For regular readers of this weekly space, I’ll start with some personal news: the baby is still not here.
We’ve entered that phase where it just looks like it’s going to fall out of my wife’s belly any minute, so we’ve taken to the wives’ tales of long walks, spicy foods, etc. Last night, our long walk led us to our favorite bar for trivia night, where our Team Battlecat, defending pub champs, put our title belt on the line. We were on fire. We ended up finishing with 83/84 questions correct.
And we took 2nd.
What? We missed one question the entire night and didn’t win? And the couple that did win was a couple in their fifties. How did they know 50 Cent lyrics? They’ve never seen a Magic: The Gathering card. I can’t even tell you how incensed I was the rest of the evening. We had lost to Colorado all over again. Team Battlecat had met its nemesis. It was Henry and Nancy, the nice couple in the corner. And I now hate those nice people so much.
Actually this ties in to our discussions on this site throughout the week, about whether this Cougar team can get to six wins or not. Many are penciling in Oregon State, Cal, Arizona State, Utah, etc. I think our fan base has taken the very common position of being confident in how WSU has been playing and downplay any successes our opponents have had this year. I miss that. Even if we don’t win those games, how great is it to be able to attempt to pencil in wins again? But back to reality, those Oregon State and Utah wins could be tough; they’re both ranked higher than the Auburn team that beat us in Football Outsiders’ F/+ system, meaning they’re objectively better than a team that beat us….and objectively better than us. Is it possible we bring some home field magic and knock off both teams and Cal on the road? Of course it’s possible. I’m just not ready to count anybody out. The Cougs’ version of Henry and Nancy is just waiting to crush our dreams and they wear black helmets; let’s hope we’re ready to get all 84 answers right.
Too much of a stretch in analogy? Yeah, probably. I drank last night, sorry.
But since we had planned on having a newborn by now, we hadn’t bothered buying tickets for the Seattle Game. And it appears the rest of the west side is having the same newborn because none of you have bought tickets, either.
I’ll just get it out of the way, because I don’t think it’s a secret: I loathe the Seattle Game. I think it’s hard enough to draw alums back to Pullman on a regular basis and it becomes virtually impossible when WSU rewards that indifference by giving Seattle what is usually the best game on the schedule. The Seattle Game has become WSU’s de-facto Homecoming game and that should make us all feel bad. WSU’s coaches and players prepare too much and work too hard to have to give up a home game and travel to play in front of what is usually a lackluster crowd, whether tickets sell well or not (usually not). While I’m generalizing, the game seems to be marketed towards alums who are parents and would like to take their young kids to the game and to twenty-something’s who haven’t been back to Pullman since their last day of class and their seven hours of drinking at Cowgirls that afternoon will keep them from understanding anything happening on the field in lieu of wanting to fight that guy in the rival frat that’s sitting two sections over. Neither of these groups cater to providing a home-field advantage for a football team.
And now those people aren’t even going to the game, as evidenced by the 35,000 tickets sold. 35,000 tickets for a 3-1 team that knocked off USC and is playing a top-5 team. This is THE game you asked for, Seattle. And we’re failing the school miserably. Adding to the disappointing ticket sales are the dramatically scaled back calendar of "Seattle Week" events and you wonder why we haven’t killed this game already. WSU has dropped more than $100M into its football program through infrastructure improvements at Martin Stadium and Seattle has continually shown its indifference to the best presentation the school can offer. Time to cut bait and head back to Pullman full-time.
And while I’m here ranting, don’t think you’re getting out of this unscathed, Pullman. You’re the reason Jim Sterk started flirting with Seattle in the first place. You’ve done virtually nothing over the past thirty years to make people want to come back and visit. In order for me to attend a game, I have to reserve a hotel room months in advance; and if I am lucky enough to get one of the few rooms that have been updated since 1986, I’m hit with a $200/night charge with a two-night minimum. Add the $100 in gas to drive to Pullman and I’m already out $500 every game before I’ve bought one calzone from Sellas, one t-shirt from Crimson & Gray or one beer from The Coug (ok, several beers from The Coug). When I bitch about how alums never come back to Pullman anymore and have become die-hard Joe Seattlegames, the difficulty of dealing with Pullman is always the #1, #2 and #3 excuse I hear. And they’re right, Pullman. You have a lot of work to do. Step one: take the flipping dual-track tape recorders out of your hotel rooms. Or at least supply us with some sweet casettes.
I really can’t decide whether I want to recommend all the fence-sitters to go to the game because your team needs you or whether to recommend to sit it out because if it starts losing money, we might be able to let this stupid game off life support and move back to Pullman full-time. I suppose I should recommend you go to the game, but in turn you should finally make good on all your bluster about "meaning to get to Pullman for a game" and actually do it. If not this year, next year’s schedule is probably the best home slate in the history of Martin Stadium. I know you want your kids to grow up to become Coug fans; show them the stadium you fell in love with, not the makeshift one that’s available in SoDo. Twenty-somethings, which memory would you rather have: the time you got drunk all day in a paper company’s parking lot before passing out at the Clink or renting an RV with your friends and driving back to re-live your glory days for an entire weekend? Go to this stupid game on Saturday. I think the team deserves your attendance. But make a commitment to actually follow through on your threat to see a game in Pullman so that we don’t ever have to do Seattle anymore.
In the meantime, I need to spend the rest of the week studying the names of Mormon Angels. Henry and Nancy need to pay next week.
Go Cougs (Take Stanford and give the points).