A GRIP ON SPORTS
It's hard to argue Abraham Lincoln wasn't our greatest president. You can point to his proclamations and speeches and generosity of spirit. I will point to the salient fact he was the first president to publicly endorse a day of thanksgiving. Yep, old Honest Abe was the granddaddy of Thanksgiving Day. What a great man. Thus ends the history lesson. Thankfully. Read on.
• Rumor has it Mrs. Lincoln didn't like turkey, stuffing or cranberry sauce. The only way Mr. Lincoln could force them on the dinner menu was to invent Thanksgiving. So he invoked his presidential powers. Just kidding of course, but are there many better days than this one? Even the sports fan has a lot to be thankful for today, from the college basketball – the Cougars play in Orlando today at 11 a.m. PST – to pro football to, well, OK, time with your family. I know there might be some readers of this who can't spend the day at home and for that I commiserate. I've been away for Thanksgiving before and I know how tough it is (especially the bird in a bad New Jersey hotel restaurant). But today is the day to give thanks, not complain, no matter where you are.
• With so much to be thankful for, I'm going to limit today's post to sports, otherwise you would have to read a litany of the people who are special in my life. As it is, my list is pretty long, though in no particular order. … I'm thankful for being able to meet with you here each day, to share what's going on in the local sports world and to share our thoughts on them. I rarely comment on what you have to say – I've had my turn and believe the comment section is yours to control as much as possible – but I'm really thankful to see the community of commentators growing. That means more people are comfortable sharing their thoughts. I treasure every one of you, even those of you who don't agree with me often (you know who you are, I don't need to mention names, cough, cough, SpectreCoug, cough, cough). If there are some things in local sports around here you feel thankful about, feel free to share. … I'm thankful for the opportunity to have spent more than half a decade covering Washington State athletics. Though I had to be away from my family for much of the time, it was a great experience. I met many fine people who have stayed in touch even after my retirement and I got much better at my craft. Yes, I know. There is still a long way to go. … I'm thankful for the fine college basketball coaches in this area who have opened their practices to me. Men like Jim Hayford, Kelly Graves and Ken Bone have helped me learn and improve my abilities to teach the game to kids in our area. Their generosity is extraordinary and appreciated. … I'm thankful there are so many people around Spokane who have made it their life mission to help others in a variety of ways. Over the years I've crossed paths with some of the best, from Joe Everson, who not only served as a school counselor for a hundred years but also coaches baseball in his retirement, emphasizing life lessons, to Jim Psomas, whose selfless support of summer basketball has allowed many kids to realize their dreams. I'm thankful I can call these two, and many, many others who volunteer their time and effort for great causes, my friends. … I'm thankful for, shoot, I'm thankful for so many things, it would take up the entire day to write them all – and that doesn't even touch my family, which I will thank in person. But it is a holiday and you have things to do, so I will get on with the links. I'm sure that will make you thankful.
• WSU: Jacob Thorpe use his space in the Thanksgiving paper for a feature on athletic director Bill Moos and his plans for his alma mater. Jacob also has his football picks for the weekend – what a turncoat, he's picking the Huskies; I would never pick against WSU – and an advance of today's basketball game. On the blog, he held a live chat yesterday along with a posting some notes after practice. … In Pac-12 basketball action yesterday, Utah won while California was hammered by Dayton. … There was a really interesting banquet at one of the holiday basketball tournaments. It reminds me of our family gatherings back in the day.
• Gonzaga: The Zags finished their Hawaii trip with a 10-point win over Arkansas in a game that featured the outside shooting of one Kevin Pangos. Pangos (pictured) finished with a career-best 34 points. Jim Meehan has the game story and blog post with more. … USD won once again and is 7-1.
• EWU: As the Eagles separate for the holiday – they have a bye this week – Jim Allen takes time to feature a football player with a lot for which to be thankful. … Jim also had the news yesterday concerning Beau Baldwin and the Big Sky coach of the year award. Yep, Baldwin won it. … Portland State is looking to the future.
• Idaho: The Vandals rallied furiously in the second half. That's the good news. The bad news is they fell so far behind Boise State early on the rally fell short. We have a story on the game and Josh Wright adds more in this blog post.
• Preps: The biggest game this weekend happens Saturday at Albi Stadium when Shadle Park tries to snap Bellevue's 52-game winning streak. Greg Lee has an advance of the 3A semifinal, along with an advance of Freeman's 1A semi with Cashmere and Lind-Ritzville/Sprague's 2B game with Adna. … Greg also has his picks with SWX's Sam Adams. … Shadle Park's Brett Rypien (pictured) and his passing prowess made the Seattle papers as well.
• Seahawks: Guess what was the main subject of discussion when Pete Carroll and some of the Hawk players met with the media yesterday? OK, the Saints were covered but the suspensions were probably No. 1. … The Hawks made a roster move related to the secondary. It could be interesting Monday night. … There are a lot of interesting numbers leading into the showdown with New Orleans. … Drew Brees belongs to the Russell Wilson fan club.
• OK, I'm done. I know I forgot a lot of people I wanted to thank, but that's the problem with getting old. You forget things. The good thing is you can blame being old and people can't be ticked – at least publicly. If they are, it's age discrimination. Until later …