As if it was ever in doubt, the Washington State flag flew once again this week despite the threats/jokes about preventing Cougar fans from carrying on the tradition in hostile territory. For the first time, Gameday visited Seattle -- a well-deserved reward for a solid start to the season. Yet much of the talk in the week leading up to Gameday centered around whether the streak -- 138 Gameday appearances in a row -- would continue. It was all pretty silly.
It was sort of a weird faux-controversy, with Chris Fowler going so far as to say that yes, the Wazzu flag would be protected. And boy was it protected:
That's the Wazzu flag arriving in style, police escort and all. Gameday gave the flag a grand entrance, which was a neat touch on the Huskies day in the spotlight. The flag even got a nice limo ride
The streak continued -- now at 139 consecutive appearances -- and Washington got to host its very first Gameday. It was all sort of cool for both fanbases for quite a few reasons.
It's been interesting to watch the evolution of the flag and Gameday -- from a small tradition started 10 years ago to what's become a big part of each week's show. Fans wake up to spot the Wazzu flag each week and it's become sort of a Where's Waldo event. Not just fans of the Cougars, mind you, but college football fans in general.
Along the way, the Gameday crew and hosts have embraced the Washington State flag and tradition of waving the flag. The university has done the same, creating a campaign around Wave the Flag. It's been a true grassroots effort, organized by a group of fans, that's evolved into something much bigger.
And those fears about Washington State trying to hijack Gameday from the Huskies, or clashes between the groups of fans? All overblown. The Washington State flag got its moment and grand entrance, then things were as they normally are -- Gameday moving on and the flag waving in the background as it always does. This was Washington's moment -- a moment the Huskies have earned -- and the fans rose to the occasion while packing Red Square.
Seeing Gameday so close, just across the state and at a rival school, should just increase WSU fans' appetites for getting the show to Pullman. The Cougars are going to have to earn it, though, and it'll be that much sweeter when Gameday does visit Pullman. It's going to happen, but watching Gameday in Seattle and seeing the flag make a big entrance stuck me.
Washington State fans have created something amazing with the flag -- something unique; a homegrown tradition that may seem small in the scheme of things but has become so much more. What started as a campaign to bring Gameday to Pullman has endured difficult seasons while becoming a rallying point for fans around the world.
The streak lives, and will continue to live. The flag tradition is just another reason Washington State fans are an amazing bunch. Job well done, Wazzu fans. And you too, Washington fans.