The Washington State football season opener against BYU is drawing near, and the long wait for Mike Leach on the sidelines in full-Cougar gear is nearly over. The Leach era brings promise of a turnaround for WSU football. This means that we may return to a time when not every single victory is so monumental that we remember every part of it. A road victory over Oregon State may no longer be the defining moment of the season.
As fans, especially as WSU fans, it's not always the chance at a championship or major bowl game that brings us back year after year. It may be something like the atmosphere of the stadium, the tailgating, or the chance to see something spectacular happen (like Connor Halliday's performance against ASU a year ago). While we often talk about our memories from some of the greatest seasons, it is our recollections from random Saturdays in forgettable campaigns that make our own fandom unique.
For this exercise, I want you guys to tell us your favorite random WSU football memory. Let's leave out the "historic" WSU seasons, pretty much any season where the Cougs went to a bowl game. Additionally, we'll leave out Apple Cups. There are plenty of opportunities to tell stories from legendary years and victories over UW. This gives you the chance to tell a story that makes your experience different from the next Coug fan.
This can be a memory from the field or it can be the situation surrounding the game that makes it special for you. Did you watch it with someone important? Did you have an odd interaction at the tailgate or in the stands? Did one of your friends make a fool of themself? Whatever makes it your favorite memory, let us know.
I'll start it off after the jump with my favorite random WSU Football memory. Tell us your stories in the comments!
If you have any other stories from those bowl seasons or from WSU in general, be sure to e-mail them to Mark (firstname.lastname@example.org) and you might see it posted on the front page!
Spring semester 2007 was my last in Pullman, but Fall 2007 was my last as an enrolled student at WSU. During that time I was living with my parents and doing my student teaching at Selah High School (near Yakima). I had already decided I didn't want to be a high school teacher, but figured it would be a huge waste of time not to complete my teaching program and get my certification.
Going through student teaching knowing it is not what you want to do for a career is not something I would recommend. It is a difficult time for anyone, but lacking the desire to teach makes it just a little bit harder. In a different job, you might have the opportunity to check out for a while, but not when you are in charge of teaching 120 impressionable high school students. I still had to show up, smile, and make those kids learn.
Add to that the fact that I was living with my parents after living on my own in Pullman for four years, and I would not put the fall months of 2007 among my favorite of all-time.
My sanity was somewhat saved by my weekends. My girlfriend was living in Seattle and I had a Sports Pass. So I would alternate weekends driving west or east. Don't tell my lady, but the best of those weekends were when I went east for Cougar Football.
Coming into the game against UCLA, the Cougs were in desperate need of a win. They had started the Pac-10 with four consecutive losses and a number of blowouts. I probably cared more about WSU getting the win in this game more than any other that season, including the Apple Cup, and it had nothing to do with bowl chances or breaking a losing streak.
My master teacher during student teaching was a UCLA-alum. If that conjures up thoughts in your head of a certain SBN Bruin site, then you have a pretty accurate depiction of him. Every day I heard about Bruin football. How superior it has been and should be. How Karl Dorrell was ruining everything and needed to be fired. And finally, how WSU was inferior in every way to the great UCLA.
I often pointed out the recent success WSU had against the Bruins (including the 37-15 thumping in the Rose Bowl the year before) and threw out the fact that WSU had won a Pac-10 title more recently than UCLA. None of this mattered.
So I wanted that UCLA game bad. I wanted to be able to hold that over his head for the rest of my student teaching time. Add in that my girlfriend and sister were also coming over to Pullman with me and it was Halloween, and the recipe for an excellent weekend was there.
The game played out like so many did in Martin Stadium during my college days. The Cougs had little trouble driving up and down the field, but couldn't capitalize in the red zone. This left them clinging to a narrow lead in the fourth and much of the crowd expecting the worst.
But this time was different. WSU scored two late touchdowns, including what may have been Dwight Tardy's defining moment as a Coug, and the final score indicated the dominance. 27-7, WSU.
My sister desperately wanted to rush the field. I thought it stupid. But I have a hard time saying no to my sister, and we jumped the rail with a surprising number of WSU students. Even though UCLA wasn't ranked, it was still a great moment to share with Stephanie and I am glad we did it.
The celebration spilled over into the night, as I donned a vodka bottle costume (which instantly makes you the life of the party). It was a perfect weekend. A perfect weekend capped beautifully as I walked into the classroom on Monday morning with my head held high and declared to all the students that in a battle of their teachers' alma maters, mine had won a decisive victory.