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Monday, October 20, 2008

Seattle Football Game

Drove up to Seattle this weekend to watch a football game between the University of Washington Huskies and the Oregon State University Beavers, and to visit with darling daughter. A friend of ours is an alumni of OSU, our daughters are long time friends and they both attend UW, so it seemed like a fine idea.

The stadium is U-shaped with open end of the U facing East towards Union Bay. Our seats were in the bottom of the U right near the top row, so we had a view past the jumbo-tron of the boats out in the bay. The stadium is huge. It dwarfs Autzen stadium in Eugene (72,000 to 54,000), which is where my son goes to school. The Beavers are from Corvallis.

The Huskies have not been doing too well this season, and the Beavers clobbered them pretty good. For example: the Huskies completed a long pass to the one yard line, but in the next four plays they could not move the ball into the endzone. Final score was 34 to 13.

There was another play where they attempted a field goal from the hash marks. I know perspective can sometimes distort your view of things seen from a distance, but it looked to me like the kicker wasn't compensating enough for being so far left of center, and sure enough the ball went left of the goal posts.

I'm not much of a football fan. I find it difficult to follow the game. There is some action, and then there is a delay before the next play, and during that delay my mind wanders, so half the time I don't even see the next play come off. On top of that I was tired from my morning's foray into the briar patch and I ended up watching many of the plays on the jumbo-tron instead of on the field. Easier to see, it's brighter.

The OSU contingent occupied an entire sector of the bottom of the U and could be easily identified by their bright orange clothes. I estimate they took up 10% of the U (the lower level), and maybe 6% of the entire stadium. The picture may have been taken during another OSU game: you can see the orange contingent in the same section of the stadium. Outside of the UW student seating and the OSU contingent, the stadium was about half full.

It was a beautiful day (much like the picture above). The weather was cool when the game started but by the time the fourth quarter rolled around it was cold. I had thought about bringing extra clothes, but I thought, naw, I have been overprepared too many times. No one else is bringing extra stuff, if it gets cold we can all freeze together. The worst part was the dang blasted aluminum seats. Another example of corporate bean counters saving a few long term pennies for the corporation and the people get it in the shorts, literally. Whoever came up with this idea should be forced to sit on these things in freezing weather for eternity.

Two biggish orange helicopters flew through the stadium prior to the start of the game. We joked they were OSU choppers, but I think they were probably Coast Guard choppers.

The marching bands were a big improvement over our local high school band. They played loud military marching band music. I could hear them, mostly. And they did not have these fancy percussion instruments sitting on the sidelines. The only thing that wasn't marching were the directors. They had five or six or them standing on ladders placed all around the field. That isn't really kosher in my book, but I suppose it's tolerable.

We stayed to the bitter end. The Husky fans started bailing after half time and come the fourth quarter there was a continuous stream of them heading for the exits.

I don't really understand why other people enjoy football games so much. I find they are most interesting when the outcome is in doubt, when you have two teams that are evenly matched and the score is close enough that either team could end up winning. In the case where one team has established so large a lead that the outcome is no longer in any real doubt, I lose interest. Okay, sure, there have been the rare cases where the dominate team has fallen on their faces and underdogs have rallied and come out victorious, but those cases are few and far between. So why continue a game whose outcome is no longer in doubt?

Once upon a time a man asked Conan The Barbarian what is best? And Conan's reply was: To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women! It's a paraphrase of Genghis Khan, but I think there is something here. It is not enough to just prove yourself better than your enemy, but to drive them into the ground so they are no longer a threat.

Genghis Khan: It is not sufficient that I succeed--all others must fail.

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