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Thanksgiving trip to Seattle worth every American penny

It started as a text message from a friend about four months ago. Bryce: “Hey, any interest in going to the Apple Cup?” Me: “Yeah, I’m kind of interested.” Bryce: “OK, I just bought tickets.

It started as a text message from a friend about four months ago.

Bryce: “Hey, any interest in going to the Apple Cup?”

Me: “Yeah, I’m kind of interested.”

Bryce: “OK, I just bought tickets.”

He had purchased them based on my “kind of interested” reply.

Not exactly the response I was expecting, as I thought we would talk about travel details, costs, timing, etc, before actually ordering tickets.

But, instead, those steps were all skipped and all of a sudden I was booked into a trip to Seattle for the Apple Cup – the annual football rivalry game between the University of Washington Huskies (aka UW, U-Dub or Dawgs), based in Seattle, and the Washington State University Cougars (aka Wazzu, State or Cougs), based in Pullman, Wash.

The game is rotated between each team’s home stadium every year, with this year’s version at CenturyLink Field in Seattle (UW’s Husky Stadium is in the middle of a $250-million renovation project).

My initial feelings of being locked into these tickets started to wane a few weeks after the unprompted order, as my personal doctrine towards travel and large sporting events started to speak louder than my rapidly depleting bank account.

Plus, I checked out the NFL schedule and found out the Seattle Seahawks were hosting the Washington Redskins (which also brought my friend Rory, a massive Redskins fan, into the fold) on that Sunday (with a free co-headlining concert by Pearl Jam and Soundgarden in the parking lot before the game).

The concert part isn’t true, but it might as well have been because I was officially sold on the weekend at this point.

Fast-forward to Black Friday, as the trip’s timing just happened to fall on the five-day American Thanksgiving weekend.

Surprisingly, given that it’s the craziest travel time of the year south of the border, our flight was actually on time (the return flight on the Monday was 20 minutes early, believe it or not).

After checking into the hotel, we decided to walk a few blocks to a downtown mall and see what all the fuss was about. Thankfully, we didn’t witness any shootings or pepper-spray-for-video-game type of scenarios.

Maybe we just showed up too late.

The next afternoon, fresh off a gluttonous meal at IHOP, we walked down to CenturyLink Field to fully immerse in a traditional American college football tailgate session.

Friends of ours assured us we were permitted to consume alcohol in the parking lot.

They were correct, which still surprises me somewhat considering the American drinking age is 21 and many college students are not.

It seemed like the police were more concerned with providing a presidential-style motorcade for the teams than any alcohol-related patrols. The only enforcement was by a group ensuring drinks were out of a plastic cup.

The barbecue, live DJ and parking lot beer pong set up were all sights to behold – and the actual game was pretty entertaining as well.

As an impartial fan, however, UW’s 38-21 win wasn’t quite as great as the Wazzu band’s halftime performance where they came within 10 feet of the Dawgs’ band and looked like they wanted to drop their tubas and throw down.

The atmosphere a day later at the NFL game became just as intense during the pregame coin toss, as both teams nearly cleared the benches for a brawl.

Hugely entertaining game, where Redskins’ quarterback Rex Grossman threw for the winning touchdown late in the fourth quarter to give Washington a 23-17 win.

In classic Seattle style, it was during the pouring rain and after a Starbucks coffee that morning (to which my bank account has yet to recover).

Next time, I’ll be more careful while wording responses via text message.

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