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September 19, 2005
The Cougar Lounge - The Grambling-Bling Hangover
"As powerful as we think we are in intercollegiate athletics, we're not going to drop the price of oil."
- Former WSU and current Arizona athletic director Jim Livengood, lamenting the cost of travel while acknowledging he is not as powerful as an Arab sheik.
"It's a great honor if you're English, but it doesn't mean anything to anyone else in the world.
- Actor Michael Caine finally admitting that being knighted only gets you into the really good London parties and maybe an extra fish with your chips.
The Lounge no sooner arrived back from Reno [with a significantly lighter wallet] when we were sent packing again for what has evidently become the annual "Seattle Game" for the Cougar football season. Since the game was against Grambling State, propriety dictated we bring some special attire for the occasion - but our lime fedora with the hanging fuzzy balls was at the cleaners - so we were stuck with some bland threads. The actual football game was against Grambling State - a Division I-AA school from Louisiana - but that was merely the side show attraction. The main stage was reserved for the Mighty Tiger Marching Band - acknowledged as one of the best collegiate marching bands in the world. But after witnessing the Mighty Tigers in action, the Lounge is loath to label what the band does as "marching." Oh sure, there is some marching stuff in there, but the rest of it is, well, from our eyeballs, looks exactly like what people are doing when they are having pure fun. If you have to categorize it, maybe call it organized funk - if funk can be organized. There is the music - emphasizing percussion and horns - that ripples like waves throughout your body. Then there are the shiny, sparkly dance girls. Then there are gyrations. Multiple consecutive gyrations. If that powerful combo doesn't get your hormones doing an internal lambada, then you must seriously consider the possibility that you are not a human life form.
The band was not in the house 15 minutes before game time and there was some early trepidation that they were eaten alive by that notorious monster - Seattle game day traffic. The clock kept winding down to game kickoff time and their designated section remained band-less. But five minutes later, the band was single-filing their sequins into the section and the only remaining quandary was to figure out how to properly address the epaulet-laden band directors. The Lounge was open to suggestions but eventually settled on Captain Funkenstein, General Getting' Jiggy With It and Commodore Brick House. Since a significant segment of the crowd was there to see the "often imitated, never duplicated, super-complicated" band perform, halftime could not come fast enough.
When halftime finally did arrive - a magical thing happened. Thousands of people who normally cannot wait to get a crack at those overpriced concessions and crowded restrooms were willing to quell their appetites and cross their legs for 15 minutes as Grambling drum major Earl Henry hypnotized them with a high step showtime entrance to the middle of the field and christened the beginning of "The Show" with the trademark bending over backward move. From there it was an aural and visual sensory feast as the band went through the requisite marching band maneuvers as a prelude to breaking off the chains of precision and setting their dancing feet free.
Halftime was too short and it would be another couple hours before they would re-take the field for a Fifth Quarter rally where they were joined by the members of th eWazzu band for what had to be classified as the World's Largest Dance Lesson. Tubas were taught how to hip-hop, horns were schooled in booty-shakin' and everybody froze the frozen step to memory. In a month when Hurricane Katrina gave people of the Northwest only a tragic image of Louisiana, the number of smiles on the field that night may have been enough to transform at least a few of those mental images of Louisiana into positive ones. It was, however, truly a sad moment when the last Mighty Tiger band member entered the tunnel on their way out of the stadium.
"That band was great - they were bringing it to the table!" says an abnormally enthusiastic Ron Devious.
At first, the Lounge's ultra-sensitive emotional radar system, which we got from a yard sale, detected an underlying current of anxiety in the late second quarter as halftime approached. There was that discernible pre-show buzz of the crowd coupled with the apprehension about missing their chance at the concessions and restrooms. There was so much anticipation that it created an almost palpable sense of "it-better-be-good-to-justify-having-this-game-here-and-making-me-miss-my-halftime-ritual" vibe floating in the halftime air of the stadium. The overwhelming Lounge clientele consensus is here to say that the Mighty Tiger band and dance girls were not good - they were great! There is no doubt that isolated segments of some members of the curmudgeon clan will try to find something wrong to gripe about [perhaps saying that the announced 51k attendance was only 40 - but they were a heavily funktified 40 or 50k]. But this will go down as one of the most memorable non-conference events in the brains of Cougar fans and well-wishers.
"What about Jason Hill? Do you think he's going to break the school record for touchdown catches?" asks Question Mark.
Oh yeah, that's right, there was a game too, wasn't there? The Cougars grabbed the Tigers by the tail and didn't let go while receiver Jason Hill logged a few more touchdown catches on his way to eclipsing the career school record. The consensual concern of the Lounge clientele is not whether Hill is going to break more school records - if he stays healthy, that's as certain as a hillbilly losing his shirt on his first trip to Vegas. It's whether Hill will return for his senior year of eligibility as he peruses the eternal NFL Draft question - as proposed by The Clash - should I stay or should I go. There is much division among the Lounge clientele on this subject but we think we have in winnowed down into easy, bite-size portions. Basically, the Cliff's Notes version is - if you're projected as a first round pick, then you should CONSIDER going into the draft. If you're not projected as a first round pick - stay. Gee, wasn't that simple? Now if only the rest of life could be that simple.
Life really is that simple if you are a baby. In fact, it is even simpler than that. Babies don't have to worry about anything but eating, sleeping and - as all parents know - pooping. But now some adults want to use babies as human billboards so they have created Team Baby Entertainment, where their motto is "raising tomorrow's fan." The Lounge wasn't sure if that motto encompasses flipping off television cameras, verbally abusing the opposing team's players in warm-ups, throwing things at the other team's mascot or the officials and other in-game etiquette practiced by today's fans, but we do know that we feel sorry for the Baby Sooner girl.
Finally the Lounge Scientists announced that they have discovered a 10th planet in the solar system that is reportedly larger than both Pluto and the Grambling offensive line. The planet is farthest object yet seen in the solar system and has surface temperature of barely 100 degrees above absolute zero - making it colder than the shoulder given Martha Stewart at a stock investment seminar.
"It is almost as exciting as having a new baby!" says Lounge Scientist #63 Mike Brown, reputed to be a baby-producing astronomer at CalTech.
Almost? Well, that planet may be distant - but it could be a future college football fan - and what isn't exciting about that?
+++++++sponsored by Clark's Restaurant+++++++++
Attention COUGAR Fans! Summer is still here, the pool is out and now you're hungry. How can you afford to go one day further without some tasty morsels from Clark's Restaurant in Grays Harbor - home of the Best Hamburger in Twin Harbors for six consecutive years? Come in for the burger, fresh homemade fries and milkshakes concocted from homemade ice cream. Go ahead, we dare you to try and pass up more than 12 varieties of hamburgers to choose from, full dinners, lunch and full breakfast served daily. Clark's Restaurant 360.538.1487. Seven miles south of Aberdeen, Washington on Highway 101. Proud supporter of CougZone. Mention this ad for a free small hot fudge sundae.