Some of us connect with Cougar sports because we love the collegiate atmosphere. Many enjoy the social connections and camaraderie intrinsic to singing the fight song or making the trek over Highway 26. Still others are looking for inspiration, competition, inebriation, or validation. Regardless of what we may think the reasoning for our Cougar fandom may be, there is one inevitable realization that we should all make:
We're all insane.
It's cliché, but Einstein once defined insanity as "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." How perfectly does that describe our flag waving community? Every year we speculate over new incoming recruits or coaching changes. We discuss the merits of facility renovations and administrative decisions. With gusto, we throw ourselves into this big heap of mostly-out-of-our-control nonsense called Cougar Athletics, never wavering in our predictability. And yet...
We love it.
There's a perfectly good reason CougCenter exists as a community for Cougar fans. It's fun to watch, listen, analyze, speculate, and argue about the Cougs. There is serious entertainment value in a beer bet over how many points Will DiIorio will score in a game. We cheer for the wins, we sulk in the losses, and sometimes we just laugh at the ineptitude. We invest our resources - both financial and mental - with hopes of hitting the jackpot. The undeniable truth about Cougar Athletics is that the fans make the wheels turn.
Cougar fans come in all shapes and sizes, occupations and attitudes. Here are seven.
---The Apathetic Fan---
Fan Motto: "Go Cougs, I guess. Anyone seen Season 4 of Breaking Bad? It's on Netflix."
Beaten down by consistently painful losing seasons, The Apathetic Fan does all he can to maintain his own internal connection to the program. He purposefully switched television providers to DirecTV, just to avoid the urge to watch games on the Pac-12 network. He likely lives in an environment densely populated with rival fans, exacerbating his shelled loyalty and driving him into the sports version of The Hole. The Apathetic Fan finds this seclusion as his only pain relief; a dark place to rest his eyes after seeing the visitor score light up so brightly during his tenure as a student in the late 2000s. Since graduation, he has often considered driving to Pullman to catch a game, only to think "You know, I think there might be an earthquake. I better not risk being on the road."
---The Frenzied Freshman---
Fan Motto: "Connor Halliday is the best Cougar QB ever. EVER!"
The Frenzied Freshman is all that he thinks a fan should be: enthusiastic, loud, a little drunk, and painted crimson from the waist up. He displays unbridled optimism before the first game, only to crash face first into the brick wall that is Cougar Football. He is determined to make a lasting impression on the university - to start a tradition. He swears the "Palouse Patty Cake" is a surefire Martin Stadium hit, and not an ill-advised search result from Urban Dictionary.
The Frenzied Freshman begins drinking more heavily before each subsequent game, eventually missing an early afternoon kickoff by passing out on his futon while watching mid-day reruns of Family Guy. Not only does the Frenzied Freshman refer to Drew Bledsoe as "that wine guy", he thinks Bobo Brayton is a reality star on the TLC network.
---The Truest of True Fans---
Fan Motto: "Look, I've been to every game since '93. Trust me when I tell you that blitzing the linebacker was a bad idea."
The Truest of True Fans (TTF) never misses a game. He also never misses an opportunity to tell everyone how he never misses a game, while simultaneously bringing up the time that should have been left on the clock in the '98 Rose Bowl. Not only is the TTF passionate about the spelling of "gray", he once peed in a urinal next to Coach "Mikey" and provided some tips on how to attack the Oregon State secondary. The TTF correlates every important moment in his life to the corresponding Cougar football team ("My son was born three weeks after Gesser took us to the Rose Bowl.") Multiple rough patches in the TTF's marriage and career track may be attributed to his unwavering commitment to drive 600 miles five weekends a year. He considers anyone without season tickets to be morally inferior, to which no one rebuts because the TTF has the sweetest RV spot ever.
---The Angry Pessimist---
Fan Motto: "We're gonna 'Coug It'..."
Not only is the Angry Pessimist perpetually down in the dumps about Cougar athletics, he experiences an innate impulse to watch every minute. Friends and family ask him to stop watching after the fourth profanity laced outburst of each game, to which they are bombarded with throw pillows and WiiMotes.
The Angry Pessimist often exclaims that "people just don't get it! They don't get what being a Coug is like!" He refuses to elaborate any further, and is absolutely convinced that every referee (a) is being paid handsomely, (b) is a Husky, and/or (c) has a personal vendetta against him and his family. This is realized through "f***ing awful calls" that "screw the Cougs EVERY time."
---The "I Hate the Huskies" Guy---
Fan Motto: "Well, at least UW lost."
Despite never actually being emotionally or physically harmed by a University of Washington student, alumnus, or faculty member, the "I Hate the Huskies" Guy considers anyone remotely associated with UW to be pure evil. He takes it upon himself to initialize a "F*** the Huskies!" chant without notice, often in restaurants, grocery stores, or fitness centers. He frequents the CougFan message boards and takes considerable personal offense to even the slightest WSU joke. He refuses to socialize with anyone wearing purple.
---Delusional Optimist Dude---
Fan Motto: "This is the year it all comes together!"
The Delusional Optimist Dude is the fan we all wish we could be all the time. He considers any slight improvement in performance a "transformation" and "evidence of the evolving work ethic of the program." The Delusional Optimist Dude takes genuine solace in moral victories and thinks Paul Wulff was well on his way to building a contender. He scours the incoming recruiting class every year, searching for "diamonds in the rough". He settles on just 15 can't-miss prospects that were missed by every other FBS coaching staff. Easy teams on the non-conference schedule? "This sets up for a fast start!" Tough teams on the non-conference schedule? "This team will be battle-tested and ready for Pac-12 play!"
---Reasonable, Appropriate Expectation Cougar Fan---
Rumored to exist, but never confirmed.