The Greatest Setting in College Football. It’s coach Petersen’s favorite cliche when talking about his football program.
“How do you have this temperature, this water, no bugs, no humidity, no nothing,” he teased at his weekly press conference.
He has a point, though.
I went to the Dominican Republic last March and I think I was bitten more times in one week than the previous 19-plus years of my life. I also couldn’t walk outside without pouring sweat.
I drove my friend from Seattle to school in LA a couple weeks ago. When we stopped in the Bay Area it was grey, the middle of the state was hot and dry, and the closer we got to Los Angeles the smoggier it got.
With those experiences in mind, days like we had when the Huskies took on the Idaho Vandals this past Saturday reminded me how awesome a September weekend on Montlake can feel.
For those that attend Washington, it’s the blessing and curse of the quarter system. A sizable portion of the students aren’t on campus yet, and another subset doesn’t live close enough to campus to make it up for a non-conference matchup.
But those who are on campus relish the summer breeze and sunny skies over Husky Stadium while they can without the stresses of classes, quizzes, and clubs.
Jeffery Coates, who will graduate soon with a degree from the prestigious Foster School of Business, touched on the benefits of Husky Football games before class is in session. Among the pros were the weather and not having to worry about school or studying, but a different advantage stood out to me: he mentioned seeing friends he hadn’t seen in a while.
That’s basically the only reason I’m excited about returning to school. Thousands of students leave dozens and dozens of friends behind when spring quarter comes to a close, and when the novelty of summer becomes monotonous, the countdown to the return to UW starts. The undergrads decide tolerating the burden of school is worth it to re-immerse into their communities.
But on three fall Saturdays, in three-to-four hour chunks, friendships are rekindled in the form of joint fandom, not study groups.
Meanwhile, incoming freshmen get a unique chance to get their feet wet at football games before fully diving into college life.
Tiger McBurney told me that watching the first two Husky games have been a good way for him to hang out with people in the fraternity he is joining.
“I've gotten to meet a ton of people at the games even though I still haven't had class yet, which I think is cool,” he said.
Tiger is right. The adjustment students have to make transitioning from high school to college goes far beyond the classroom. Juggling a new living situation with new people and finding the balance between their modus operandi and your own is a struggle, or a rite of passage, for college students to endure. Getting familiar with the surroundings, the atmosphere, and the ‘personnel’ of the school is one advantage offered by quarter system schools. The vessel is football games.
And there's no better place to make life long friends than in the Greatest Setting in College Football.