Washington State senior Kate Benz kicks off the 2006-07 season of Kate's Chronicles as she continues to share her experiences with the Cougar women's basketball team. The forward from Portland, Ore., chronicled life as a Cougar during both her sophomore and junior seasons and will continue her accounts throughout her senior year. Please visit www.wsucougars.com for access to current and past entries.
January 22, 2007
As our bus rolled into Pullman after our game against the Huskies, I suddenly felt myself become teary-eyed.
A swarm of thoughts erupted in my mind just as the WSU campus came into sight. Never again will I make that quick road trip to Seattle to play our rival in the Apple Cup of basketball. My senior season is more than half done, with our team having competed against each of the other nine teams in our conference. That means we have one more chance against each team before we head to the Pac-10 tournament at the beginning of March. Not just one more chance to beat these teams, but another shot to really prove that this is the best Cougar team I have been a part of over the past four years. It is the last opportunity for Adriane and me, as seniors, to decide what our legacy is going to be.
Looking back, it is incredible how quickly four years have come and gone. I can still remember how it felt the first time I witnessed confetti falling in Beasley Coliseum after a home win, and I will never forget the loyal fans who have felt like family to me. We've been through the good, the bad and the ugly together, but through it all I learned the meaning of being a Cougar. It is not something anybody can understand until they experience Pullman for themselves, but once encountered, it is a feeling of pride unlike any other.
I grew up in an Oregon State household, attending countless sporting events and learning the fight song at a very young age. I had many tattered t-shirts with the image of Benny the Beaver wearing off, and I thought I would always be a Beav. When I decided to chase the dream of playing basketball in college, however, I knew the opportunity to leave the state and be a part of something completely new and different was too good to pass up.
I remember receiving my first item of Cougar apparel, a sweatshirt from a very supportive teacher at my high school, and now - four years later - it's the WSU logo that is wearing off. Just as I embraced that sweatshirt, I have clinched every ounce of opportunity available to me at WSU. Being a part of the indescribably amazing community of Pullman made being away from home much easier, and as a member of the athletic department, I have many friends who are more like sisters and brothers now. I love walking through Bohler Athletic Complex and seeing the friendly and familiar faces of other student-athletes. Each of us has the best extended family in the country.
So what is life going to be like when my name is no longer associated with WSU women's basketball? I am not exactly sure, but I know that the lessons I have learned from winning and losing as a Cougar will bring me success in future endeavors.
I am constantly being asked what I am doing next year and maybe I am not 100 percent sure just yet. I am sure that the next several weeks will be spent as every moment since my graduation from high school have been spent - working to be the best Cougar I can be for my teammates, coaches, fans and the pride of WSU.
I don't think I'll ever be able to drive into Pullman without feeling sadness at how quickly my time as a Coug passed. Who knew the sight of a snowcapped campus could trigger so many emotions?
Official Website of Washington State University Athletics | Bohler Athletic Complex | PO Box 641602 Pullman, WA 99164-1602 | 1.800.GO.COUGS