I'll admit it. I grew up a husky fan. Born and raised on the "coast" (as we call it over here on the side of the state that doesn't matter) and with no familial ties to ANY university, I was a husky fan.
I vaguely remember seeing bits of a Warren Moon-led uw team beat Michigan in the Rose Bowl and cheering along with all the adults in the room. I remember pretending to be Tom Flick as I lobbed wobbly Nerf football passes to my buddy Scott in the street in front of my house. I thought no one could run like Toussaint Tyler and surely no one could have a cooler name.
The first Apple Cup I ever remember was the epic 1982 clash. I was 12 at the time and knew absolutely nothing of the history of the rivalry to that point. Before this game, WSU wasn't even a speed bump on the seemingly annual husky road trip to the Rose Bowl. I watched the game on TV with my family in our basement. It was the first time I ever remember watching a sporting event of any kind with the whole family. We were all so sure the huskies would win that game...all of the boys anyway. Mama McBoob was the only one pulling for the undergog that day and we teased her mercilessly before the game. Father knows best, my ass. Without knowing it, we all witnessed the magic of Pullman, Washington for the first time that day.
Fast-forward a few years to my senior year in high school. I really never expected to go to college but (in what would turn out to be a fruitless effort to get laid for the first time) went ahead and applied to the same schools as my girlfriend. I'll never forget the day I pulled my old Jeep into the driveway to find Mama McBoob waiting anxiously for me on the front porch. She was holding a piece of paper in her hands and was jumping up and down as she proudly told me I had been accepted to WSU.
"Am I going?" I asked her, still not really sure of what my future held.
"You're damn right you are!"
The rest, as they say, is history. Among many others, I now have vivid memories of hearing the roar on campus that day during my freshman year in 1988 when the Cougs toppled #1 UCLA - and crying like a baby when I walked through the concourse tunnel on January 1, 1998 and saw the turf of the Rose Bowl painted Crimson and Gray. I now know that Shaumbe Wright-Fair could kick Toussaint Tyler's ass with both hands tied behind his back; and I throw perfect Nerf football spirals to Mini McBoob in the back yard: Bledsoe to Bobo-style. Win or lose, there's simply nothing better than being a Coug.
To the unwashed masses of purple-clad lemmings, we're hard to figure out and I suppose I can't blame them - afterall, I was one. There have certainly been far more downs than ups in the history of Cougdom but even so, we've all undoubtedly been at the butt-end of far too many bad jokes, jabs and insults from co-workers, friends and family who have either gone to "better" schools or consider themselves die-hard fans. We're used to it. We can handle it. But it gets old.
Pullman is our fortress. Only within its wheat field-armored walls can a Coug find strength in numbers. Within these walls we commiserate in defeat and rejoice in those wonderous moments of improbable victory.
From wherever we have landed after leaving Pullman with degree in hand, the drive "home" is always worth it - especially for Apple Cup. We get excited when we cross the Whitman County line. We get goosebumps when we see the glow of Bryan Clock Tower as we come down the hill into town. We get COCKY when it snows...and win or lose, we throw a pretty damn good party.
In the eyes of this born-again Coug, to remove the Pullman gameday experience from the Apple Cup would be an unspeakable tragedy. I can think of three - no, FOUR good reasons to keep the game in Pullman where it belongs: 1982, 1988, 1992... 2008. Keep the Apple Cup on our campuses!
Go Cougs! Go Pullman!