Senior civil engineering major Maureen O’Callaghan keeps her WSU flags, team volleyballs and crimson pom-poms in an empty box of Busch Light.
O’Callaghan, a fourth-generation Cougar, said she never grew up around athletics because her family did not watch sports very often.
"I wasn’t raised with football every Saturday," O’Callaghan said. "I played softball for nine or 10 years, and I was the jock of the family."
O’Callaghan didn’t get her first taste of the WSU athletic atmosphere until she attended her first men’s basketball game as a high school junior.
Even as a freshman at WSU, O’Callaghan did not make Cougar games a priority, she said.
However, after joining ZZU CRU later in her freshman year and working with Coug Guys & Gals throughout her sophomore year, she said she became dedicated to the university spirit.
During her sophomore year, O’Callaghan developed more friendships with Coug fans and began attending as many games as she could with her friends and roommates, she said.
"Coming to Pullman where everyone was a Coug fan, I thought I could buy into this," O’Callaghan said. "It was intoxicating to be a part of a community."
O’Callaghan said she tried to attend as many WSU athletics events as possible every year and tried to make supporting the programs a priority for her this year.
In addition, O’Callaghan said one of her favorite teams to watch is the women’s volleyball team. O’Callaghan said she feels privileged to have made personal friendships with the team.
"There is just a light inside them that is blinding when they play together," O’Callaghan said. "I’m so glad they know fans will be there to support them no matter what."
Junior sports management major Nick Frisk met O’Callaghan during last year’s WSU women’s volleyball season when they were both ZZU CRU leaders, Frisk said.
O’Callaghan loves the atmosphere of games and always thinks the future is brighter for WSU athletics, Frisk said, even when the teams are not playing well.
"It’s easy to be energized when you’re around her," Frisk said.
One game in particular stands out as one Frisk said he would relive with O’Callaghan-the time referees almost threw her out during a women’s basketball home game last season.
"The referees made a bad call and Maureen just blew up at them," Frisk said.
Samantha McMillan, a sophomore nursing major, met O’Callaghan during the men’s basketball season last year after sitting several rows behind her, McMillan said.
O’Callaghan inspired McMillan to apply for Coug Guys & Gals, as well as be more involved in Cougar athletics.
Moreover, McMillan said O’Callaghan never gives up on WSU athletics, and continued to cheer on the women’s basketball team during the last home game of the season.
"She is pretty supportive of everybody and she likes to keep people engaged," McMillan said. "She really is an undefeated fan."
There is always hope in sports, especially baseball, in which any team can score 27 runs with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, O’Callaghan said.
O’Callaghan said this is a golden time for a student to be so close to WSU athletics, insisting she does not regret being passionate about sports.
Being a Cougar is so integral to her life right now, O’Callaghan said, and she hopes to attend as many WSU games as possible for the rest of her life.
"This is the crimson age and I’m going to soak it up while I can," O’Callaghan said.