My name is Travis Crawford and I am a WSU Cougar fan and alumnus. We've met before, not face to face, but certainly more than a few times. You see, I've been loyal to a fault and been to every home game, Seattle games included, since 2004 when I was a frosh stationed in Stephenson South. I have seen every home game every one of you guys has played and loyally followed to Seattle at extra expense each year without so much as a single thought of doing anything else. I felt as a fan that it was expected of me to show support and go that extra mile, because you guys out on the field couldn't just quit. Unfortunately, the last few years have shown that it is not only entirely possible for you guys to quit, but that it has become habit whenever something starts to turn even a little bit. To put it simply, that's unacceptable.
I'm not your coach and you couldn't pick me out of a crowd if you had to, but I've been there suffering with you and those that preceded you for 7+ years now. There are Cougs I've been fortunate enough to meet that have been doing the same for decades. The tie that binds being that we, and so many others, find a way to be optimistic and believe that you men can go out on that field and give us something to be proud of each Saturday for 12 weeks in the fall. So far this season we have been given a fair amount of lip service from you saying you can win. So far this season what we have seen is a team that can't hold it together when the going gets a little tough. So far this season we have seen a team that is more interested in coming up with excuses for why they couldn't or shouldn't win than it is in actually going out there and winning.
You may be wondering just who in the hell I am to call you out and just what in the hell I could know about adversity. Well let's talk about that. In my time as a student I worked to put myself through with a job where I had to take all the hours I could get to keep food on my table, I then had to study and succeed because I didn't have any support from anyone because my family couldn't afford it. Since graduating in 2009 I've been hired, laid off, lived on a friend's couch for 8 months and had to take back that same job I had during school just to keep afloat. It hasn't been easy and it isn't getting any easier since I'm now training to join the Marine Corps.
I'm not here to lecture you about how difficult my challenges have been, just know that some of us out here know what real adversity looks like and it doesn't look a damn thing like a botched play on any football field. We don't get to have excuses if we can't pay our bills, feed ourselves, or make rent. There are no excuses for the sub-par play and attitude that we have been subjected to as fans for far too long. We want to love and support our Cougs, it's why we show up on Saturday, it's why we have waved a flag on Gameday every Saturday for nearly 10 years now, it's why we donate to build you new facilities and to get you premier coaching, that we might look forward to a better brighter tomorrow.
What have we gotten so far? A team that wants to whine about playing in Seattle, a team that hangs its head when they give up a big play despite all the good they've otherwise done, a team that caves at the very sight of something looking a little difficult or challenging. We deserve a hell of a lot better than that, because we've answered the bell. We've come out to Martin, we paid for that addition and the ones that preceded it, and damn it we wave the flag even when everyone else would tell us to go home because we can't play quality football. Too long we have carried the torch of representation for this university and it is time that you men, that we have asked to represent us, go out there and demand some respect.
We're all Cougars, we all share that bond, and we all love the taste of success. We've stepped to the plate for you and will continue to do so, but it's time you stepped up and earned it on the field. Who cares where we play an opponent? A brick wall is a brick wall no matter where it is and you should be ready to run through the damn thing. There' s 8 games left, so check yourselves and find your grit. When you suit up against Oregon hit someone harder than you have ever hit anyone in your life. Take a shot, give a shot, and if you go down get the hell up and give it better than you got it. The real world, where us fans have to live, will knock you on your ass harder and faster than anyone on a football field. You have the chance now to learn to overcome that on a field where a game is played, so do it. We'll be in the stands to help as much as we can when the going gets rough. That's all we can do after the money is spent and the seats are filled. Play for us, for the flag we wave for you, and yourselves above all and the wins will come.
We'll see you in Seattle. Make us proud.