But the people we play, their fans, love their schools, too. Why? Each week we’ll tell, starting today with Washington Alums Chris Landon and Brad Johnson who also write for our sister blog, UWDawgPound.
OTB: Why did you decide to go to Washington?
Chris: I opted for UW because Stanford wouldn't have me and because my parents were not open to the idea of me continuing living at home. That and the fact that UW provided me with outstanding options to explore my interests in both the arts and in economics at an affordable in-state price.
Brad: I grew up a Husky fan and near the University of Washington, but thought I might want to go away for school. It came down to the UW and Cal (Berkeley) after I was rejected by Duke, but after realizing that I really didn't know what I wanted to do with my life late in the process, I decided to take the much less expensive option.
OTB: Do you love UW now as an alum and why?
Chris: With gusto!
The combination of the quality of the university, the relationships that I have forged with alums and the ambience of Seattle / Montlake setting make UW a special place for me.
Brad: I absolutely love the UW to this day. The academics themselves are fantastic, it's a truly beautiful campus in an urban location, but my time there had a tremendous impact on my life outside of that that's probably more important. I have an extremely close group of friends that I made as an undergrad (plus a wife), and as cliched as it sounds, it's where I learned who I wanted to be as an adult.
OTB: Were you a sports fan while at UW ?
Chris: If I weren't, my friends couldn't tell.
Brad: I've been a UW sports fan as far back as I can remember, and was certainly a Husky as a student.
OTB: What was the best thing about being on campus? (e.g. location, the people, the food, whatever)
Chris: Washington has many unique attributes that make its campus among the most venerated in the U.S. My favorite, though I did not come to realize it until long after I had graduated, was the aesthetic of the "Fountain and the Mountain". As you walk southbound across the main plaza of campus (known as "Red Square" due to its all brick design - brilliant for a city as notoriously wet as Seattle), you'll come across the brilliant Drumheller Fountain. On those days that Seattle's weather cooperates, the view of the distant Mt Rainier lording over the fountain is a sight to behold. Students going about the everyday business of walking to class may not always appreciate it. But those of us who have moved on all come to understand the majesty of that scene. To this day, whenever I happen to be in town for a football game, I purposely park on the north side of campus specifically so that I may make that walk across Red Square and glimpse that very sight.
Brad: The best things were the people that I met there, and the opportunity to explore (at a relatively low cost) so many different academic avenues, and the exposure to thoughts and people and ways of thinking that I'd never had as a kid. And they eventually saw fit to give me a diploma, which is a huge plus.
OTB: What was the best thing to happen to you (or in general) while you were at Washington ?
Chris: I'm not sure about "best", but the fact that I graduated was most fortunate. That I did so in an employable state was pure luck.
I feel blessed to have fostered such a passion for both my university and its athletics while I studied there. It was that passion that fueled my interest in my blog www.UWDawgPound.com. I covet the work I do there and all of the relationships it has spawned.
OTB: Tell me one or two really cool or important things about the city of Seattle ?
Chris: Visitors rarely have heard about "the Troll". In the neighborhood of Fremont, a sculpture known as the Fremont Troll sits under the Fremont Bridge. He watches, with his one good eye, over what was once a dilapidated part of a neighborhood locals love to visit him, climb on him and ponder the meaning the VW Beetle (with California plates) clutched in his mighty hand.
Brad: Cool or important things about Seattle....It's there, so I guess that's a plus. I-5 (the major north/south access through the city) reducing to two lanes underneath the Convention Center in the heart of down town serves as quite likely the worst example of urban planning in the history of the universe. Any city that needs to see an example of what not to do need only look here.
OTB: How does/did UW make you feel a part of the school as an undergraduate? How about now as an alum?
Brad: My connection to the UW is pretty much life-long; I can remember walking through campus back when I counted my age on less than two full hands with my dad on the way to football games and learning the names of the buildings and landmarks. It seemed like miles back then. Because it was, as it turned out. As an undergrad, it's the people that I've met, the shared memories of our time living there, and the stupid stories that inevitably come up again and again as our wives roll their collective eyes when we get together.
OTB: How important is it to you personally being a graduate of Washington ?
Brad: Had I ended up going someplace else for school, I imagine I'd probably have similar feelings for whatever school that may have been. But since I went to the University of Washington, I take a great deal of pride in being an alum. I have very fond memories of my time there, and love the opportunity to visit today and show my own kids around the campus.
Chris and Brad certainly seem like loyal Husky fans and UDub seems pretty cool, too. We want to thank them for their time (Chris was flying over Europe when he responded!) and wish Chris a safe trip home.
And now you know at least some of why folks love Washington.
RU-UW: Four days away!