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'If I Could Just Say A Few Words ... I'd Be A Better Public Speaker' - Hello, CougCenter!

It's an awkward thing to put together a post that introduces yourself to people you've been yelling at over the Internet for such a long time, but here we are. Let's just jump past all the small talk and posturing and get to why I'm really here: My name is Kyle Sherwood, you have all been stealing my jokes for years and joining CougCenter was my only option to get them back.

Reading CougCenter and interacting with the community here is one of my favorite parts of the day, so I am very flattered to be joining the team, although the thought has not escaped me that I was asked to contribute in order to justify the exorbitant amount of bandwidth I take up in the comment sections.

My Cougar fandom stretches back fifteen years to the fall of 1997, my freshman year of college. I wish I could say I was a born-and-bred Coug like my children will be, but growing up in Bellingham in the 80s and 90s, I generally rooted for whichever team was better at the time, and therefore would have the cooler t-shirts at Mervyn's. You can rest assured, however, that all pictures and negatives of me wearing a "Miami's #1....NOT" shirt circa 1992 have since been destroyed.

Going to WSU was actually kind of a last minute thing for me. After graduating high school, I was going to Indiana University on scholarship, which was subsequently rescinded after I let it slip that I was not actually going to major in Music (I played the hell out of that cowbell), which left me with choosing from the other two schools where I was accepted: UW and WSU. My best friend was also heading to WSU and I had aspirations of being the next Dan Patrick, so in less than a span of a week or two, I had de-enrolled from Indiana, attended "Alive," joined a fraternity and moved to Pullman. I think I may have literally been the last freshman to enroll in classes that fall. My parents tried to get me to join the marching band, but I lasted less than one practice before I realized that I needed to focus more on beer and girls.

It was not hard at all for me to fall in love with Cougar Football, as my very first game was arguably the best game ever played in Martin Stadium: our 1997 battle with UCLA. I remember everything about that game. The heat; heckling Skip Hicks to the point of him showing me which of his fingers was his favorite; Ryan Leaf's crazy Starter hat (I think the kids call them snap-backs now); LeJuan Gibbons being called for Pass Interference three times; Ryan to Nian; the giant guy on Rally Squad doing 37 push-ups and the best one: Hicks saying "No Mas" and Leon Bender stuffing his back-up on 4th and Goal to win the game.

I've been writing about the Cougs off-and-on (mostly "off") since 2004. The great guys at offered me an opportunity to do a weekly predictions column I called "Ramble On!", which over the years morphed into a column about relationship advice and the Muppet Babies (not always mutually exclusive). Coming back into the blogosphere now will be much more difficult as the Pac-12 doesn't have easy targets like Buddy Teevens and Dirk Koetter anymore, and Alex Brink's Space Pajamas have been retired for seven years, but I look forward to the challenge. But since I grew up a Hoosier fan, basketball is my first love. Some of you may have also seen my drunken rants at Witches of Eastman, a blog I started in 2008 after reading a serious post on a message board asking "Why aren't we running more alley-oop plays to Casto?" I did a pretty good job of keeping it up for a couple years, but I gradually spent more and more time here at CougCenter to the point where I had nothing new left to write about , which brings me here full-time.

Other things I'm a fan of and you will see pop up in my posts when necessary: Captain Morgan Private Stock, my bulldog Lillian (mascot of the B-Lot), The Simpsons, Neil Diamond, M.A.S.K., my wonderful wife (and the art of being a mediocre husband), the soundtrack of Ghostbusters II, incoherent arguments in Section 26, Diamond Knot IPA, tailgating with bacon in said B-Lot, Battlestar Galactica, the Charlie-Chaser at Rancho Viejo, Bruce Campbell, the return of the Seattle Supersonics and "Whispers of Quiet Conversation": my Toto Tribute Band.

So now I'm here. I am humbled by the opportunity my friends at CougCenter have given me and look forward to bringing my voice to the table, however belligerent. The downside of my new lack of anonymity guarantees that I will NOT be telling my Favorite WSU memory (spoiler: I wasn't sober), but I promise to make it up to you and will make you laugh this season.

Go Cougs.

And Muppet Babies.