Doug Clark: Eastern Washington football needs alumni band members
Secret negotiations have been going on at the very highest levels of Eastern Washington University concerning my eligibility for returning to the EWU band during the football playoffs as a redshirt, I mean red-faced, trumpet-tooter.
Which is to say that I called up Eastern director of bands Patrick Winters on Monday and left a voicemail message that, to paraphrase, was essentially …
“Can I play again? Please, Patrick? Please. I’ll be better this time. All right. That’s a lie. I haven’t played my horn since the last time you let me into your band.
“But I could just sit there and pretend to play. That’d be OK, wouldn’t it Patrick?
“Huh, Patrick? Huh?”
I’m not too proud to beg when so much is at stake.
Consider the following three factors:
• This year’s EWU football team is 8-0 in Big Sky play.
• Picked as third seed in the 24-team playoffs, my alma mater has an honest shot at winning another national title.
• All those football statistics don’t mean beans compared to giving this over-the-hill former member of the Eastern band another chance to relive his glory days.
The glory days of the 2010 season, that is.
With many band members away on Christmas break, alumni players like me were allowed to join the band during the playoffs at home and then join the full band on a trip to Texas for the Big Enchilada.
Magic is the only word to describe what happened that January day in 2011.
Not only did the Eagles beat the Blue Hens of Delaware by coming from waaay behind, but Winters somehow found a band uniform big enough to cover my wide behind.
Not to overplay my importance, but everyone at EWU should try to answer the following Jeopardy question:
How many national football titles have the Eastern Eagles won WITHOUT Clark playing in the band?
“Alex, would that be none?”
So from a superstitious standpoint, it’s obvious the Eagles need me like never before.
Now there has been some email chatter about letting alumni players into the band for the playoff game on Dec. 20 or 21.
But here’s the rub.
Should the top seeds continue to win, Eastern would play that game not on the red turf of Cheney’s Roos Field, but in Eastern Illinois.
I don’t know if the band will be going. But even if it is, the only way my editor would spring for that sort of travel is if I promised to stay in Eastern Illinois.
So I made the call to Winters to offer my, um, Flubber-lipped service.
He called back a few hours later to tell me that the plan for Dec. 20/21 was still in place.
Winters said I could join the band for the home quarterfinal game on Dec. 13/14 if I brought him coffee when he wanted and didn’t spill any on him.
Oh, and I can bring my cornet, too. Just don’t try to play too many actual notes.
I told Winters I’d be glad to lecture the band on what their futures look like, using myself as an example.
“We don’t want them to drop out of school,” the director said.
OK. Scratch that.
So my triumphant return to the band all boils down to Dec. 7, when the Eagles, who have a bye this weekend, host either South Dakota State or Northern Arizona.
Losing is not an option, boys.
Not if you want to keep the Clark juggernaut rolling.
Doug Clark is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review. He can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or firstname.lastname@example.org.