All the time full of emotion and drama, the annual Apple Cup soccer recreation between the College of Washington and Washington State College arrives Saturday with an fringe of uncertainty past the straightforward query of whether or not the Cougars can spoil the Huskies’ excellent season report. Everybody watching the sport will marvel how for much longer can it go on?
With the Huskies becoming a member of the exodus of groups from the Pac-12 and shifting to the Large Ten Convention subsequent yr, there was motive to imagine the 2023 Apple Cup may very well be the final. At a press convention final week, UW Athletic Director Troy Dannen raised the anxiousness stage amongst native faculty soccer followers when he hinted on the difficult Large Ten priorities — learn that as cash — may make it not possible to suit WSU into future recreation plans.
When newcomer Dannen had just lately arrived on the town from Tulane College, he may not have recognized he was disrespecting a beloved, 123-year-old regional sports activities custom, however UW President Ana Mari Cauce understood. She instantly leaned into the microphone to guarantee everybody that one thing can be resolved. And final weekend it was – an all however performed deal to maintain the Apple Cup working for at the least one other 5 years.
Possibly it’ll proceed for 10 years, possibly much more. However will it ever be the identical? And does it matter?
The then-unnamed Apple Cup did not begin till 1900. UW had been based in 1861, however Washington had solely been a state for 11 years and the small faculty in Pullman had been round for less than 10. Muddy Denny Area at UW was the positioning of the 5- 5 draw and extra individuals could have come to the sport through horse and buggy than automotive.
It was a time when in-state competitions meant all the pieces, an period of true pupil athletes, lengthy earlier than sports activities turned a multibillion-dollar business. Though faculty athletics has modified fully since its chilly beginnings, a touch of the outdated aesthetic stays. It is nonetheless about generations of scholars and alumni packing a stadium on a Saturday afternoon to cheer on the one group on the town that may’t be purchased by a billionaire and moved to a different metropolis.
Besides it isn’t at all times Saturday afternoon, if the TV sports activities networks dictate in any other case. And whereas the group cannot be bodily moved, it will possibly search better monetary and reputational rewards by leaping to a richer convention centered within the Midwest.
I am a child from the West Coast, and I like that this aspect of the nation has loved long-simmering intercollegiate athletic rivalries up and down the 1,200 miles from Puget Sound to Santa Monica Bay. Driving 1,200 miles east will go away you 146 miles from the primary of the present Large Ten faculties, the College of Nebraska. Attending to the remaining is a for much longer journey, and UW athletes can be coping with numerous jet lag within the coming years as they compete in unfamiliar places three time zones away.
Like many individuals round these components, I’ve combined emotions concerning the Huskies’ transfer to the Large Ten. The cruel actuality of school sports activities economics makes it look like a obligatory transfer if UW desires to be a perennial contender for a nationwide soccer title. However, is it that necessary? Harvard and Yale appear to be doing simply high-quality with their soccer glory days within the distant previous.
As a graduate of the UW, I’m proud that my alma mater has risen into the highest tier of world-class universities. It is one thing actually necessary and necessary to the way forward for this metropolis and this state. However is having a nationally ranked soccer group important and necessary? Certain, it is type of cool, however may we danger shedding only a little bit of our rain-soaked Northwest soul if we too desperately chase the fleeting prize of a faculty soccer championship?
Two issues are plain: change is inevitable and traditions disappear. A couple of years down the road, if the Huskies have crushed Ohio State and are ranked No. 1 nationally, all these doubts can be forgotten and becoming a member of the Large Ten can be seen as a genius transfer. However for at present I say go Huskies! Go Cougars! And Apple Cup, keep a bit of longer.
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