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WSU writer taking a hiatus in the East


COUGARS

Not much in the way of links for you today, but we do have news about the next month. Read on.
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• About a year ago, after returning from an amazing vacation with my wife Kim, I was sitting in my recliner trying to come up with a way to top a trip to Disneyworld. As is my wont, I was watching golf. And somehow the 2009 U.S. Open at Bethpage was mentioned. That was it. What better way to top a magical place than to visit the real world's Disneyworld, New York?

I'm going to share here. I'm 52 years old and have never been in New York. Even when the Cougars were in Newark last basketball season, I didn't get into the city. Even when I took the family on a Clark Griswold-like car tour of baseball parks a decade ago, we didn't get in the city. I've avoided it like the plague. Chicken I guess. Either that or anti-social. (Smart money is on the latter.) Even though my niece attended Fordham in the 1990s and has lived in the city since, I've never had the nerve to visit. Well, that ends next week.

I came up with a plan. I entered the lottery for U.S. Open tickets. Won. Bought two tickets last summer. Called my sister and brother-in-law and invited Al to join me at Bethpage, gratis, as long as Linda would take Kim to plays. A deal was struck. We're headed for New York for a couple weeks, I've lost 10 pounds getting my legs in shape and I'm going to ride a subway train just as another version of The Taking of Pelham One Two Three hits the theaters (the Walter Matthau version might be the basis of my fear of the city after all). Al and I are going to follow my favorite golfer, Jim Furyk, for a while, make sure we see Steve Stricker play (as a homage to his friend Tony Bennett), sit for a while in the hospitality tent, scream "get in the hole" at least once (probably on the practice tee) and head home each night exhausted.

• All that is a very long way for me to tell you there probably won't be much in the way of WSU posts on this blog for the next five weeks (and I'll explain that length in a second). Though I'll keep my eyes and ears open (maybe I'll see the WSU flag in the crowd at Bethpage), I'm going to try to keep my fingers away from the keyboard for a while (though I promise I won't go away completely – I am addicted after all). When I return, my hope is my blood pressure will be down, my aching fingers will have healed and my wife will recognize me again. Why five weeks? Well, that's another story.

As you might know, S-R newsroom employees agreed to a new contract this spring, one that included a 7-to-10 percent pay cut (I'm in the latter group) and gave management the ability to have us take a week's furlough, if it so desired. It so desires. So, we have to take five working days off without pay before the end of September. In my case, August and September are out, thanks to Cougar football. (By the way, football practice officially kicks off Sunday, August 9 in preparation for the opener with Stanford Sept. 5.) June is out because I'm using up my vacation. So that leaves July. To make it simple, I'm just tagging the furlough on the end of my vacation, and will be back the week of July 12. Of course, that week I'm covering the Spokane Indians for five days, so the WSU news might be a little hard for me to run down. But that's another story, and I'm sure you don't want to read that.

• To summarize: Headed to New York to watch golf. Taking a vacation. A furlough. Covering baseball. Be back for good in July, older, poorer, maybe wiser.

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• That's it for now. If you had a yearbook I would write something wacky with a lot of exclamation points and innuendo, but we're adults now so all I'll write is … be back in full force in July. Until then ...




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Vince Grippi
Vince Grippi is a freelance local sports blogger for spokesman.com. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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