Tag Archives: Gonzaga

Cougars are ours and you can’t have them

Mountain Lion. Puma. Catamount. Lion of the Andes. Panther. All different names for the same thing: But unlike Death Cab for Cutie, none of those are authentically Washington. You see, out where I’m from, that critter you see above is called a cougar.

Although aware of the existence of those many alternatives, I actually went years thinking “cougar” is a relatively common term. It certainly helps that it has taken on a strong secondary connotation in pop culture. So imagine my astonishment when I took the New York Times’ Dialect Quiz about a year ago and discovered that the name is pretty much endemic to Washington:

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Trojan horse in California

I don’t follow Cardinal football, but I do know a few things about the program: Jim Harbaugh was probably a horrible person when he coached in Palo Alto, Doug Baldwin and Richard Sherman both played for him there, the team mascot is a tree, and the school has a rivalry of some sort with USC.

In other words, basically everything I know about the Stanford football team either dates from my one visit to the school, or can be credited to my following the Seahawks.

This post focuses mainly on Stanford’s rivalry with the USC Trojans, which I’m definitely not making up, regardless of whether you measure the rivalry in terms of longevity —

a rivalry between the Pac-12’s private California schools that dates back to 1905

–  USC, Stanford ready to renew rivalry, AP 9.15.2012

— or in terms of recent animosity:

Stanford-USC has provided us with some of the most entertaining football — not just college football, but football — over the past half-decade.

– Stanford, USC have recent history of havoc, ESPN 9.13.2012

So it was that I came across something peculiar while watching the latest installment of former Cardinal Doug Baldwin’s Fresh Files. He is training over the offseason at the practice facilities of his alma mater, and decided to interview former teammate Jonathan Martin inside the Cardinal locker room:

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