St. Rick and the Dragon

The commotion could be heard outside. At the time I was at the 5th Quarter party going on inside the Dempsey Center, and out into the frigid night I raced to see what was happening. The fiery glow could be seen from a distance. The sight of all the flames maddened me with pleasure.

Approximately 300 marching fans and boosters were carrying torches and descending upon Athletic Department's office. The distraught mob moved along with a pulsating rage, toward the fortified walls. Up to the towering iron doors they swarmed. They shouted, cursed, waved their torches, and banged and clanged their torch handles against the iron facade. From within the adjacent stadium, the scoreboard still read UW 24, UCLA 34. There was much random shouting about dropped passes, questionable play calling, dumb penalties and mistakes in the clutch. Washington's record was now a morbid 4-5. From slits cut within the fortified walls of the Athletic Department, worried faces could be seen peering out upon the crowd. From high above the fray, there was anonymous movement and scurrying amid the turrets.

The fans chanted. The masses attempted in vain to break down the door. In the distance, sirens could be heard. Smoke hovered above the scene. The intensity of the hollering and movement of the crowd increased. This sustained itself for several minutes.

Then came the response. Boiling vats of oil began being dumped down upon the fray. The crowd saw this coming and backed away. The oil poured forth and splattered about, creating an ever-expanding pool. Though now congregated from a safe distance, the angry purple mob showed no signs of leaving. This lasted for several hours, carrying into the wee hours of the morning.

When then from the turrets, a giant pig was raised up and heaved forth from above, the assembled fans watched as it plummeted before them and splattered upon the pavement. All kinds of food scattered in all directions. This signaled to the crowd that a siege would be futile. It was obvious that food reserves were in abundance within the Athletic Department.

Needing still to vent their frustration, the angry mob moved southward, plowing through a police barricade and storming into Husky Stadium. I followed along, studying the scene and hastily jotting down notes. Once they had reached the field of play, they seized those new self-warming benches, and carried them off to be thrown into Lake Washington.

I stopped someone en route and asked why this was being done. He shouted at me, "HEATED BENCHES!!!! Why not just offer pedicures during the game? Husky football is about toughness!"

Once the angry throng returned from the lake, they set their sites upon the Husky Tron and the statistics scoreboard. They were set ablaze. Soon both were fully engulfed in flames, and the playing field was as bright as the midday sun.

This commotion continued along, until someone shouted, "There is a dragon out on Montlake Boulevard!" We all raced toward the closed end of the stadium and up into the grandstands for a vantage point outside.

Traffic had been cordoned off. The sky overhead was thick with ominous and rolling black clouds. A gigantic green dragon (as tall as the former Husky Tron) was lumbering down the middle of the street, fire blasting out of his mouth. In his clutches was a screaming Washington Husky cheerleader. I grabbed binoculars from a nearby fan and peered closely in at the monster. With close inspection, I saw that each of his teeth were the size of a Buick! The dragon reached over and grabbed an abandoned Metro bus, and devoured it fully in seconds. This was followed with a thunderous belch that reeked of putrid diesel.

Upon even closer inspection, I saw that each of the dragon's scales had inscribed upon it a "thou shalt", in the form of problems plaguing the Husky football program. The words included "first losing season since 1976", as well as "intensity", "clock management", "execution", "dropped passes", "missed tackles", "pass defense", "play calling", "defensive aggressiveness", "Husky tradition", "turnovers", "opportunistic defense", and "pride", among many others.

Thousands of fans rushed forth and surrounded the scene, but maintained a safe distance, of course. Many of the fans were wearing any of three colors; be it crimson, green or orange, and all of these fans appeared to be enjoying the spectacle. From high above and behind a turret, far atop the Athletic Department, Barbara Hedges looked on with grave concern.

Emerging from Hec Ed Pavilion was a figure upon a horse. It was Rick Neuheisel. He was decked out in purple and gold armor and a shiny gold football helmet featuring a purple "W". In his grasp was a giant, shining spear. Upon his face was a look of morbid fear, and yet staunch determination. The clip-clop of his horse's hooves made contact with the pavement, and the giant, green dragon became aware of his presence and turned to confront him. From deep within the monster's diaphragm, a giant bellowing roar was let forth, followed by a cannon blast of searing fire, emitted from his mouth. Neuheisel leaned forward upon his steed, dug his spurs into the horse's side and began his charge. The giant green beast before him reared up and was ready for the attack. St. Rick extended his pointed spear and closed in…

How did this confrontation end up?
We'll know by the end of next season.
Derek Johnson can be reached at Top Stories