Ode to the Season that Was

Derek Johnson takes a look back at the entire 2001 Washington Husky football experience. It began with an incredible Rose Bowl victory over Purdue, led by Marques Tuiasosopo, perhaps the most exciting player to ever wear the Purple and Gold. It ended in San Diego with an emotional loss to Texas in the final minutes.

Looking back at the year that was  
untold tragedy lay in wait
unwittingly we went about our lives 
on a collision course with horrific fate

Things started out joyful enough 
nine months prior to that September morn'
We saw Marques play his last big game
embracing his coach at the final horn

on that most blessed of days
with a sunset of golden hue
at Pasadena's fabled Rose Bowl
we saw Washington top Purdue

That game exuded special moments
creating life-long memories
But never to forget number 25
with a sense of melancholy

Come spring practice there was no Marques
and following our mournful dirge
we fans looked for a new leader
and Cody steadily emerged

When fall practice rolled around 
upon Evergreen's soggy sod
startled watchers gawked amazed
as Reggie proved worthy of laud

Green as we were on the offensive line
the season was about to start
only three things were certain for us
we had Larry, Willie and heart

The Michigan game was a slugfest
for awhile it was almost a bore
until lightening for us struck twice
and Michigan was no more

So we set our sights on Miami
a game we were expected to lose
I took my parents to the airport
for their eagerly-awaited cruise

I was awakened two days later
by a phone call I received with doubt 
horrific images on the TV screen 
our nation's torn psyche cried out 

For days we dealt with shock  
and gave money, blood and care
numbly going through the motions
with our grief-stricken prayers

More tragedy was still to come
as a plane crash took Husky lives
delightful people one and all 
sons and daughters, husbands and wives...  

We tried to fathom and grapple with this
with our sanities at the brink
but answers rest only with God and time
and are beyond our ability to think

For awhile games were postponed 
obscured by psychological din
but after awhile it became clear
that it was time to live again

It felt odd in Husky Stadium
and sounded more like the Louvre
but the Huskies beat Idaho, and
Frederick showed us some moves

Then came the Cal Bears
and a special memory to keep
‘twas my sweetie's first-ever game
and proudly... she didn't fall asleep!

She never did let on to me
If she thought anything was strange
but after that ugly first half
she must have thought me deranged

But she enjoyed the game experience 
as the Dawgs pulled out the win
I endeavor to teach her the rules of play
and that to root for Oregon's a sin

We saw some thrilling finishes
In the following weeks to come
three last-second victories 
that definitely weren't ho-hum

Stanford came to town
and the Huskies played just great
We managed to score forty-two
to the Cardinal's twenty-eight

and who could forget the Apple Cup?
when the Dawgs were never behind
and Wazzu was dancin' all over our field
until we buried ‘em at the goal-line

The following week is kind of fuzzy
I faintly remember a sad pall 
I do remember the stadium being scuzzy
but the outcome I can't recall

So the Holiday Bowl re-beckoned us
amid the spotlight's glare
against the mighty Longhorns, they said
we didn't have a prayer

but the Purple Gang did us proud
fighting like warriors ‘til the end
but Texas fought just as hard
and the Dawgs will live to play again

So the New Year is now upon us
and bin laden is on the run
the survivors know only anguish
for them, the damage has been done

We continue with steady prayers
none of us will ever forget
always consoling the mourners among us
while paying off our righteous debt  

"Remember Life is for the living" 
is a saying that I recall
And into each person's life
some rain must always fall

Some other people liken Life
to an ever-rotating wheel
as time turns through her cycles
as our nation continues to heal

What the New Year will bring us
is really hard to say
but in football, as in life,
every Dawg has his day

Derek Johnson can be reached at djohnson@dawgman.com

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