By Sarah English/For The Independent
You give your child roots, and then wings, and then they grow Cougar paws when those wings take them to college at WSU in Pullman. For some dads, seeing their child going off to school is a proud—perhaps even expected—stage of growing up. For some dads it’s even sweeter, when their offspring goes to their alma mater and, like them, pursues similar dreams.
This is the case for three of the Cougars’ football players, who got to celebrate Dads Weekend with a decisive win (69-7) over Arizona, a win their former Cougar-athlete fathers can appreciate. Left tackle Andre Dillard’s father, Mitch, played offense for the Cougars in the mid-1980s. Linebacker Isaac Dotson’s dad, Michael, received All-American honors as a wrestler in the early-1980s. Fellow linebacker Peyton Pelluer’s dad Scott (linebacker, late-1970s), grandfather Arnie (end, mid-1950s), and great grandfather Carl (flanker, 1920s) all played for the Crimson and Gray. One of the Dads Weekend changes that these fathers may have experienced when they were students was the (brief) combining of this event with Moms Weekend to form Parents Weekend, so both folks could watch them compete.
Loon Lake resident and former horse jockey Brian Eide had an idea what college life is like for soccer-playing daughter Shelby (expected WSU class of 2018) even before attending Dads Weekend. Not only does he understand the need to take time to train along with studying, but he also knows what living on the Palouse can be like, having spent many years in neighboring Colfax. Being so close to the university he also knew that Sports Management, which both Shelby and her brother Blake study, is a strong program. “We had always heard good things about WSU,“ Brian said, and that, too, helped him to be comfortable with his kids’ decision to become Cougars.
This weekend was his fifth WSU Dads Weekend. It’s an annual event he looks forward to since son Blake (WSU class of 2016) was a freshman. Even with the pumpkin drop from the top of 14-story Webster Hall, an exciting football game, and fun at the bowling/entertainment center/hangout Zeppoz, his favorite thing about Dads Weekend is spending time with the kids. “It is a great feeling when you go and you see their accomplishments,” Brian said. “They make [the adventure of raising them] all worth it and you are so proud of them,” he added.
Lucky for him—and Blake and Shelby—he makes it to Pullman at least once a month, usually to cheer on Shelby on the soccer field. “College is very hard and we do anything we can do to motivate them. I think visiting is the best, but the kids do love their care packages they get!” Brian shared. Blake and Shelby both appreciate the gift cards, home-made treats and notes of encouragement that bring a little bit of Northeast Washington to the Palouse.
Brian’s preferred spot in Martin Stadium is in the student section, “seeing how excited the Cougar students get.” Admittedly Brian can get a little excited about Cougar football, too. He predicts a Cougar victory in the Apple Cup and thinks there is “a very good chance” he will be cheering on the Cougs come January 2. He’s been to Pasadena many times as a jockey at Santa Anita Park, but for the new year he’ll gladly trade horse flesh for pigskin for the Cougs.