Hi, I’d like to introduce myself. My name is Husky Stadium. I’ve been around Seattle for the better part of a century, but in the last ten years or so, people have started to forget about me. It wasn’t due to any one big thing; more like a smattering of small issues that all happened to crop up at the exact same time.
The teams that have played on my hallowed grounds haven’t been as competitive as in years past. The time of a physically dominant home team faded away. While the talent level was dwindling, that giant showboat of a stadium in Eugene decided to become relevant thanks to an influx of dirty ill-gotten sneaker money. Throw into the mix the fact that I just started to get old and outdated and well, I guess a demise was inevitable. Somewhere you can hear the world’s tiniest violin playing, right?
Nobody feels sorry for a 93-year-old building that sits on one of the most picturesque settings in all of American sports. Nobody feels sorry for a venue that has seen national championship teams and All-Americans come through its doors. Nobody feels sorry for a building because well, it’s a building. That’s fine – don’t feel sorry for me. Feel sorry for the people who use me. Feel sorry for the fans. They are really the ones who have suffered in the last ten years. They are the ones who have put up with bad teams, worse coaches and an overall embarrassing fall from national prominence.
I would like to think that while the Huskies were at their most dominant, I was able to contribute to the advantage of playing at home. I realize that I’m a physical structure, but I’d like to think that I played just a small role in getting the boys amped up to go hit somebody. I’d like to think that I was built in such a way that made the wind and the rain blow and fall just a little bit harder on a fall Saturday afternoon. I’d like to think that I was a part of making the trip to play the University of Washington a miserable one for the entire Pac-12. Sadly, I haven’t felt that way in a very long time.
Until this past Saturday.
I felt it. The wind was merciless. The rain blew in sideways. Arizona was in town. ARIZONA! You’re telling me the guys from the desert could deal with me? Please. While it was truly an honor to be welcomed back against Boise State, that gorgeous early fall evening was not the true return of Husky Stadium. No, my friends, I was not officially back until a football game became a battle of wills. Who would let the elements affect them first? Who would use the wind and rain to inspire them? Who would turn the nasty weather into a nasty swagger? We got our answer on Arizona’s first possession. Ka’Deem Carey, the nation’s leading rusher from a season ago, was stuffed on two straight runs. On an obvious passing down, Wildcats quarterback B.J. Denker – who earlier in the week said he’d played in loud places before and enjoyed quieting the crowd – stepped up in the pocket in the face of massive pressure and airmailed a through right in to the waiting arms of Sean Parker. Game on, B.J. Welcome to Husky Stadium.
Ka’Deem Carey didn’t have a run longer than 13 yards. If there were ever a more meaningless 132-yard rushing effort, I haven’t seen it. The UW defense constantly and repeatedly hit the Arizona offense in the mouth. Denker was a measly 14-35 for 119 yards. On the flipside, while Keith Price was also tempered by the weather, he still threw for two touchdowns. The true gem of the day was Bishop Sankey. In throwback fashion, Sankey carried the ball 40 times for 161 yards. As a team, the Huskies ran for 244.
While the Husky D was dominant and Sankey was lethal, the Husky Stadium crowd was raucous. When it rained, they cheered. When it rained sideways they cheered louder. When the skies opened up and the weather bordered on monsoon like conditions, Husky fans smiled and screamed until their lungs gave out. The day ended just as so many before; with a dominant and defiant victory for the Dawgs.
I’ve been away a long time, Husky fans. It’s good to be back.
Bow down and go Dawgs.