Sunday, August 06, 2006

Fall Saturdays are for Father's and Son's

I remember the Fall Saturday mornings of my youth spent growing up in Seattle. The morning would start very early for us with a trip down Elliott Avenue to the Pike Street Market.My dad liked to get there early before the stalls opened and have a cup of coffee at the Venetian, or Lowell's. We then would check out the stalls, pick up the produce, meats, and be back home around 8 AM. Usually we would then have to head over to the neighborhood field if there was a soccer, football, or baskeball, game going on that I, or my brother was in, then immediately over to Husky Stadium for the big game if the Huskies were in town. Luckily many of the games we were in were on Sunday so we didn't have many scheduling conflicts.

If the game was on the road we would listen to it on the radio doing some yardwork, or if the weather was bad in the living room. I learned my passion, and love for Husky football in those years. We were just riveted to the radio.

I was alive during the early 60's Rose bowl games, being born in 1958, but I really didn't become a conscious football fan, or understand what was going on till around the mid 60's. That time period was very similar to today. The program was down, the team wasn't good, and the program was only supported by the serious Husky fan. Win, or lose we didn't care because we were Husky fans, and there wasn't any other way we would rather spend our Saturday then topping it off with the big game.

A highlight of every week was watching the Jim Owens show with either Keith Jackson, or later, Bruce King. That was always a night the TV trays came out and we had dinner in front of the TV. It was tradition not only for us, but for many Northwest families in the days of an antenna and 3-4 TV stations. It was there that you learned the game in JO's TV class room. The big felluh seemed like he was a part of the family, and in those days there wasn't any bigger icon in the state then JO.

During the late 60's we hung in there through the losses, and the unrest. We were solid supporters who hoped JO would get it, and become a little more flexible. Just when it seemed it would never get better Sonny Sixkiller took the field and the games were never more exciting. We took turns in the street pretending we were Bo Cornell, Sonny, and Cahill. Being Bo of course meant you had to stay home and block.

We were also big Seattle U fans so in the Winter we changed our allegiance to the Chieftains, and were even in attendance when they beat Texas Western (UTEP) who went on to win the national championship. We went to the first Sonic's game in 1967, and I remember seeing guys like Rick Barry, Elgin Baylor, Wilt the Stilt, and of course Bill Russell. Still UW, and Seattle U were passions, the Sonic's were something we did to fill in the space.

We ready for a change when Don James arrived, and it seemed the outsider from the Midwest just didn't get it. How could he bench Chris Rowland in favor of some guy named Harold Moon who was just terrible as a sophmore? The 78 Rose Bowl of course just pushed it over the top, and forever from that day DJ became the most respected man in the state.

My dad, and I continued those rituals till the late 80's when he passed away early in life due to cancer. I remember the last days as he had to take the Dawgsled up to our seats high on the South deck, and finally when we just watched the games at home. He missed the national championship, but at least he saw some great seasons, and the new North deck.

Husky football is a tradition that is handed down from father, to son. It is ownership in a special event that bonds a young man, and his father together, and it is meant to be handed down through generations of Northwest families.

I don't know if the new administration gets exactly what Husky football is, and what it has meant in the past to the community. The new administration doesn't want the fans, boosters, alums, media, or anyone around except for a few hours on Saturday. I think that is a shame because Husky football is traditionally more than that. It is a birthright we all share in, and until they get that again over at Montlake it just won't be quite the same.

Still we all remember having the same feelings about this guy from Ohio who was our fourth choice to be football coach because nobody else wanted the job. Hopefully they grow on us, as we grow on them.

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