Jason Eck is about to put my alarm clock to work.
Given it was his debut performance as a Vandal, the Pac-12 Network cameras spent a good bit of time panning to him on the Idaho sidelines. Idaho played so well that there were plenty of opportunities for them to do so.
Each and every time the camera panned to that man’s goofy, joyous face, a piece of my Vandal fandom came back to life.
Let me tell you: I needed this. I needed this so badly.
I moved to Taiwan in the summer of 2018, right on the cusp of what we … for the most part … thought would be the beginning of a fun ride into the Big Sky Conference. Despite being thousands of miles away across an entire ass ocean, I was ready. I threw my sleep schedule into absolute whack for kickoffs against Fresno State, UC Davis, Idaho State, Eastern Washington.
Imagine waking up at 5:30 in the morning to watch Idaho State throw 62 points on us. I’d already had half-assed nights of sleep to watch Fresno State throw 79 on us and UC Davis welcome us to the conference with a three-touchdown drubbing.
At some point it became a matter of my own mental health whether I could even justify such a routine. That’s what hurt the most, the best way for me to stay connected to the alma mater that literally made me the man I am today was something I just couldn’t make a priority in my life.
With each passing week, with each passing year I was drifting further and further away from Vandal football.
Please, don’t get me wrong. If I were still in Seattle, I’d be getting my ass to Moscow and belting out the fight song even if we were going on an 0-11 season. Being a Vandal is not dependent on wins and losses. However … when you live overseas in an entirely different time zone with entirely different routines, priorities change, you know?
Jason Eck is making me question said priorities. I set an alarm labeled “Vandal Football” for the first time since 2018, and goddammit, it was worth it. Granted, this was a very manageable 8 AM kickoff. Our performance in Pullman all of a sudden has me looking at those 3 AM and 4 AM Big Sky games with raised eyebrows.
Jason Eck frolicking around the sideline when the defense made a big play made me frolic around my living room. Our boys flying around the football field and making plays made me fly around my living room clapping my hands, and annoying the living hell out of my girlfriend, who does not know the first thing about football.
For the first time in my nearly five years living in Taiwan, I was watching Vandal football with a huge ass smile on my face.
To be clear, we didn’t win this football game. I don’t need wins. I’d like wins, but I don’t need them. I need effort and heart, which was in clear abundance coming from the Idaho sideline in Pullman last weekend.
My alarm clock is already set for week two. Let’s get it in Bloomington.