On the main street in my hometown of Everett Washington, a WSU Cougar store has opened selling all things Cougar. I am not surprised.
I grew up in Everett but was treated as a foreigner due to the Oregon Ducks sweatshirt I was issued by my parents, as that is where they met, Eugene. Starting then I have always been a bit out of step with the rest of the town, so perhaps my confusion of Everett’s obsession with all things Cougar is understandable.
Everyone from my graduating class at Everett High who was going to college went to WSU except three of us who attended the U of W; Mary Jane Thomas, who clearly was made of the same clay as, say Jacqueline Kennedy, who could go anywhere without comment,
Gail Peterson who was a transfer from another state and therefore doesn’t count, and me, just another kid from the mean streets of Everett.
As graduation approached in the spring of 1976 members of my high school class looked upon me with pity as I would not be moving 300 miles away from his parents that fall, near the Idaho border and an age 18 drinking law ( since raised to 21 ) and a college with a reputation for great parties. They wrote things in my year book quoting Thoreau, such as I “marched to the beat of a different drummer.”
After law school I came back to my home town to practice. Almost everywhere I have turned since then I note that Everett is a Cougar town. In the fall I would be approached by people on a Thursday and asked “Are you going to the game?”
They meant are you taking an RV to camp out in front of Martin Stadium in Pullman or have you secured a hotel room there?
Some are just maniacs. When Attorney Oz Dire died the Everett High Band played the Cougar fight song at his funeral. The story goes that Oz had once got a pair of dark glasses, a white cane and unauthorized entrance to the field at Husky stadium and walked out on to the field when the Husky band was performing at half time, behaving like a blind man tapping his cane back and forth and disrupting the march.
Oz apparently learned I had attended the UW. One night before the Apple Cup in 1986, before mediation was invented, we were to have a settlement conference in my office. It was divorce case. Oz comes through the front door with a plastic human skull on a stick with red and grey ribbons dangling from the skulls base, and little bells at the end of each ribbon.
“Hex you Husky! Hex Hex!” he said. In spite of his periodic wagging of the skull at me, raising it above the edge of the desk to continue to work the “spell”, the conference ended successfully. The Cougars lost the next day 44-23.
Like any resistance member, I would hide in my garage and pretend to be doing carpentry on Saturday afternoons when in fact I was tuned in on my clandestine Husky radio station, KOMO, privately listening for the coded messages: “Huskies first down and goal to go. Huskies first and goal”, “Cougars third and long.”
Imagine my delight when I learned upon joining Newton Kight that I had stumbled into an entire resistance cell. Hell, Henry even has season tickets. Safe now with my own kind, I can finally write about this.
I suspect now I will receive dozens of e mails, trying to explain to me why WSU is somehow a more pure experience than an education in decadent Seattle. Perhaps I will again hear sighs of pity from those who have spent 4 years in a wheat field. No matter, what is done is done. I am working in the safe house of Newton Kight now, openly a Husky.
Bow Down to Washington.