Can we turn the football game off, now?

Not having gone to UW or WSU, our writer thought she could make it through fall just fine. So what was she doing at a sports bar last Saturday?

I've always been uncomfortable during college football season in Washington. Although I was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, I didn't attend the UW or WSU, nor did my husband. We both went to Seattle University, home of tennis star Tom Gorman and the mighty Chieftains. Although SU excelled at basketball back in those days, they had no football team. So when it came time for such sporting events as the annual Apple Cup, I had to pick a team. Since I was from west of the mountains, I figured I was more Husky than Cougar. Plus, I liked the soft and cuddly Seattle dog a lot more than that snarly lookin' cat from Pullman.

Things ramped up on the gridiron front when our son went off to Boston College in the fall of '98 . We became instant Eagles, complete with a BC mouse pad. And for the past decade, I find myself checking the sports stats to see how the Chestnut Hill school is doing in football, basketball, or the infamous Beanpot hockey tournament that takes place every winter between Boston College, Boston University, Harvard, and Northeastern. Still, football was under control.

Then our son flew home for Thanksgiving from his life in New York City. Although I figured there would be some football activity over the long weekend, I wasn't expecting to spend four-plus hours in a Seattle downtown sports bar. Yup, on a Saturday afternoon, mom and dad and son whiled away the better part of the day at the Spitfire in Seattle. Formerly the Sit & Spin, the Belltown laundromat's washers and dryers have been replaced with nearly two dozen 42" widescreen LCD TVs that get 500 channels. Game time was 12:30 pm for the important match-up with the Maryland Terrapins at Boston College's Alumni Stadium. We arrived an hour early.

Now I've been to sports bars before, but never one quite this serious. Over at one end was a large group of Missouri Tigers ("Mizzou"). They had decorated their section to the nines, complete with crimson and gold pom-pons, all the more to heckle those Kansas Jayhawks. Off to the back of the sports bar, which looked like a special VIP room, were the much rowdier supporters of the Florida Gators who were in a battle against the Florida State Seminoles. These fans were into organized cheering, including that classic, "Two bits, four bits, six bits a dollar, everybody for the Gators stand up and holler!" And right next to us were a quartet of Clemson fans, some of them sporting Tiger orange, who went on to victory over the South Carolina Gamecocks.

Eventually, two other Boston College alums showed up, so there were now five BC fans. OK, only four. I couldn't fake total interest, so I stretched out in one of the comfy booths and read The New Yorker during the first half of the game and New York magazine in the second. And while the rest of my crew ordered brewskis and burgers, I indulged in Spitfire's homemade tortilla chips and guacamole along with a hand-shaken fresh fruit pomegranate margarita. Not exactly football fixins,' but what the heck — Boston College won.

Who needs the Cougs and Dawgs, anyway?

Sue Frause is a Whidbey Island freelance writer and photographer. You can reach her at sue@suefrause.com.


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