Cougs look to break curse of Husky Stadium

At the time, it seemed a harmless little stunt: Words flew like water off fingertips toward Husky Stadium on a late-August day shortly after I parked my car, and I and my two passengers made the walk toward Husky Stadium, a purple and gold hulk still quietly mired in the muck of some of the worst football UW fans have ever witnessed.

The chant was as steadfast as a U District junkie pestering Barbara Hedges for some spare Botox needles: "The power of Wazzu compels you! The power of Wazzu compels you!"

With every chant, exquisitely clear Dasani purified water flew toward the stadium, the scene of three consecutive Husky Apple Cup wins – two of those victories over perhaps the best Cougar teams in WSU football history. This would do it, all right.

With a little Wazzu voodoo, we would guarantee a repeat of WSU's Apple Cup win last November and the first WSU victory in Husky Stadium since 1997. Not only would we guarantee a Cougar win, we would stick pins in the 2005 Husky football season as a whole. Another winless Pac-10 campaign. Another season without a bowl. Another off-season of Husky fans wistfully sniffing Steve Emtman's national championship jock and pining for the glory years.

Why fuss over such a thing, particularly since WSU last November snapped the UW's six-game win streak in the series?

Because I'm greedy, damn it, and one curse deserves another, and I wasn't about to pass up the chance to have someone familiar with breaking curses stand outside Mutt Central and imprecate some Husky hate.

The idea came easily on the drive over Snoqualmie Pass. It stuck like a bug on the windshield. My daughter and a friend, whom she met a few years ago at a WSU soccer camp, wanted to visit another soccer-camp buddy who lives near the University of Washington campus. Holly, a Boston resident who spends summers in Pullman with her dad, is a Red Sox aficionado with a disturbingly dissertation-like knowledge of the Red Sox curse, a noose removed from New England necks when the Red Sox won the 2004 World Series.

And my daughter who, at 21-months old, sat through the first quarter of the blizzard-like 1992 Apple Cup, hates all things purple with a passion. Her many qualifications include standing stunned like her dad and mom when the "refs" ended the 2002 Apple Cup with the infamous lateral pass call.

On the ride home, we would buy some Dasani (famous for the aftermath of the 2002 fiasco at Martin Stadium) and then visit Husky Stadium to perform the necessary rites.

With holy water and unholy words, we sent the 1997 Rose Bowl curse washing into Lake Washington where it swirled like a giant crimson Charybdis and then rolled back onto stadium docks where Husky recruits had gathered for a free boat trip (OK, I made that up).

We cast our consecrated, mountain-clear h2O toward the stadium, demanding that no Pac-10 games would be won there, most notably the 2005 Apple Cup. We then raised our Dasani bottles, toasted the living hell we had created for Huskies everywhere, and then returned to the car for the trip home.

Here it is, Apple Cup week, and the Huskies have not won a Pac-10 game in Seattle. They are 3-18 over this season and last. I would like to think our Wazzu voodoo played a part in that misery. They have won a Pac-10 game, however. What's worse, WSU has a seven-game conference losing streak, the likes of which have not been seen since 1998, the year after WSU won a Pac-10 championship and earned a Rose Bowl berth against Michigan.

So now I'm scratching my head and wondering what went wrong with our performance that day. Were we greedy is seeking more than just an Apple Cup victory? Did one of us run the wrong route or otherwise poorly execute the tossing of water toward the stadium? Should I have called a timeout and then replaced the more mobile girl with a strong armed backup? Should we have gone for the Talking Rain instead of kicking the Dasani? As the coach that warm, August day, the second-guessing is killing me. I somehow feel responsible for what has happened to WSU this season.

But perhaps enough of our Husky hex remains. If it does, it is our hope that Cougar fans will remember one August day when Dawgs were dissed and curses hissed to help produce a Cougar victory over Washington on Saturday.

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