special moment in Husky timeby Richard Linde,
3 May 2002
moment is but a scant period of time—seconds, minutes, say. Some moments we covet dearly, never letting go.
is your favorite moment in your timeline of Husky happenings? A sequence of
plays, a particular pass play, a long run for a touchdown?
have been a number of events in my timeline from which I could pick a favorite. There’s the drive that occurred at Stanford two years ago when Tui
led the Huskies back from what looked like certain defeat, completing three straight passes in a
matter of seconds. Or the time the Huskies let the Cougars score so Don
Heinrich could set a passing record. How about Willie Hurst’s burst and whirl
against Arizona not too long ago? Juxtaposed in time and years apart, there is
the touchdown run by Hugh McElhenny against Minnesota and Rich Alexis’ long
run against Purdue in the Rose Bowl. There have been so many.
moment in Husky history occurred last football season that is special to me
because I shared it with some fans that never lived to see another Husky game.
We were so naïve back then. Days later we lost our
innocence. As a Husky fan I never will be the same.
me set the stage. In early September we flew to Seattle for Picture Day and the
Michigan game. The next week we flew to Miami to join dawgman’s cruise.
the start of the season, some questions needed answering. The Huskies were
starting a new quarterback, Cody Pickett, and most of the offensive line had
weather was perfect for the Michigan game, the opening game of the season. A
sunny sky, the temperature near 70 degrees. There wasn’t an empty seat in the
for the moment.
ten minutes to go in a defensive struggle and ahead 12-6, the Wolverines are pounding away
at the dawgs, about to take a two-score lead—a field goal or touchdown sealing
the Huskies’ fate. Resigned to the loss, I leave my seat to take some
pictures of the stadium from its west side.
stadium's setting is the most unusual of any in America. Lake Washington is
viewable from any seat in the house, with the Cascades behind.
My breath is
taken away as I walk into this panoramic setting from the west side of the
stadium—it is surreal. In my peripheral view, thousands of purple-clad fans
float high in the air, hovering near the sidelines. Looking straight down the
field I can see the lake and a variety of boats docked for the game, about 5000
fans having come by water.
envy the fans seated in the north upper deck that have views of Mt. Rainier,
the Cascade Mountain Range and the Seattle skyline.
I remember an aerial photo I had seen of Husky stadium.
photo of Husky Stadium by Mary Levin.
| From high above, the stadium looks like a
gigantic seaplane with drawn-up purple wings—in my mind as I stand in
the tunnel, the ever-present noise from the 75,000 passengers are its engines
revving for launch.
Michigan lines up for a field goal, ready to take a 9-point lead. Seconds later the
unexpected happens. Omare Lowe
blocks the kick, and Roc Alexander scoops up the ball and races 77 yards for a
seaplane’s afterburners kick in, emitting a thunderous roar that reverberates
off its four wings. The deafening noise swallows the players and then the fans,
immersing us as one in the game. Television cameras mounted near the stands
shake in tune to stomping feet. The loud wailing siren is heard for miles
around. On campus, a few students—as I had in years long past—leave
the Suzzallo library and rush to the stadium below. The crowd is in the
game—a twelfth man on the field—and I know the dawgs will win.
intercepted pass run back for a touchdown seals the win a few plays later, and
in my mind, as I bask in the thrill of victory, the elegant seaplane takes off and
soars majestically above the surroundings for all to see. As it circles back,
darkness replaces light, in a tunnel of time, molding the past into to the
present. At the tunnel's end, the lushness of the University Golf Course is
dressed in vivid green. Spalding Dots "splat" to the tune of
Persimmon woods—the creaking floors of "Denny" and the smell
of old books, each embracing my senses. I look down
at the playground where I'd played soccer and football as a youngster—and the
mountain! We, the fans—its passengers—are flying with the old lady and immortality.
This story is dedicated to the memory of those 16 Husky fans
that flew to Miami and then into eternity; and also to those men and women of
our armed forces that defend our cherished freedom, partly so that we can enjoy these
And to the memory of Daniel Pearl (journalist, born October 10, 1963;
died January 31, 2002).
Photo above: Husky fans at the Gordon Biersch Brewery,
Miami, Florida, September 15, 2001.