t as Good as I Once Was!

Just as an FYI this has nothing to do with biking, but it is a follow-up to my “Do as I Say Not as I Do” post from yesterday!

I am also, by the way, Not a big country and western music fan.  One exception though, is the Tobie Keith Song “As Good as I Once Was.”  The first line of the chorus is “I aint as good as I once was, I got a few years on me now” and this by far sums up my last night.

I am a Washington State University Alumni, GO COUGS!  Last night in Seattle the Cougar Flag was flying over the waterfront for an evening with our Coach Mike Leach!

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Mike Leach signing autographs at my table
Mike Leach signing autographs at my table

It was a night with over a thousand of my fellow COUGS, all having a great dinner,

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a silent auction, and drinking free Miller Light or bad Merlot!  And this is where I am SO not the same as I was in my prime!  In the old days, I could have done this, gone out afterwards, closed another bar, AND ended up having breakfast at 230 AM at Denny’s!  Not anymore.  The bad Merlot and 2 deserts (yep screwed up the Tony Diet!) made me want to head home and just crash.  I was wiped.  This morning, all I wanted was Powerade and a Ham and Cheddar breakfast Sandwich from Starbucks.  Yep, a bit hungover…First time in a while!

However, before the whole heading home and sleeping, I had one helluva night!

I hung out with Butch Cougar!

Game Faces!
Game Faces!

My Autograph seeking helper!

Got a helmet autographed (with the help of a cute 20 something lady at the table who said (and I quote here) “I just had my boobs done and we unwrapped them today!”  Well using these, she got my helmet autographed by Coach Leach AND Jason Gesser!  (If I were them I would be MUCH more willing to do autographs for her than for me!)

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And finally not only got to see, but to hold the Apple Cup Trophy!  Awarded to the team that wins our annual rivalry game, known as the Apple Cup,

COUGS WIN!
COUGS WIN 2013 Applecup!

against the hated Fuskies! (OK the UW Huskies actually!)  Needless to say we WON this year!

Holding the Apple Cup!
Holding the Apple Cup!
Outside Sloppy Joes in Key West!
Outside Sloppy Joes in Key West!

All this while hanging out with my buddy Scott (the Mudsucker), friends since we met at WSU back in ’82 when we were freshman!

I am recovering today, and the Chilly Hilly is tomorrow, No worries there I will be back to normal tomorrow!  So while it is true, I aint as good as I once was, it is also true that I’m as good ONCE as I ever was!  Go Cougs!