The Ritzville Adams County Journal - Eastern Adams County's Only Independent Voice Since 1887

By Dale Anderson
Sports Columnist 

Worst Seat In The House: Good memories

 

December 20, 2018



If you have been following along with this column you would know that I’ve been traveling to Cheney to watch the NCAA FCS football playoffs. And if you have paid attention you would also know that the Eagles will be headed to Frisco, Texas in January where they will play powerful North Dakota State.

Last Saturday the Eagles dominated a big Maine Black Bear team 50-19 on the red turf at Roos Field. This was a very satisfying win for any EWU fan to appreciate.

In the last 10 years, Eastern has had the most success of any collegiate football team in the state of Washington winning conference championships and playing in five semi-final games and winning two of those. They play an exciting brand of football and I am a proud season ticket holder.

Last week I started paying real attention to the date of the semi-final game with Maine. It was set for December 15. This date has a lot of meaning to me as it was on December 15, 1987 that my father, Dan passed away.

This is a memorable day but I’m not going to get all misty eyed and blubber about missing out on stuff because of his passing. My dad was 80 and frankly wore out. And honestly, there isn’t a day that goes by that I won’t think about something he said, a joke he told or remembering how hard we worked on the farm. But I also know we didn’t work as hard as he did when he was growing up on the same farm.

The one thing that I am very grateful for are the trips we made to Cheney to watch Eastern Washington State College play football in the late 1960’s at Woodward Field. It is on the same site as Roos Field located today only the seating is better and the late season grass field that was torn to shreds was replaced with red field turf.

In the fall of 1967, we got to see a great football team that went undefeated until the NAIA championship game played in Morgantown, West Virginia. Eastern fell 28-21 to Fairmont State College of West Virginia. Can you say home field advantage or at least a very short trip in comparison.

That fall I got to enjoy the Anderson family version of tailgating. We would make our way to Spokane and dad would go into Domini’s and get our specific order of sandwiches to take to Cheney and eat before kickoff. What a treat and the games were pretty good as well.

It was during these games that I took a real liking to Eastern and years later I would go back to school and receive my degree. I still went to the games and have been able to rekindle those fond memories of Saturdays in Cheney.

Things have changed a lot as the school left the NAIA and become a member of NCAA Division I FCS, meaning Football Championship Subdivision, a fancy name that means the postseason is not spent playing in a bowl game but in a true playoff format. Eastern played their third game of the playoffs last Saturday.

Since 2010, EWU is the only Big Sky team that has played in a semi-final or a championship game. They won it all in 2010 and are back in 2018 to hopefully win it all again. It has been a great run for EWU with backups filling in for injured players and stepping up making plays.

I thank my dad for taking me to those games in Cheney over fifty years ago now. Those are some great memories indeed. It was a lot of fun then as it is now. And I can tell you that my dad would have just loved this Eastern team as much as I do!

 

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