PULLMAN, Wash. — It had been more than 650 days since fans were allowed to fully have the Washington State University Cougar football experience. During Labor Day Weekend, Cougs made up for the lost time.
In the RV lot just across from the Martin Stadium, community members barbequed, played cornhole and just reminisced on their upbringing
"I've been a WSU fan since the age of three," Parker Lutz said. "That's my best estimate."
He has gone to Cougar football games for about 25 years. His family bleeds crimson and gray, so when COVID-19 hit the Pullman campus, it was the first year the family didn’t have the same enthusiasm for the games.
"Last year was awful," Steve Lutz, Parker's father, said. "COVID was bad enough, but then they shut down everything, there were barely any games."
Fans haven’t been allowed in the Martin Stadium for nearly two years, changing the Lutz family tradition of always coming to the RV Park on Thursday, tailgating until the game, cheering on the team from the stands and finishing off the weekend with a drive home to Wenatchee on Sunday. But with the COVID vaccine helping to keep people safe, events started to open back up.
"The excitement of coming back, it's not just about rooting for a team that you enjoy rooting for," Parker said. "It’s the community, it’s the people, it’s the food, it’s the band, it’s the cheering, it's Butch! It's all these things, it's the campus, it's all these things that really make Cougar football a unique and special kind of experience."
The camaraderie around the RV Park and the campus clearly showed. Everyone was intermingling, sharing food and playing games with one another.
"I don’t think you can get the same kind of experience at like UDub,” he laughed.
WSU has some COVID protocols, but they are nothing like the previous season. If vaccinated, someone only needs to wear a mask when they are in indoor spaces. If they aren’t, they have to wear a mask whenever they are on campus. WSU will not be requiring proof of vaccination.
"It’s a minor inconvenience, but I'm happy to be back in Pullman rooting for the Cougs once again," he added.
The family hoped the team would pull off the win against the Utah State Aggies, but they said it will be amazing regardless because they are back at WSU.