Huskies and Ducks fans will meet Saturday at Husky Stadium to cheer on their teams and trade friendly – or unfriendly – barbs at one another.
The losing team’s fans will only have to deal with a little ribbing by the winning team’s faithful before everyone goes their separate ways.
That is, unless, you live in one of households where husband and wife are divided by their school allegiances. There’s no getting away from that.
“I don’t want him next to me with him looking like that,” said Husky fan Kayla Staples, talking about going to Saturday’s game. Her husband, Collin, will be wearing Oregon Ducks gear. “I don’t want to sit next to the guy, but I kind of have to.”
In most cases, the children of split loyalty parents get caught in the middle. Or, they learn how to make it work in their favor.
“She knows if she wants something from mom, she’ll pick Huskies. If she wants something from Dad, she’ll pick Ducks,” said Kayla about 3-year-old daughter Emmalynn.
Kayla and Collin live in Silverdale. Collin is in the Navy, assigned to the submarine USS Louisiana.
Kayla grew up in Spokane in another divided family. Dad was a Husky fan with lots of memorabilia. Mom was a Washington State Cougars fan. Kayla took after dad.
Collin grew up in Medford, Ore., and picked the Ducks over the Oregon State Beavers.
The couple got married 11 months after meeting at Collin’s sister’s wedding.
When Emmalynn came along, thus began the scramble for how to dress her on game day. She has cheerleader outfits for the Huskies and the Ducks. Whichever team is on TV, Kayla and Collin will dress her in that outfit. There have been plenty of Saturdays when she will wear one, then the other.
But what about on Washington vs. Oregon game days? Mother knows best.
“When they played each other, she only would wear Huskies because moms rule what their daughters wear,” said Kayla.
Going to school behind enemy lines
It was a similar situation in the home of Adam and Kirsten Lile. Dressing their kids on game days depended on which one of the parents woke up first.
“I’m the early riser, so most mornings, they were wearing Ducks stuff,” said Adam.
Growing up in Salem, Ore., Adam went against the grain of his friends and put his loyalty with Oregon instead of Oregon State. He moved to Seattle before graduating high school in 2000.
When it was time to choose a college, cheaper in-state tuition led him to UW. That's where his allegiance to the school ends.
“My loyalty to UW is a piece of paper that says ‘Bachelor’s Degree,’” said Adam.
Adam lived in a house on Ravenna Avenue with 12 other guys. His room was the only one that was plastered with Ducks gear. You have to remember that Adam was a Ducks fan back when they weren’t that good.
“I suffered through those years, so I’m going to live this up,” he said.
Kirsten is a third generation Husky from Mercer Island. Bricks from the old Meaney Hall, which was demolished following an earthquake in 1965, were used to build her grandparents’ home.
The couple met while at a camp in Canada for “Young Life,” a high school ministry.
Their daughter Taylor, 6, and son Jackson, 4, started developing their own loyalties a year ago. Taylor sides with mom now. She runs around the house throwing up the “W” with her hand. Jackson loves Oregon football. Adam says he “runs plays” in the living room.
A picture frame (or 7) paints a thousand words
Oregon has dominated the series for the last decade. UW grad Michael Russell is forced to live with that fact every single day in the Big Lake home he shares with wife, Danielle.
Danielle is an Oregon graduate. Each Christmas since 2007, she has made Michael a picture frame and included a photo of the couple from Washington-Oregon game days.
The frames are decorated with Husky and Duck logos.
Also on the frames: the final score.
“All these years we've been together and I have yet to feel the satisfaction of seeing a winning Husky score glued to the frame. This has to be our year!” said Michael.
Back at the Staples home, Husky fan Kayla learned the hard way that she may not have as much influence on little Emmalynn as she thinks.
“Go Ducks,” her daughter yelled while mom was on the phone.
“What?” Kayla responded in shock. “And dad’s not even home to influence her.”
After some gentle nudging, Emmalynn finally says “Go Huskies.”
“You’ll say that when dad comes home,” said Kayla.