A GRIP ON SPORTS
Isn't Christmas time supposed to be a time of cheer and good will toward men? Always thought so. But I'm not so sure everyone does. It's also a time of being with family, no matter what form that takes. Read on.
• We'll start with the positive because that's our preference. Last night Kim and I did what we usually do, spend a free night at a basketball game. Our choice was the best matchup in the area, featuring undefeated Pullman – defending 2A state champions – against undefeated St. George's – defending 2B state champions. The game, part of the Freeman holiday tournament, lived up to expectations – the Dragons hadn't lost since a one-point defeat to Pullman in the same tournament last year and the Greyhounds' win streak was even longer, stretching back to last year's opener at Ellensburg – but that was almost immaterial. The best part was the gathering of players we've spent some time with over the past few summers. Players who returned home from college for the holiday, players participating in the game and others who just came to watch. It's not unusual. It happens every year. Christmas time become like a reunion of sorts. The stands are littered with small clumps of folks reconnecting, catching up with what's been happening outside of the area or outside of the basketball limelight. There's laughter, there's commiseration, there's a sense of family. No matter what's spoken about or what's left unspoken, it's a time for trust between folks who have shared the reward of hard work and effort. It's another aspect of Christmas – another present if you will – that makes this time of year so special.
• Now on to the not-so-positive. For some reason a comment or two recently have been a little out of the blue. I have a suspicion why, but it's only that, a suspicion, so I'll keep it to myself. But the couple of rude comments correspond to something else that's been happening, at least to me. I've been unable to access the comments, or to actually even read them, from my phone. As I spend a lot of time away from my computer during the day, it is usually the way I monitor the comments. (As an aside, it's up to each of us who post on this blog to monitor them, but in the rush of full-time beat coverage, I'm sure it is a tough task for some.) But being unable to read what's been posted, a comment that deserves to be deleted has probably had a longer shelf life than it should. The paper has turned off comments on its stories for the past few days, which might just be the next step for the blogs if the trend continues downward. It's not something anyone wants, but it just might have to be the only way to solve the problem. By the way, a commentator pointed out yesterday I messed up a writer's name. Thank you. I fixed it.
• WSU: The Cougars return to the court today with a game against Mississippi Valley State, who lost last night at Washington (pictured). Jacob Thorpe has an advance on the blog of the game. ... The ESPN.com Pac-12 blog's mailbag includes a Cougar question. ... One Pac-12 school participated in a bowl game yesterday. It was Washington. The Huskies won, 31-16, over BYU. That makes the conference 3-1 so far (fixed from earlier). However, the Huskies did lose a huge player after the game. Austin Seferian-Jenkins talks about his decision.
• Gonzaga: The convoluted West Coast Conference basketball schedule kicks off today with Gonzaga hosting Santa Clara in the Kennel. Jim Meehan has an advance of the game and the conference season. If you are wondering what I mean about convoluted, just read Jim's story. The schedule is so messed up it's hard to see it as anything but a huge mistake. And the league's response, that its television partners' demands make it hard to change, just doesn't fly. Location of games, whether tonight's game is in Spokane or Santa Clara, isn't important to ESPN. They just want the game on a certain date at a certain time for programming purposes. Where the game is makes no difference. ... We looked around and the only other WCC previews we could find have a BYU tilt. ... ESPN.com has some thoughts about the Zags. ... A former GU basketball player has found happiness in Baylor's secondary.
• Seahawks: Want some good news? His suspension over, Walter Thurmond III (pictured) returns to bolster the Hawks' secondary this week. Though Byron Maxwell will continue to start, Thurmond gives the Seahawks some needed depth. ... The injury list includes a questionable player at a position the Hawks aren't real deep at. See if you can guess which position I am talking about. OK, you twisted my arm. It's receiver. ... The Pro Bowl selections were released yesterday and the Hawks had six players named. ... Pete Carroll met with the media and had a less-than-normal upbeat attitude. ... Doug Baldwin has won the kickoff return role, at least for the matchup with the Rams.
• Remember how the sergeant used to send the cops out after roll call in "Hill Street Blues?" (And if you don't, watch the series on Netflix or Hulu or something, because it's worth it.) You know, with the "let's be careful out there" line? Today we switch it a bit. We'll say, "let's be civil out there" and leave it at that. Until later ...