Should Coug Fans Boycott Dissmores?

Full disclosure: I love Dissmores.

The epicenter of Pullman’s Friday night beer runs and more reasonably priced alternative to Safeway, Dissmores has been a local institution for ages. When my Dad and I traveled down to Pullman during the 1997 season, the first sight we saw coming into town on Highway 27 was Bryan Hall Clocktower. The second: the 90s-inspired colored shapes and the red glowing lights of the Dissmores facade. We knew we had made it to Pullman.

And the people of Dissmores: awesome. I know from personal experience. And not just because Dissmores has become something of a de facto training ground for future College of Pharmacy students.

So why, then, would I walk into Dissmores on a sleepy Saturday in Pullman and see crimson and gray colored t-shirts displayed prominently inside the front door with this phrase:

“DON’T COUG IT!”

What. The. F***.

I’m sorry, Dissmores. There are only four reasons I can see for making this abomination of a t-shirt, only one of which I’m OK with (#3):

1. To sell t-shirts to Coug fans who will buy anything in any shade of red or gray with “coug” on it.

2. To anger Coug fans and inadvertently get word of mouth promotion. Remember, there’s no such thing as “bad press”. Why do you think SportsCenter still goes nuts over Terrell Owens?

3. To show that Coug fans have a sense of humor and can laugh at themselves, even over fourth quarter meltdowns by the football team.

4. To sell shirts to Husky fans.

Regarding #4, honestly, if I’m a Husky fan and I walk into the ‘smores on Apple Cup weekend, that shirt is the very first thing I buy. I don’t care what color it is.

Case in point: I was visting the U-district in Seattle with my fiancee and some friends. I had one goal when visiting the student bookstore: find one of those “all dirt roads lead to Pullman” bumper stickers. I didn’t care that it was purple with gold lettering. I loved it. It was funny and I actually take some pride in the fact that Pullman is in the middle of freaking nowhere (side note: it isn’t).

But this is different. This is like a QFC or whatever the heck they have in the U-district displaying purple and gold T-shirts that say “I support Jerramy Stevens”. Maybe not that bad, but you get the point.

This is Coug sacrilege. Ever since the nightmare that was the 2002 and 2003 Apple Cups, our sports teams have been trying desperately to erase the phrase “coug it” from the northwest vocabulary. And they’ve succeeded. Three out of four Apple Cups. Seven basketball wins in a row over the Huskies. Instead of being the team collapsing late in the game, we’re making other teams do it (I’m looking your way, Baylor football and basketball). “Coug it” is starting to go the way of the dodo bird.

Let’s think about just how big that phrase had become: it is on urban dictionary [link NSFW]. It has its own f-ing wikipedia page. Every time the Cougs lost any meaningful game, the following post (or a variation of it) could be found within minutes on the Cougfan forums:

“Haha you coogs cooged it LOL”

And it’s ridiculous. Every team in the history of the world has blown games. Even good teams. The NFL dynasty of the decade just did it in January. The 2001 Mariners blew what I remember now as a 27 run lead to the Indians in a regular season game. The Huskies have done it in 2 of the last 3 Apple Cups. I don’t see a shirt that says “don’t dawg it”. The Yankees (26 championships) did it to the 2001 Diamondbacks (0 championships). So saying only the Cougs blow games is both stupid and wrong.

And for those of you who think I’m blowing this out of proportion – I’m not. I don’t seriously think we should boycott Dissmores. I still love the place. I still highly recommend the Deli, bakery and well-stocked alcohol section.

However, if you buy that shirt, I will punch you in the face. If you have a friend that buys that shirt, they deserve to be punched in the face. It’s a nuisance of a shirt, and if you wear it to a football game I can only hope Andy Mattingly comes at you afterwards with a frying pan (too soon?). It’s quite possibly the worst t-shirt in the history of the world. Or at least second to the Ramones t-shirt that is currently being desecrated by tween-age pop starts.

