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’Sup, dawg? (Get it? We’re dogs.)

Spike from Spokane here. Oh man, I’m so excited that my Gonzaga Bulldogs and your Washington Huskies are finally facing off on the basketball court again that I’ve been running in circles for a week! True, the official renewal of our home-and-home rivalry doesn’t begin until the 2016–17 season, but the swell folks at the Battle for Atlantis tournament sure did Washington state basketball fans a solid by scheduling our squads to play in the opening round. See you in the Bahamas on November 25, buddy!

How have you been? I still see Butch T. Cougar every year, but our owners haven’t set up a basketball playdate for us since 2006. I hope it isn’t because Gonzaga won eight of the previous nine meetings. I mean, some might consider husky beating to be cruelty to animals, but coach Mark Few is no Michael Vick, I promise.

I’ve been extra busy since we last hung out, between all of Gonzaga’s national TV games, earning the No. 1 ranking in 2013, and making sure the Kennel Club at McCarthey Athletic Center is always more wild than a rabid me. But over the last few years when I’ve curled up in my doggy bed at night to watch SportsCenter, I’ve seen fewer and fewer Huskies highlights. I’ve gone with my owners to 17 straight NCAA tournaments—even got a new travel crate!—but Butch says coach Lorenzo Romar has kept you chained up and away from the Big Dance the past 20 years! (Or three seasons in human terms.)

I miss us. Even if your teams were often more bark than bite, the atmosphere at our games was electric. We brought out the best in each other. Those showdowns featuring our stars, like Adam Morrison, Dan Dickau, and Ronny Turiaf, and Huskies Brandon Roy and Nate Robinson were more fun than a tennis ball on the beach! My owners told me they wanted to revive the home-and-home series in 2009, but your owners would only meet up if every game was at that “neutral” Seattle dog park you guys call KeyArena. And did you catch state senator Mike Baumgartner’s bill last year that would’ve forced you to play us? I heard that he said, “If the Huskies are too scared to play GU of their own accord, the legislature ought to pass a law to give them some courage.” That’s pretty ruff. (Haha. ’Cause we’re dogs). It did make me wonder, though: Are you scared of me for some reason? It’s not like I’m Fourth of July fireworks. I know you huskies are a proud breed—noble Iditarod champs and whatnot—but your UW owners have been making you look like the feline known better by its scientific name Scaredy catus. (Sorry to drop the c-word.)

If I seem extra passionate, it’s just that basketball season’s return has got me so fired up! Coach Few finally took us to the Elite Eight last season, and we return the best frontcourt in the country for 2015–16 in Kyle Wiltjer, Przemek Karnowski, and Domantas Sabonis. I’m sure you’ve got a lot to look forward to as well. Hey, your leading scorer last year—Nigel Williams-Goss—is a terrific little guard. Oh wait…he transferred this off-season and is a Zag now. Woof.

I want to help you, buddy! UW basketball needs Gonzaga. I know Seattleites have a superiority complex with regard to all things Spokane, but I really do think it’s going to be great for us to once again square off on the court every year. Just imagine how much more exciting it’ll be when we’re both nationally ranked. Someday. The Bulldogs have long been the big dog in the Washington college basketball yard, and you’ve become the old dog. So don’t become a stereotype—learn some new tricks!

See ya on the court,

Spike the Bulldog

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