Our judgments when we are pleased and friendly are not the same as when we are pained and hostile.
Stop me if you’ve heard this story before:
The Cal Golden Bears, fresh off an upset over the ranked Washington Huskies at home, field rush from their fans and all, travel to a sold out Martin Stadium.
Sounds familiar, does it not?
The Oregon Ducks, facing an eerily similar situation themselves just a few weeks ago, came to the Palouse to face the Washington State Cougars and absolutely face planted. Seven days, damn near to the minute, after an emotional, hard fought win over the Dawgs, the Ducks came into Martin Stadium, apparently not expecting a highly charged crowd to reign down upon them a wall of noise that closed in like a Death Star trash compacter.
October 20th was a special day in Pullman, to be sure. Fifteen years of emotion spilled out that morning with College GameDay (watch it again just because) and then, after a well earned pre-lunch nap to re-energize, the cup ran over again against a northwest rival who had just beaten your other northwest rival.
I could write in this space about what WSU needs to do on the field against Cal to come away with a win. Really though, it’s fairly simple: excellent offense vs. excellent defense and a so-so offense vs. a decent defense. Who can make the play or two or three it will take to win the ballgame on either side?
Instead, I’ll talk about what you, the fan, can do. You see, on that first Oregon drive two weeks ago, one thing became very apparent to me: Martin Stadium is a hard place to play football again. The rest of the first half was just the body in the persuasive essay the stadium was writing me. The ten games in a row they had won at home prior to running their streak to 11 against the Ducks is a nice appendix on a thoroughly written paper.
I’m normally not one for talking at length about things that are unquantifiable having an effect on the outcome of events. Bill Connelly doesn’t have a formula for determining how many points a home team’s crowd can cost the visitors. But it’s hard to not believe the raucous crowd that files through the gates of Martin Stadium every week doesn’t have some effect on the final score.
This weekend’s game against Cal is, once again, sold out. It’s also Dad’s Weekend, a Saturday every year where students need to jab pops in the kidney to remind him to contribute to the choir of shouts and yells. This game does, though, kickoff at 7:45 p.m., leading to a peak #DrunkDad scenario where the fathers, seasoned though they may be, could have trouble making it through a day full of Busch Light, cheap whiskey, and Boone’s Farm.
I would prefer though to think those lubricate the vocal chords rather than leave dad passed out, face first in a bean bag chair that hasn’t been cleaned since the Bush administration by kickoff. Take solace in remembering that you will fall back an hour at 2 a.m., pour yourself a little Bailey’s in your early evening coffee, and come into Martin Stadium at full throat, ready to shower the Golden Bears with a storm of noise unlike anything they’ve heard this year.
Besides, it’s November. Time for them to hibernate.
Always respect Mother Nature. Especially when she weighs 400 pounds and is guarding her baby.
The noise, the most important “person” vs. California