A GRIP ON SPORTS
Do you like to people watch? Enjoy competition? Need a long walk? Then Hoopfest is for you. If you hate crowds, the smell of sun screen or the pain of over-used feet, then it's better to avoid downtown Spokane today. Read on.
• Kim and I spent yesterday morning doing what we usually do on the final Saturday in June: walking around Hoopfest. Why not? Where else in Spokane can you watch hundreds of basketball games at one time, run into people you haven't seen in months and enjoy the smell of a Bruchi's sandwich wafting through Riverfront Park? Only at Hoopfest, of course. With the continued success of the downtown event – this is the 23rd edition of the three-on-three basketball tournament – there are the inevitable questions. Is it too big? Do the rules need tweaking? Has it peaked? What's next? The answer to the first three are probably no and that's because the Hoopfest folks are really good at self-examination, making sure each year is a bit different, learning from problems in the past – one I see that's reared its ugly head this year is many downtown businesses have taken over so much of the sidewalk in front of their establishment it's nearly impossible for people to get by – and doing their best to fine-tune the experience. All in all, Hoopfest is the best of what Spokane can offer, a diverse experience that brings the community together in a celebration of physical prowess. OK, watching some of the games – and remembering how I played at times – using the term “physical prowess” was probably inappropriate. … You want coverage of the event? Go to our Hoopfest page, which has all the stories and pictures the S-R put together. If you want quick links to stories, here is the news section's notebook and Jess Brown's notebook in sports. Jim Allen also covered the Jamal Crawford A Plus Classic charity basketball game last night in the Arena (that's former Zag guard Jeremy Pargo with a reverse slam above).
• Washington State: Utah experienced some growing pains in its first year in the Pac-12 but the team was competitive in football. This fall, they'll have to be competitive without running back Harvey Langi, as the sophomore is headed on his LDS mission.
• Gonzaga: Speaking of a first-year school in a conference, BYU is happy with its decision to join the WCC in all sports except football.
• Mariners: Rick Lukens made an audacious statement the other day on the radio, saying the Mariners would score six or fewer runs in the four games against the Red Sox, and still win at least two games. The audacious part wasn't the six or fewer runs, we all know the M's don't score at home, but two wins? C'mon. Well, after Chone Figgins' 11th-inning sacrifice fly – see, a miracle had to occur for Lukens to be right – lifted Seattle to a 3-2 win over Boston last night, Lukens has his two wins in the series. And the M's have scored just four runs. … Eric Wedge held a team meeting before Saturday's game. It doesn't sound as if it was fun. … It's Sunday so that means Larry Stone has his usual column, power rankings and awards. … A San Francisco columnist examines Ichiro's fading star power.
• Sounders: Most of the noise from last night's 2-2 tie with New England concerned the late goal the Sounders gave up. But how about the Revolution's first goal in which Saer Sene scored after what replays showed was an obvious offsides? In the end, the Sounders could hardly stomach the late loss of two points. … The finals of the Euro Cup are today, with Spain trying to hold three major titles at once.
• Olympic trials: With Allyson Felix winning the 200 meters and the women she tied with for the final 100 spot, Jeneba Tarmoh, finishing fifth, the resolution of their tie should be easy today. Felix can step aside, become the 100 alternate, run the relay and concentrate on winning the 200. Let's see if that will happen. … Bud Withers rediscovered a lost love last week.
• I'm done for the weekend here. Headed to Hoopfest for another few hours of walking around before it gets too hot. Until later …