UW fans prove to be obtuse geeks

  • John Sleeper / College Football Report
  • Sunday, November 19, 2000 9:00pm
  • Sports

We writers were heading down to the dressing room area for interviews Saturday in the latter stages of the Apple Cup and we passed by the covered, heated seating area reserved for University of Washington boosters and their families.

Apparently, the 51-3 score wasn’t good enough for many of them. Apparently, the Huskies hadn’t embarrassed Washington State sufficiently.

Because many in the box were stomping their feet and chanting, “58, 58, 58!”

They wanted one more touchdown. But then, would that really have been enough?

Area writers largely have avoided addressing the juvenile, boorish behavior displayed too often by those clad in purple. They don’t want the phone calls; the nasty notes; the threatening e-mail. Who really wants the headaches?

Allow me.

First, let me stress that I’m not condemning every fan who wears gold W’s and owns those purple caps with stuffed Husky faces on them. Most fans are upstanding, sober, enthusiastic fans who love their team.

Yet, too many insist that the purchase of a ticket or a several-thousand-dollar grant to the university buys the right to unleash obscenities, over-the-top aggression and other objectionable behavior at games.

Yo, guys. You’re an embarrassment. A joke. And the biggest joke is that you don’t even realize it.

How else to explain the scene at the team hotel hours after the game? A group of us had written our stories and went back to the hotel restaurant for a bite to eat. In from the hotel bar staggered a group of eight or nine purple-clad Neanderthals, tossing around as many high-decibel expletives as Drew Brees calls slant patterns.

These weren’t kids. They were in their 40s and 50s, maybe older.

And they were quite a sight. Obviously already having spent considerable time in the bar, they loudly ordered another round of martinis with dinner. God only knows why the server didn’t cut them off. Probably because she was reasonably certain no one was going to attempt to drive until at least late in the morning.

But the rolling eyes of the few patrons in the restaurant said volumes.

Really reflected well on the university.

Sure, you could make the argument that every team has a fan base with a small number of goobers whose sole aim in life is to call attention to themselves and aggravate others, especially their hosts. But I’ve gathered in the years of covering the program that its supporters have one of the worst reputations in the Pacific-10 Conference for geekdom.

Maybe the rep stems from the times that some of them gather around ticket booths at road venues and scream at those in line that they’re wasting time and money buying game tickets because their team’s gonna get their keisters kicked.

Maybe it’s from obscene, belittling posts on Internet message boards.

And who in the visitors’ section was throwing oranges onto the field Saturday?

I wrote a column in 1998 that defended then-Washington coach Jim Lambright, who was regularly getting lambasted by fans because his teams suffered the indignity of losing to Nebraska, Oregon and UCLA.

One respondent on my voice mail identified himself only as a well-heeled booster and informed me 1) that I was a moron, and 2) that Lambright had little chance of keeping his job, because, the caller said, “We OWN this town, kid.”

Is there an answer, a remedy for this? I think not.

In fact, the likelihood is that the arrogance and public sneering will only perpetuate and grow worse. After all, these people spawn. Then they teach their offspring the same behavior.

It’s too bad, too. Coach Rick Neuheisel has not only a team of great skill and entertainment value, but also one of very good character. The nation will find that out Jan. 1 at the Rose Bowl.

Unfortunately, a lot of it will be overshadowed by a lot of middle-aged delinquents who have all the sportsmanship, class and manners of Bob Knight.

It’s one thing to be an enthusiastic fan.

It’s another to be a jackass.

  • Ticket update: Washington will receive an allotment of 33,314 Rose Bowl tickets at $125 each. An announcement about when they will go on sale probably won’t come until at least after Tuesday, when Washington officials meet with Rose Bowl officials.

    Neuheisel said details about when the team leaves for the Rose Bowl and practice dates would be nailed down around Thanksgiving.

    Washington will be the home team and will wear purple jerseys.

  • Vontoure update: Neuheisel said cornerback Anthony Vontoure did not make the Apple Cup trip because he was stressed about surgery on an injured thumb and wasn’t ready to play. Vontoure was to have had surgery to repair a torn ligament and to remove a bone chip, but was so worried about the surgery that he initially decided not to have it.

    Neuheisel said he would not term Vontoure’s situation a suspension. He will have surgery today. His availability for the Rose Bowl in unknown.

  • Arnold, Hurst healing: Neuheisel said tailback Paul Arnold’s sore back probably will be rested sufficiently to allow him to resume practicing with the team in time for the Rose Bowl. Neuheisel said that, while Willie Hurst’s broken collarbone usually is a 6-8 week injury, he expects Hurst to be close to ready to go. Hurst grew up in nearby Compton, Calif.

    The Huskies did not sustain any new injuries in the Apple Cup game.

  • Revised stats: Tailback Rich Alexis was given 12 additional yards in the Apple Cup game after a look at the rulebook. He was given partial credit for a run on an option play on which he received a pitch from Marques Tuiasosopo 12 yards beyond the line of scrimmage. Under the rules, Alexis should have been given credit for the entire run.

    Alexis finished with 134 rushing yards, a career high.

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