Two weeks ago we brought you an inside look at a fan’s perspective following the Huskies on the road. This week, we’ve started another series of Dawg Pack Road Trip chronicles, this time on the way to Corvallis to take on the Oregon State Beavers. Our guest author is Joseph Wood, a University of Washington student and Dawg Pack member.
Dawg Pack Road Trip, Part IV: Victory
By Joseph Wood
The start of the game is nearing and the arena is starting to fill up. Sadly Oregon State’s student section, the Beaver Dam, is still hardly capable of stopping any floods. Introductions start and we give our players the same treatment as if they were playing at home. OSU’s introduction come next, and the sparse crowd issues a pathetic cheer for each of the Beaver starters. Four voices in unison yelling “WHO CARES?!” penetrate the halfhearted support of the home crowd.
Tipoff, and the Dawgs look a little shaky early. The stronger-than-expected Oregon State start awakens the sleepy fan base. We have Husky fans to our left, but are mostly surrounded by orange-and-black emblazoned Beaver fans. The guy in front of us, an Oregon State fan, strikes up a conversation. He makes a point of telling us how Oregon State used to have a great basketball program; how their mascot, the infamous Benny the Beaver, can make half-court shots backwards; and goes on to detail an encyclopedia’s worth of other useless information that we do not care about.
As the game continues, we mix conversation with the usual Dawg Pack duties. A Darnell Gant rejection on the defensive end results in a rousing rendition of, “YOU GOT SWATTED,” from our group of four. We stand and yell on occasion, and hold back no emotion when the Huskies make a great play. So what if we’re on the road.
A sluggish first half turns into a spirited second half, as the Dawgs jump out to a comfortable lead. Out of respect for the Beaver fans around us, we quiet our cheering just a bit as the game gets further and further out of reach.
As if to signify our impending victory, reserve center Artem Wallace enters the game and promptly makes his way to his own personal version of hell, the free-throw line. With strained concentration and the look of a constipated baby trying to poo, Artem banks the first free throw. The crowd goes wild. Free-throw number two isn’t as pretty. Artem airballs the second charity shot by at least a good foot. The Beaver fans come back to life on an otherwise futile afternoon, joking with each other about what they have just witnessed.
The game concludes victoriously, and Justin Dentmon acknowledges our Husky cheering section as the teams line up to shake hands. We head down to the court and great Coach Romar with cheers as he heads to radio row for a post-game interview. He gives another fist pump and thanks us for coming.
As Beaver fans file out, the players begin to emerge slowly from the locker-room and make their way onto the court. The Dawgs walk with a swagger unseen from UW players in a couple years. Decked out in sweats, beanies, and ridiculous black sunglasses which turn out to be 3-D glasses from a movie the night before, the Huskies head over to mingle with their fans. After brief interaction with the players, we head for the exits ourselves, but not before running into Jon Brockman. He shakes hands with each of us, then thanks us for making the trip and supporting the team.
We make the long walk back to our car and begin the trek back to Seattle. With the smell of victory in the air, we cruise up I-5 in a speedy four-and-a-half hours. We arrive home around 2:30 in the morning. The journey has been amazing and as we settle back into normality, it’s hard not to feel great about this Husky team that is destined for special things. It’s our year. GO DAWGS!