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The Attack of the Negadawgs

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“That and my father changed his name after watching a cartoon about a bilious penguin.”

“‘Coach Chillious.’ Sounds good. Or maybe ‘Coach Chills.’ A nice ring, wouldn’t you say?”

“Would you like onion rings?”

“No but why not join me over at Sir Hec Ed coaching men’s basketball?”

* * *

And that, children, as Negadawg legend has it, is how Lorenzo Romar hired Jim Shaw, Paul Fortier and Raphael Chillious.
Then guess what happened? Yes! Beginning in the second year, the huskies won games! They were winning more games than they had won since the intrepid William Henry Harrison Dye was head coach and took the Huskies to the Final Four once. For a protracted while, Husky fans were ecstatic.

But then, like the Great Plague, an incurable nerve disease spread among some Husky fans leading to shortness of temper, patience and sightedness, and other unfavorable behavioral modifications although, as a side effect, these fans also became extraordinary experts on the game of basketball, smarter than anyone! Perceptions changed and, for Coaches Romar, Shaw, Fortier and Chillious, what was formerly perceived as great coaching suddenly became great incompetence. Like multiple Ahabs, rabid Negadawgs, as they became known, were obsessed with one thing: an enormous white whale. A hue and cry arose, and Negadawgs gathered en masse in front of Sir Clarence S. “Hec” Edmundson Pavilion.

* * *

“The NIT run be damned!” the Negadawgs all shouted. “We WILL HAVE the glory years of the intrepid William Henry Harrison Dye!”

After cutting off their right legs below the knee and donning whalebone peg legs, they sharpened recycled harpoons, made effigies of Romar, Shaw, Fortier and Chillious which they tossed in Frosh Pond, and took turns impaling the effigies while shouting, “From hell’s heart I stab at thee; for hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee!” and then errant Oregon cheerleaders led them in angry chants such as: “Death to Romar!” “Death before disco!” “Where’s your green card?!” and anything else that came to mind. After all, the Negadawgs reasoned, another season had flown by and once again all Lorenzo Romar could show was a conference championship, Coach of the Year, and a deep NIT run. “Enough is enough!” shouted the Negadawgs, waving their torches and harpoons.

* * *

Oh, children, it was terrible. Then vicious rumors began to circulate among the crowd that Coach Romar – all the coaches – were illiterate. None could even spell “OX” – couldn’t spell it either forward or backward. Such were the accusations.
And thus did rabid Negadawgs grow increasingly caustic in their denunciations of Coach Romar and his ostensibly dysfunctional assistants. The gathering in front of Sir Hec Ed continued to expand.

* * *

“We need more-talented assistant coaches!” shouted one unprominent booster who had neither graduated from, nor contributed a dime to, the Territorial University but had 1,234,785 posts on various internet forums. “We need assistant coaches with the talent to be ‘one and done’ – who could leave after one year and take positions vacated by head coaches who had been fired following the Great Plague at other schools! That’s the kind of talent the Territorial University should have! After all, we’re the Territorial University! The Territorial University, do you understand?! The Territorial University!”

* * *

And all the others shook their burning torches and harpoons in the cold night air, shouting that, indeed, they did understand – although at a distance most couldn’t understand, and those close enough to hear, still couldn’t understand. And so, beneath veneers of cognizance, Negadawgs weren’t sure they understood.

But before they could think, another person stepped to the fore and began shouting even louder than the first person.

* * *

“Why don’t we do like what we did with Lambo [former Head Football Coach Jim Lambright]?!” shouted the next rabid dawgfan. And all the Negadawgs cheered.

“Romar?” questioned the man. “Just ‘can’ him! And if the next guy doesn’t work out, we can just hire someone else! And if HE doesn’t work out, we’ll replace him too, and we’ll keep doing this until we get someone who can’t win a game all season long, and then we’ll get rid of the president and the athletic director and the head of the alumni association until we start winning or something!” The man shook his harpoon and shouted, “Even if it takes ten years! I’m tired of this seagull [excrement].”

* * *

Well, children, as you might guess, the other Negadawgs thought about that and wondered if they really wanted to go through another ill-fated Rick Neuheisal-to-Tyrone Willingham experience. Many said nothing – but the expressions on their faces said, “No, we don’t want to do that.”

Then a middle school student stepped forward and began a rabid rant about historical Husky basketball.

* * *

“Why don’t we go back to what we had before Romar?! It must have been better then! Things past are always better! I remember when I was in the 1st grade. It was great!”

Older Negadawgs looked glum. They thought about Romar predecessors, and remembered Andy Russo went 36 – 36 in Pac-10 play, Lynn Nance went 22 – 50, and Bob Bender went 63 – 99. A return to the days of mediocre basketball wasn’t what the older Negadawgs had in mind.

In fact, it became evident none of the Negadawgs had anything in mind, at least nothing sensible. This made them angrier. It was bad enough that Coach Romar hadn’t won a single national championship during 10 seasons but the implication that the Negadawgs were mindless was more than their bruised ids could stand.

“We need to visualize something quickly!” an idealistic freshman shouted.

“Vizhilize a kiddie stroll on frosh pond, O’Reilly!” shouted a recent American Ethnic Studies graduate.

“Visualize my foot up your…”

* * *

Oh, then, children, a riot broke out as Negadawgs could no longer control their emotions, and lefts and rights and books and backpacks and running shoes and vegan food supplements and water bottles and seagull [excrement] – U-district seagulls very get emotional – filled the air until everyone came to their senses and settled down.

The Negadawgs decided that they should vote on what to do: whether to fire Coach Romar or give him more time. Since there was no hope for someone better if Romar was let go, and the Negadawgs had nothing to say about it anyway, the vote was overwhelmingly in favor of giving Romar more time. Quite oddly enough, Coaches Romar, Shaw, Fortier and Chillious knew nothing about any of this.

Meanwhile, the Negadawgs looked at one another as if they had accomplished something, as if they had proven something theretofore unproven. Each in his mind patting himself on the back, they began to go their separate ways, momentarily looking forward to next season, the Pac-12 championship series in Las Vegas and subsequent NCAA playoffs. Brackets are fun, they all thought. As that thought flourished in their minds, however, a venomous rejoinder crept in.

“But we’re Negadawgs! Negadawgs! We don’t have fun! Fie on fun!” they all shouted, angrily waving their torches and harpoons, feeling temporarily tricked. Each Negadawg adopted an appropriately angry scowl of scorn, turned and self-righteously stomped toward home.

And thus it was, children, that Coach Romar and his assistants returned for the next season, and the Negadawgs all lived unhappily ever after.

The End