If you are, for whatever reason, interested in seeing a grown man trying his hardest to suppress himself from crying then come find me on Saturday.
The University of Idaho is four quarters of football away from qualifying as a bowl eligible football team.
This statement in itself in surreal. Idaho, the team that literally won three combined games from 2012 through 2014. That needed to win its final game last season just to win four.
Now Idaho can match the win total from Paul Petrino’s first three seasons combined WITH TWO HOME GAMES STILL REMAINING.
Here is just how surreal this is:
Idaho has already played road games against Washington and Washington State. Those two teams play each other on Nov. 25 and the winner likely becomes the Pac-12 champion. Is that good?
Idaho will have the opportunity to have six wins under its belt despite having only played three home games all season. Idaho came in to 2016 with only one road win over the last three seasons.
What. The. Fuck. Is. Life.
I watched Idaho’s 23-13 win at Louisiana-Lafayette with the VSF Puget Sound chapter in Queen Anne. I was basically surrounded by people who’d be at the Corner Club if they didn’t have lives and went off to find jobs in the Seattle area.
They didn’t have Tubs. So I just did this.
It may have just been the pitcher of IPA I downed in three hours, but this game was incredibly therapeutic.
Sports, for some of us, become a release. We become emotionally invested because it’s better than getting emotionally invested in other shit going on.
That has hardly been the case for me and Idaho over the last five years. When this team wasn’t what I did for a living, it was merely a side hobby for me when I wasn’t watching the Huskies.
That job you’re stressed out about because you haven’t heard back about it yet? Okay, well, Matt Linehan just took off and ran for the first down on 1st and 20, are you kidding me?
Just got stood up by your crush? It’s okay because Austin Rehkow just nailed it from 50 yards out to extend the lead to seven. Jesus, that was huge.
Did Great Lakes just email you about that student loan payment? Well fuck them, because Isaiah Saunders just threw a poor son of a bitch to the ground and barreled his way into the end zone on 3rd and goal from the 2.
My move back to Seattle from Moscow hasn’t been smooth. But ultimately I’m happy. The football team in Moscow has a small part to play in this.
And for this, I have Paul Petrino to thank.
Paul Petrino and I have our history. It didn’t start of well.
I was the first person to ask a question at his introductory press conference. Instead of asking how he felt about being named coach, if it was everything he dreamed or some other corny question, I asked if he had any intention of retaining Jason Gesser on his coaching staff.
He was visibly annoyed and deflected the question. Then I asked if Idaho was his first head coaching offer. Annoyed again, he answered “I’ve gone after some and hadn’t gotten them and have been offered some and turned them down.”
A surprisingly honest answer.
A few months after that was the first time he erupted at me. He had this ridiculous rule for Chad Chalich, a player he hadn’t recruited, where Chalich couldn’t slide or go out of bounds even though he operated an offense which utilized Chalich’s running ability.
Chalich was worn down by the fourth quarter of losses to Wyoming and Northern Illinois, games the Vandals were competitive in at first. Could his taking shots have something to do with it?
I asked Paul about it and he got up after the press conference, turned to me and yelled at me about asking the question so many times.
The moral of this story is that Paul Petrino is a dick. He has a history of being a dick, at least to the media. We’ve seen it to players as well. We’ve heard from others.
But whatever. A lot of college football coaches are dicks. A lot of college football coaches also win. They can be mutually exclusive.
The next time I see Paul Petrino I’m going to shake his hand. I’m probably going to ask if I can hug him. I’m going to tell him how much I appreciate the countless hours he has put in to turn one of the nation’s worst football programs into something I can be proud of.
My Vandal experience wasn’t and will never be defined by football. It was defined by my incredible teachers, an adviser who put up with my bullshit because he believed I had talent and colleagues who became some of my best friends who I will cherish for a lifetime. And, by a concrete bar on the corner of main street where I’ve had some of the best memories of my life.
It also feels amazing when you have a football team to compliment all of that. It feels amazing to have something bringing this Vandal community together to rally around.
It feels amazing to have something to look forward to.
We have a bowl game to look forward to.
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