When we propagate the mentality that “Coug it” is an OK phrase, that it is something specific to WSU, we make our school look worse and our teams lose confidence. It’s a mental thing. If you don’t think you can close out a game, you won’t. Look at poor Byung-Hyun Kim. In 2001 he was an up-and-coming talent in relief pitching. Two home runs in two consecutive world series games later, his career began a downward spiral to nowhereville. On March 25th of this year, he was cut by the Pirates. Think about that for a second.

So please: don’t buy this shirt. Or the hats. Yes, there are hats. Someone, presumably a “coug fan”, actually designed them.

The only reason the shirt might be OK is that third reason listed above, an even that doesn’t cut it for me. And I hope that was the reason, because it’s the only excuse that I’m willing to give to the designer.

Or buy it, and burn it. Actually wait a bit to burn it because we’ve had some problems with fire in the greater Spokane region recently. Either way it makes a great base of ashes.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to wash my eyes out. And then cleanse them by watching this:

By the way, on any player outside of the quarterback, that’s a clean hit.

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SterkChat!

As you know, the kids today love the interweb, and AD Jim Sterk took full advantage of it by conducting an online chat at WSUCougars.com yesterday. In it, he talks candidly about the future of Martin Stadium, the challenges the program faces (hint: it’s $$$) and why the mighty Portland State Vikings find themselves on the schedule for the Cougs this fall.

The beauty of these chats (for Sterk in this instance) is that the moderator can skip over any questions that the person chatting doesn’t want to answer. Some topics may very well have been off-limits for the chat, although there’s no way to know which issues were censored.

But give Sterk credit. He does a very good job of answering some intriguing questions, especially regarding the Pac-10 and the conference’s often-criticized TV deals:

Bruce Johnson (Virginia Beach, WSU ’74): Jim – My sincere thanks for your stewardship of our Athletic Department. Your enthusiasm, vision and dedication to our University is unequaled in my time. My questions are first…what is the liklihood of PAC-10 expansion? (Or is 10 teams optimal?) Second…I question the TV contracts for PAC-10 football and mens/womens basketball. At a glance, they don’t seem to be as favorable as the contracts for other conferences (u$C being the notable exception). Are the conference TV contracts receiving any attention, with thought being to enhance coverage/viewership? Thanks, and GO COUGS!

Jim Sterk: Bruce, I do not see any expansion of the Pac-10 in the foreseeable future. The expansion that took place in other conferences was driven by the opportunity to capture more revenue from TV contracts and/or conference championship games. Four years ago, I was on the TV committee for the Pac-10 and asked an ABC vice-president whether the Pac-10 should be looking to expand or whether it would be a financial boost to current members. He did not think it would. In responding to your second question, the contracts for the Pac-10 in football and basketball were negotiated three years ago. We are in our second year of a five-year agreement. At that time, we explored all options and ESPN came in with ABC for football to hold our primary rights. We retained FOX as our secondary rights holder in football. In basketball, FOX was the primary cable network that was interested in broadcasting a complete season, as well as maximizing conference revenue.

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The Elusive National Championship

If you’re like me, you’re hoping the Cougars can take home a NCAA title in something this year. Well, the best chance belongs to the #4 Washington State women’s rowing team, who qualified for the NCAA championships on Tuesday.

In terms of the “major” sports, it’s been a long drought, but here’s how I rank the chances of a title for the Cougs’ squads going into the future:

Men’s basketball
Baseball
Women’s basketball
Football

Men’s basketball has the lead, for obvious reasons. Baseball has the advantage of a wacky postseason, in addition to the very good recruiting work by coach Donnie Marbut. Women’s basketball will be on its way with Daugherty’s first class coming in.

As for football…. well, this is the hardest title to win for us, especially being in the same conference as USC. Add to that the poor state of the program under Doba, and Wulff has some rebuilding to do before we begin thinking of anything big. It’s worth noting that I think a football title is the most coveted among Cougar fans, but I have a feeling we’ll take one in basketball too.