A GRIP ON SPORTS
All over Spokane, people are pulling themselves out of bed, rubbing their eyes and putting their running shoes on. It's Bloomsday, the day the Inland Northwest pays homage to fitness – and sweat. Read on.
• There's a drawer in my credenza upstairs filled with Hoopfest and Bloomsday T-shirts. I don't know why I've saved them, but I have. The Hoopfest collection is pretty complete. It includes the first 15 then a smattering of the three-on-three basketball tournament's shirts since. There are fewer Bloomsday shirts, though each have special meaning. The first one is from 1983, the year I moved to Spokane, the city that became my home. A month of training didn't prepare me for Doomsday Hill or the crowd of people at the finish line, most of whom, like me, just wanted to go someplace and lie down. There are three or four more shirts, all of which I earned while walking with Kim and her friend Candy. The three of us would spend the 7-plus miles walking and talking, doing our best to avoid getting run over by strollers and teenagers in the wrong color-coded group. Some days it was warm like today. Other times it was so cold you could see your breath. Or you could if it wasn't turning to ice in front of your face. But being part of Bloomsday (I would write, "running Bloomsday," but so few of the folks in my circle do that) is being a part of Spokane's culture. It's something you have to try at least once, like feeding trash to the Riverfront Park goat or driving up Division at rush hour. It makes you a part of and gives you a flavor of the community. So all you folks who are attacking the day, getting ready to join 30,000 or so of your closest friends on the streets of Spokane, I salute you. Enjoy the day.
• By the way, before you hit the road, why don't you sit down and send me your favorite memory of mom from Bloomsday. It would fit right in with what I'm trying to do for Mother's Day. I want to honor moms (and the way they have influenced our sporting life), but I need your help. Take a few moments to sit down and write me an email concerning a memory you have of mom and her contributions to one of your sporting events. You can pass along your story to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can't wait to read them. It will be fun. And the stories will also appear in the newspaper on Mother's Day, if we can get enough folks to participate. So chip in. I have received some already but the more the merrier.
• Speaking of merry, I was all of that last evening. I made everyone in the house laugh with my celebration of UC Irvine's second consecutive NCAA volleyball title. Not only was winning great – us Anteater alum don't get to watch them win in anything all that often – but to sweep the No. 1-ranked team, BYU, made it even sweeter. The glow lasted all of an hour or so, or until I realized no one else within 100 miles cared. That's the problem with not being part of a collective group of fans – like WSU or GU fans around here. You don't have anyone to share your joy with. Kind of a bummer, let me tell you.
• Washington State: Christian Caple returns to the blog on the Sunday following WSU's graduation and shares a few links in his morning post. ... We also pass along this story on former Washington State basketball player Klay Thompson who is contributing to Golden State's success with his defense. ... Arizona State has found an athletic director that it is happy with.
• Gonzaga: The Bulldogs are WCC regular season baseball champions. Now they have to win their way into the NCAA tournament.
• Shock: A couple of weeks ago Spokane was on top of the Arena league world. Now the Shock are trying to figure out what's gone wrong following their second consecutive defeat. Jim Meehan has a story and a blog post on Spokane's 52-48 loss in Salt Lake, a game the Shock could have won in the closing seconds but came up just short.
• Preps: We have a roundup of Saturday's playoff action.
• Mariners: We've asked it before and we'll ask it again: Who are these guys? In the past 10 days, the M's have seemed to turn around what was a lost season, riding their pair of aces (Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma) and a resurgent offense to three consecutive series wins. They assured themselves of a third yesterday when Iwakuma shut down the Toronto Blue Jays and Dustin Ackley hit a grand slam in an 8-1 victory. And don't forget Michael Saunders added two home runs. The offensive explosion came against former teammate R. A. Dickey, whose presence necessitated a lineup change. ... Larry Stone not only passes along his weekly power rankings (the M's have jumped five spots), he also has his weekly column, this one on Nick Franklin.
• Sounders: The Sounders drew with Philadelphia in a game that will be remembered for two things: All the unnecessary red cards that were handed out and a missed hand ball in the box late that went Seattle's way. And, lest we forget, the way Philadelphia coach John Hackworth ripped the officiating.
• Sonics: Is there really a chance Seattle could get an expansion team? Maybe not.
• You know how I wrote yesterday I was going to do yard work and I expected to throw my back out? Well, the yard work happened and my back survived. It's the rest of my body that's sorer than heck. Well nothing that Advil can't cure. Until later ...