When it was all said and done and the kick was through and the Cougars victorious, it was the end of an era I'll cherish forever. Since my freshman year in 2004 I have attended every Cougar Football home game and every Seattle game as well. All tallied together that's 56 games over the course of the last 9 seasons over 8 years. It was emotional, bittersweet and unbelievable. Just like Cougcenter's own, Brian Floyd, it was my last home game for awhile since I'm joining the military and will be leaving Pullman after 8 years of clinging to hope, cheering the Cougs, and loving my school and my team.
There's a number of people that have made my attendance streak possible, and there are just a lot of days where I got lucky as hell to not have to work, or to get a late start time, or something for it all to work out. Yesterday was one of those days, and the seats that I shared with my friend Geoff were some of the very best I've ever had the privilege to experience. One of the most influential people in the course of this attendance streak has been none other than Mike Marlow of the Cougar Athletic Fund. If you don't know him, he's Bill Moos' right hand man, brought here from Oregon after Moos took over.
I have been fortunate to get to know Mike a little bit over the last few years. He actually came to WSU about a week after I was laid off from my first post-WSU job. Being a little brave, naive, or just downright dumb I actually scheduled a meeting with Bill Moos through his secretary so I could tell him about myself and maybe drum up work with the Athletic Department. Mr. Moos not only saw me and spoke with me for a good 30 minutes, but also sent me to Mike and told me to keep in touch and work with him to maybe come on board. Obviously the job never materialized, but what did was a relationship with one of the best guys in the business. He heard me out, appreciated my passion and never once gave me any less time or attention than he would have a million dollar donor. I remained unemployed through the next 8 months. That meant that the entire 2010 season I had no money, was living on a buddy's couch, and damn sure couldn't afford to attend games. Mike graciously offered me tickets free of charge a number of times understanding that my streak, something I was and am incredibly proud of, would have come to an end otherwise. I don't know what, if any, strings he had to pull to make that happen for me, but I have appreciated it immensely.
Since finding employment and getting rolling again Mike and I have stayed in contact, and he has helped me where he could in any way possible. When he heard I was joining the military and that my ship-date was set Mike offered to make me a guest in the Club level, to experience our new facilities first-hand at any game of my choosing. There was of course only one choice, the game you saw last night, the 105th Apple Cup. From 109 row C seats 5/6 my friend Geoff and I were able to cheer on our Cougs, meet some great Cougs, and share in the biggest comeback in Apple Cup history. It was amazing to say the least, and when the kick from Coons missed I lost it. It's been few and far between when I've been able to blow my voice out, but last night I got to. When Furney connected in OT to finish the job I lost it again, but in a mad combination of joyous laughter and tears. This was it, game 56 in a row. As before there would be no bowl game, no trip to some sunny location over Christmas, but there would also never be any victory sweeter out of those games I got to attend.
When I got home I cried again because the finality of it all hit me. It was overwhelming. Knowing you're leaving a place you love, and actually experiencing some of the final moments of it are completely different things. It has been a hell of a ride, I've gotten to see some great games, great plays, and great players. I've had the fortune to get to know some absolutely wonderful Cougs, some in the stands, and some that work behind the scenes so we can build the program we all so desperately want. For the fans I've known and shared in victory and defeat with, thank you. You've made it unbelievable to go to Martin and cheer on our Cougs, even in the lean times. For the guys like President Floyd, Bill Moos, Mike Marlow, and all the staff I have likely annoyed and come to know thank you for doing the work you do. Soon our team and our university will be on the rise and everyone will see what makes being a Coug so special. Finally, to our team, thank you for all the Saturdays, a year's worth and then some, where I got to watch you. It wasn't always easy or particularly fun, but last night you did what you had to and sent your seniors and myself out with a bang. I'll never forget it.
Travis Crawford WSU Class of 2009