It is not uncommon for sports teams that are close to each other to have rivalries, and that’s the case of the University of Washington Huskies and the Washington State University Cougars. These sports rivals are on the west and east side of the Cascade Mountains, respectively.
Every year, UW and WSU compete against each other in the Apple Cup, which has already taken place 110 times in the history of Washington. The location alternates each year. One year, it’s in UW’s hometown of Seattle, and the next, it’s in WSU’s hometown of Pullman. This translates to a five-hour drive for the visiting team and their fans.
While the games in Seattle don’t tend to pose too many weather problems, that’s not the case for the ones in the small town of Pullman.
The weather for those games can be problematic due to snowfall, particularly since the Apple Cup takes place over the Thanksgiving holiday. This year, that meant that the two teams played in incredibly snowy conditions.
The snow didn’t wait until the game started to cause problems, however.
On Thanksgiving Day, one of the buses carrying the UW marching band crashed when it hit some ice.
The band was headed to Pullman in a caravan of six buses, and one overturned while they were by the town of George, Washington. Luckily, no one was seriously injured and there were no deaths.
Even so, several dozen students required care for concussions, pain, and cuts. It also put a stop to the caravan’s journey and led to the decision that the UW marching band would not be attending the Apple Cup this year.
There were 56 people on board the bus when it rolled over. Of those passengers, 47 went to various local hospitals to be evaluated. By the next morning, only two were still under medical care.
Nearly immediately following the report of the bus crash, those living in and around George offered their assistance – on Thanksgiving.
George only has a population of about 500 residents, but their support and that of the nearby small towns was overwhelming. A nearby elementary school even opened up for the marching band to regroup and triage the injured.
The residents brought in everything the UW marching band and faculty could possibly need. This included blankets, mattresses, and food.
The kindness did not end there, as the rival WSU marching band learned the UW fight song.
When members of the WSU marching band realized that no one from the UW band would make it, they decided to learn the full fight song for their rivals. Keep in mind that these two teams have been rivals in 110 Apple Cups over the years and that the WSU band learned the fight song in less than a day.
Then, at the game, the WSU marching band played the UW fight song. The university also kept a section of the Martin Stadium stands empty to honor the band members who were unable to attend.
The UW marching band did not forget those who helped them on what could have been a horrible night.
About three weeks after the Apple Cup, the band sent over 70 packages with school supplies to George Elementary School in the Quincy School District. This is the school where the staff and students spent the night and were checked by medics.
The marching band members decided that the best way to show their appreciation was to return the favor. The school district was incredibly thankful for the generosity of the marching band, as it was completely unexpected and unnecessary.
Although the day didn’t go as planned, members of the UW marching band certainly had a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.
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