Apple Cup rivalry heats up football fever

November 29, 2011

By Warren Kagarise

Theresa Schaap (right), city administrative assistant, keeps score as University of Washington and Washington State University fans face off in a pre-Apple Cup competition for city employees. By Greg Farrar

The faithful donned crimson and gray or purple and gold, depending on geography, history or loyalty — and sometimes, a combination.

University of Washington Huskies and Washington State University Cougars, all city employees, gathered in a City Hall conference room Nov. 23 to spend lunchtime trashing the other team and singing fight songs.

The pre-Apple Cup rally is a tradition at City Hall. The boasts and good-natured — maybe — insults started early in the week, but the cross-Cascades competition unfolded Nov. 26 at CenturyLink Field in Seattle. In the end, the Huskies triumphed, 38-21.

Clad in team sweatshirts and caps, employees deciphered football referee signals, answered trivia questions about the rival universities and snacked on tailgate-party-style foods.

The trash talk served as the appetizer.

“Do you know how to get rid of a Cougar at a party?” a UW fan asked. “Pay him for the pizza.”

Michelle Forkner, code compliance officer, started the event more than a decade ago, in the days she served as wellness coordinator at City Hall. The organizer nowadays is Administrative Assistant Theresa Schaap.

“Laughter is the best medicine you can have,” she said.

Schaap said the chance to unwind for a midday celebration is just as important to employee wellness as lessons about health problems.

The pre-Thanksgiving rally usually includes more Huskies than Cougars, UW supporters said, although in a fluke, the groups came evenly matched.

City TV Coordinator Tim Smith said the pre-Apple Cup rally last year set the standard. Employees held the event outside on the City Hall steps, decorated the eagle sculpture in the Huskies’ and Cougars’ colors, and attracted passers-by into the celebration.

Chai, a Woodland Park Zoo elephant, predicted the Cougars as the 2011 champions Nov. 22. The pachyderm prediction followed a success — Chai correctly picked the Huskies last year.

Odds favored the 6-5 Huskies against the 4-7 Cougars. Still, the Cougars at the celebration dismissed the idea of inevitable defeat.

“Go Dawgs. Go Cougars,” Schaap said. “May the best team win.”

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or Comment at


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