Most of these people, however, have lives outside of Pullman and don't follow the Cougars as closely and passionately as I do.
That's where my cousin Jeff comes in.
In the aforementioned group of eight, Jeff and I aren't even allowed in the same row as the other six people. We sit in front, and slightly to the right of the rest of the group, which, honestly, is to the benefit of everyone. Our mothers don't have to hear us mumbling and cursing, and we don't have to expend so much energy behaving ourselves. We're a bit crazy, and occasionally we drag an unsuspecting bystander into our little world of crimson insanity, usually my brother, or like last week in South Bend, a buddy from high school.
Jeff and I each spent a couple of years on the Cougar sidelines during our time as students, where we really caught the passion for Cougar athletics. From there, we've followed the Cougars all over the country, from Columbus to El Paso to Pasadena to South Bend. I talked him into going to Ohio State last year, and he talked me into going to Notre Dame this year. Of course, neither of these conversations took very long. We're the Cougar equivalent of crackheads; it never takes much convincing when the Cougs are involved. Any snippet of information, any rumor or article out there involving WSU athletics, and we're on it faster than Gilbertson on a Krispy Kreme.
The fever reached its peak when, one time last year, Jeff and I sat in a Pullman bar on a busy Friday night, arguing over which WSU football squad was better: the 1997 Cougars or the 1992 Cougars. His argument is that the 1992 team had better players, an argument which, when you look at the rosters, has merit, though many of the recognizable names on that team (especially the defense) were pretty young. My argument was that the 1997 team had arguably the best offense in the history of the conference (along with a darned good defense) and got the job done by going to the Rose Bowl. Voices were raised and beers consumed, but no resolution was reached. We spent an hour or two on this topic, to the point where our friends eventually turned away and acted like they didn't know us.
And our mothers wonder why we're both still single.
Jeff was fortunate enough to be on the Cougar sideline for the '92 Apple Cup, and unfortunate enough to be on the sideline for the 1998 WSU-Cal game, which we both agree was the worst display of football that we've ever seen. As part of his job as a trainer, Jeff had to watch the debacle in person; I was fortunate enough to be at one of the local watering holes, where I could bathe my sorrows. On a side note, not only was this a low point for me as a Cougar football fan, it was a low point for me as a Cougar in general. When things were looking bleak late in the third quarter, one of my fellow bar patrons stood up and delivered John Belushi's classic "Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?" line, and nobody in the bar, save myself and my roommate, knew what he was talking about. A sad day indeed.
Anyway, much like a workout partner, Jeff fuels my passion for Cougar athletics, as I fuel his. We become stronger, louder, and more obnoxious as a result. We're the Six-Million-Dollar Coug Fans (cue goofy music—"we can make him better, we have the technology"). There's no road trip we won't consider, no Husky we won't badger, no win we won't savor, and that's the way I like it.
So who feeds your Crimson addiction? Remember, if your Cougar spirit is waning, or you just want to kick it up a notch, find a Jeff; a buddy who feeds the fire, someone who will stick with you and the Cougs through thick and thin. Family and friendship makes for a much better Cougar experience. If you have any trouble finding someone, just head down the Martin Stadium steps between sections three and four, and Jeff and I will gladly drag you into our pit of Crimson insanity for a few minutes. When we let you leave, I promise that you'll never be the same.