Saturday at Husky Stadium will be unlike many others I’ve spent on Montlake.
The only difference for me this time around on Montlake is that I wont be wearing purple. I won’t be cheering for a Washington victory. I won’t be singing the Washington fight song.
I’ll be wearing Silver, Black and Gold. I’ll be representing the opposition. I’ll be representing my alma mater, the University of Idaho Vandals. The Flagship university of the state of Idaho. The school that’s given me experiences in my adult life I couldn’t have dreamed of before.
I’ll be proudly rooting against the University of Washington this week.
It’ll be awkward. It’ll be weird. It’ll be fun.
Surrounding me will be people who’ve been with me as a Husky fan through the shit times, which coincidentally has been a majority of the time lately.
I’ll also be surrounded by purple-clad fans who haven’t been with me through the shit. Fans who weren’t at the away bowl of Martin Stadium with me in 2008 when Tyrone Willingham walked off the field 0-11. Fans who can’t recall where they were for every single loss that season.
Fans who weren’t with me when Willie Tuitama shredded Washington’s atrocious defense to kill any prayer or ignorant dream we had of going to a bowl game in 2007.
Fans who didn’t go to the CBI basketball game against Valparaiso when Lorenzo Romar had just suffered his worst season to date as Washington coach.
Fans who didn’t wake up at the crack of dawn to make it to the Don James Center for Steve Sarkisian’s introduction as Washington coach, just days after 0-12.
Fans who haven’t been at Autzen Stadium going through verbal abuse I won’t even repeat here.
Who cares, though? Who the fuck am I to judge? The fact they’re showing up in purple now is good enough. They are Washington fans because it’s their choice.
Some people are so fickle in their definitions of what makes a fan and what makes a ‘fake fan.’
Here are facts: A fake fan does not exist. The term ‘bandwagon’ is a fallacy.
I didn’t attend Washington. I tried, and I got rejected. I went to Idaho instead (chosen over an admission from Washington State). But I root for Washington. It was probably for the best my education wasn’t driven by football. I’m not a scholarship athlete, after all.
To some, there is a purity to actually attending a school and then being a fan. I don’t disagree. I’m siding with Idaho on Saturday, aren’t I? (I mean, it was amazing to be able to be drunk off my ass inside the Kibbie Dome for the first time ever last Thursday night).
What is a ridiculous notion is that being an alum and being a fan has to be mutually exclusive.
Most rational people don’t feel this way, to be fair. If college football fans consisted only of alumni of schools then major college football would only be as popular as Division II football. Television deals would be a fraction of what they are. Stadium attendance would be halved across the country.
There can be a plethora of reasons to support a team. I became a Husky fan because I chose the team winning the Apple Cups when I was in middle school. My family didn’t care for college football, my family didn’t have any pre-determined allegiances.
But don’t worry, I stuck around when Washington State took four of the next five Apple Cups and the Huskies became a national embarrassment.
And then I went off to Moscow.
It’s unlikely my alma mater is going to waltz into Husky Stadium and knock off the No. 8 team in the nation.
If they do? Idaho will only need to go 4-6 the rest of the way to go to a bowl game, and Washington’s profile as a Top 10 team will take a massive hit. A hit UW will clearly be able to recover from, but a hit nonetheless.
And if not? Idaho will still be well on track to achieve its goals.
I’m just going to soak Saturday in with fellow Vandals and Huskies alike and I’m going to be relieved when it’s over.
But, for real Rob Spear, don’t schedule this game ever again. Thanks.