Being a Coug

Apple Cup 2014

Martin Stadium during the 2014 Apple Cup

For those that follow me on twitter, especially in the fall during college football season, you know that I am a diehard WSU Cougar.  I live and die with the Cougs, I bleed crimson.  I have been a Coug all of my life, long before I ever took my first class in Pullman.  As I have gotten older, and I have gotten older, my love of the Cougs has not diminished, if anything it has gotten stronger.  One thing that I have learned though over the years is that it isn’t always easy being a Coug.

After leaving the pacific northwest after school, I grew up in northern Idaho, I lived in Arizona for 23 years.  During those 23 years I went to as many of the WSU games against the Sun Devils and Wildcats as I could.  I also watched any game that actually got televised, which weren’t many in those days.  Heck, a lot of this was even before radio stations started streaming content over the internet.  Ok, truth be told, some of this was even before the average person had access to the internet.

I only bring this background up as a way to show that in those days, especially when you didn’t live in the northwest, being a Coug was a real challenge.  I also bring it up to give a guess as to how long I have been a Coug, and that I have shared in the success as well as the very bleak times that the team has gone through.

From my point of view, the real decline of the program, which we are still struggling to dig our way out of, started with the departure of Mike Price, of course the Cougs enjoyed more success under Price than anytime before or since.  Those Cougs that are quite a bit younger than me don’t know what it feels like to have a very successful program and a team that is ranked in the top 5 in the country, I do remember that, and know how it feels. :-)

It is almost shocking how fast the program fell from grace after the departure of Price.  Before you knew it, we fell from a Rose Bowl team to a team that was getting blown out each and every time we stepped on the field.  We entered a decade where if we won 3 games a season it was actually a better season than the one before.  Success just wasn’t in the cards for the Cougs.  It was really hard being a Coug, but for us loyal fans, we still waved the flag and still bled crimson.

I know that I was excited when WSU finally fired Bill Doba and hired Paul Wulff.  In my mind it should have happened a few years earlier than it did, and we all had high hopes that the passion that Wulff brought to WSU, he was a Coug after all, would be what it took to bring WSU out of the mess it had been in for years.  Sadly that didn’t happen, and while Wulff’s tenure at WSU was short, I do believe that it was important.  While we might not have gotten the wins that we wanted, Wulff was able to recruit a few players that were instrumental in WSU getting to a bowl game last year.  I also think Wulff played a part in trying to get the culture changed with the program.  While Wulff was put into a no-win situation, that isn’t uncommon in college football, and the list of interim coaches in rebuilding programs is quite large.

This of course leads us to the Mike Leach era at WSU.  I am a fan of Coach Leach.  While the 2014 season wasn’t what any of us wanted, lets remember that in just 3 years Coach Leach has won more games than Coach Wulff did in 4 years.  What is important to look at though are the losses, not the wins.  It wasn’t very many years ago when a good day was simply not getting shut out, typically by 30+ points.  Even though we did’t have many wins this season, a lot of those losses were in very tight games that should have been won if not for stupid little mistakes or blown calls.

WSU has a lot of very talented players, possibly the best roster in years, but we have to remember that they are also a VERY young team.  The WSU ship is on the right course, and while a lot of Cougs might be very discouraged after the 2014 season, the future does look bright.  If you expected WSU to go from a 3 and 9 team to a 9 and 3 team overnight, you were’t being realistic.  The wins will come.

Ok, with all of that said, I am as disappointed as anyone, possibly even more so, as I am old enough to have enjoyed the really good days at WSU, but even with disappointing season, there is no better place to be at an Apple Cup in Martin Stadium, even if it was only 17 degrees out and my feet were numb from the cold. :-)

Oh yeah, GoCougs!!!!!!!!!!

Posted in GoCougs

Oly In The Sun

Oly In The Sun

Oly In The Sun

I thought I would share a little better image of our new puppy Oly.  She was sitting in a ray of sun in our living room on Saturday when I was watching the WSU football game.

Posted in LifeInGeneral

Miss Olympia

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Some time ago I blogged about our losing our 14 year old poodle.  Budro is still missed, and always will be, but I am happy to announce a new addition to the family, Miss Olympia, or Oly for short.

Oly is a 9 week old miniature/toy Aussie.  She is from a litter of pups that my family had and for the most part the entire litter went to family members.  We did have some concerns if Ursa would accept a new puppy easily, she has lost some of her social skills when it comes to other dogs, but the two have learned boundaries and have become doggy friends.

This is just a quick iPhone snapshot I made yesterday and really shows that I need to vacuum my office floor. :-)

Posted in LifeInGeneral

The Embarrassment That Is Capitol Lake

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Capitol Lake’s middle basin after the accidental release of all the water

Let me start this blog post by saying that I love my new home.  We moved to Olympia from Arizona in the spring of 2012 by choice.  I could have moved anywhere in the Pacific Northwest (I grew up in the northwest) but we chose Olympia.  Simply put, I love Olympia, WA.  With that said, there is one thing that I really feel that Olympia should be embarrassed about and that is Capitol Lake.

For those that don’t know, Capitol Lake is a central feature of downtown Olympia.  Part if it was designed to be a reflecting pool for the capital building and it is the home to a wide variety of wildlife.  It has wonderful walking paths around it and on a nice day it a very busy place.  I am told that “back in the day” that it was used for things like water skiing and was a popular place for Olympians to swim on a hot day. Sadly, those days to seem to have been long past.

At some point in the recent past the lake has been infected with an invasive snail that has prompted the lakes closure to all recreational activity.  While you can still walk around the lake and enjoy the parks, you can’t get in the water.  The problem is that the invasive snails are really only a small part of the problems that Capitol Lake is facing.  Years of inaction have caused the lake to silt up to where it really isn’t much more than a marsh these days.  All one has to do is walk around the lake in the summer and you will see that the lake has gotten so shallow that the grass growing on the bottom actually breaks the surface in many places.  To add even more insult to injury, a computer malfunction this week caused the dam that holds the lake back to open it’s gates and let all the lakes water to escape into Puget Sound.  This image was a snapshot I made today of the middle basin, minus the water that would have normally been there.

There is a lot of debate over what should be done with the lake, but it seems to be down to 2 possible solutions, neither of which will most likely happen any time soon.  The first is to go back to dredging the lake to remove the huge amount of silt that has accumulated over the last few decades.  The second is to remove the 5th Ave. dam and allow it to return to being an estuary.  There are good arguments for and against each possible solution, and while I tend to lean towards the idea of dredging the lake, something needs to be done sooner rather than later.

Posted in LifeInGeneral

Butch

Butch

Butch

If you have followed me for very long online, or know me in real life, you know that I am a diehard WSU Cougar, GoCougs, and it should not come as a surprise that we have a housecoat named Butch.  For those that don’t know, the WSU mascot is Butch.

After my somewhat depressing blog post about Budro, I thought I would post something about one of our family members that is still with us.  Butch joined our family years ago, we got him from a then co-worker of my wife, and we were told that he was a Maine Coon Cat, and if that were actually the case, he is the smallest Maine Coon Cat that has ever lived, truth be told, Butch is small by almost any house cat standards.

Butch lived with 2 other cats that we had for a number of years, Romeo and Juliet, and the whole time we lived in Arizona I don’t think that Butch ever ventured outside, he was a 100% indoor cat.  After our move to Washington State in 2012, he immediately started venturing outside, and is now quite comfortable in the great outdoors.

While we were sitting outside the other day, Butch was out wandering around the yard and I grabbed this snapshot of him while he was doing his version of hunting.

Posted in LifeInGeneral