The Spaghetti Bowl is back!


photo by Timothy Rogers

Maris Baird, Editor/Journalist

The Olympia Bears will take on their cross-town rivals, the Capital Cougars this Friday as the Spaghetti Bowl returns to the Olympia community. 


The Spaghetti Bowl was one of the biggest events in Olympia, beginning in the seventies as a rivalry game and becoming a fundraiser for scholarships in the 90’s. The Spaghetti Bowl got its name when Al Cohen, a former Rotary Club member, decided to turn the rival game into a fundraiser and have a spaghetti dinner beforehand. This resulted in the Rotary Club being able to give out almost 15,000 dollars a year to students. It was a huge success and gave a popular event an important purpose. 


The stands were filled with thousands of people from all over the community. Hours before the game there wouldn’t be a single spot left. People would stand on the track, outside the stadium and anywhere else they could find a spot to watch. Matt Grant, principal of Olympia High School, remembers his daughter describing the event as a “holiday.” It became more than just a game, but a way for the community to connect. 


Ryan Gerrits, a teacher and alumni of Olympia High School remembers coming home from college just to watch the rivals go head to head. Gerrits explains the importance of the games and explains the prominence it had in his life since he was a kid. “It was Capital. You didn’t want to lose to them”. 


Although the Spaghetti Bowl was a friendly game, many people saw it differently. The schools were vandalized, Capital students ran through the Olympia High School hallways, and families and students were vicious at the games. The event had a positive impact on the community overall, but there were times where things got out of hand. Grant, formally a teacher at Capital High School, recalls being seen talking to the rival families and being asked to “stop acting like [he] was from Capital. ”


After the Olympia Bears made their leap up to the 4A division, the rivalry no longer existed, and the Spaghetti Bowl was over. Separate schedules resulted in no time to squeeze in the annual game. The Spaghetti Bowl went from the biggest event in Olympia to nothing at all. 


Olympia will see the Spaghetti Bowl return for the second year after a long hiatus, the first being in 2020. Both schools were lucky enough to share an opening in their schedules and can continue to keep the tradition alive. Mason Jeurgens, a wide receiver for Olympia, says “ [his] team is looking forward to the game and [he wishes they] could play Capital every year.”


 Will it be the Bears or the Cougars to take home the win this year?