If football went away, vanished from the map, it would take me a week to notice. So imagine the stories my church buddy Rick tells me about his family's ardent support for the hapless Cougs, Washington State University. He said that they were masters at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, a thing they, apparently, do often enough their fans count on it. It's a standing joke. At one point, the Cougs were 120th. . . out of 120 in national rankings.
Rick is working in my city because he has specific skills in operating and maintaining main frame computers. A lot of states have moved toward networks, and ours will too. But that switcheroo is wildly expensive, and as a state we're slowly recovering from the recession. So what we have is what we will have for awhile.
Rick left a perfectly good wife behind in a nearby state, Washington, where she teaches and is the matriarch of a multi-generational family. She's doing a good job. Suzie and Rick met in college, Washington State, they married, reared two beautiful daughters, now in the process of creating their own families. The latest member: Baby Ellie, now a 2-year-old. Rick and Suzie have been going to Cougar's home games, flying, driving across the state four or five times during the football season. Grandma goes, so do the daughters and their husbands, and Baby Ellie. They've been doing it for about 30 years. Still ardent, still willful supporters, still laughing. All that flying is costly, even for a family who does well financially. One of Rick's son-in-laws, the veritable Ray, gave Rick a whole big bunch of air miles so he could get home more often.
So last Friday. The Cougs (3-9, 1-8 Pac 12) were on their home turf battling it out against the University of Washington, a fierce competitor and decades-long rival. The guys who ALWAYS won. Things went about as you would expect, and University of Washington was ahead at the end of the 3rd quarter by 18 points. Then the unthinkable happened. The Cougs recouped 18 points in the 4th quarter, leaving the teams tied. The Cougs took it one step further, and kicked a 27-yard field goal on their first overtime possession.
The Washington State Cougars, of all things, won The Apple Cup, 31-28.
Now there's a football game for you.