A GRIP ON SPORTS
Bill Moos has done a heaping handful of praiseworthy moves since becoming the athletic director at Washington State a few years ago. But the decision he announced yesterday concerning Steve Gleason was the best of the lot. Read on.
• The Cougars will induct one person into their athletic Hall of Fame in 2014. Just one. Is it the greatest WSU athlete ever? Nope. Is it a record-setter on the field? No again. How about someone who produced the most memorable moment in school history? Sorry, no. None of those things. This year's lone inductee just happens to be the best role model to ever wear the school colors. That is what Steve Gleason brings to the table. He also is arguably the toughest son of a gun to ever walk through the halls of Bohler Gym. Even if these days he has to roll through them. Who gives a damn? Steve Gleason is, at this very moment, everything you should ever want to be. Everything I should ever want to be and I'm old enough to be his dad. No one knows what cards we are going to be dealt as we travel through this journey known as life. For years, Gleason was dealing with all aces and kings. The star athlete at Gonzaga Prep. A two-sport hero. The star athlete at Washington State. A two-sport standout. The professional football player. A guy credited with the special teams play that reignited a city's passion for its team. Aces. Then, somehow, the wrong card turned over. Gleason was diagnosed with ALS, the terminal disease that may just be the cruelest malady a human being can suffer. The mind loses control of the body. Lou Gehrig's disease. Steve Gleason may never had stood up at Yankee Stadium and told everyone he feels like the luckiest man in the world but he made the rest of us feel that way. Just by getting to talk with him. To listen to him. To watch him. He has not hidden from the disease. He has not hidden from us. He's stepped front and center, even as he's slowly lost the ability to do things you and I take for granted every day. Just last week he was challenging the folks at Microsoft (pictured) to create devices and technologies to help people who can't physically help themselves. To reach beyond the day-to-day and make the world a better place. If that's not Hall-of-Fame worthy, just by itself, I don't know what is. But it's just the tip of what Gleason's accomplished since he's discovered his fate. The accomplishments are too numerous to enumerate here, but take my word for it. The world, our world, is a better place because Steve Gleason is in it. And, if that's not Hall-of-Fame worthy, nothing is. So kudos to Moos – and to WSU's decision. The school is taking an extraordinary step to honor an extraordinary man. Steve Gleason. The greatest role model Cougar athletics has ever produced.
• WSU: The 2014 Washington State football season is about to get underway so it's seems like a perfect day to pass along a whole bunch of stories. Of course, I couldn't do that if not for the efforts of Jacob Thorpe, who spent yesterday covering Mike Leach's press conference, which led to this story and blog post, and an arrest of a football player, which also led to a story and blog post. Jacob also has a story and blog post on Gleason's honor. … Bud Withers covered Leach's media availability yesterday and has this column. … ESPN.com's Pac-12 blog finally got to WSU's non-conference schedule. … Utah is going to try to play faster on offense this season.
• EWU: It's finally here. The college football season. It opened yesterday at Eastern, with the top-ranked Eagles beginning practice. Jim Allen was out in the hot sun, still glowing from Germany's World Cup victory and sweating like the offensive linemen. He also covered the football bases with this story and blog post.
• Track: The Spokane Summer Games are on tap for Saturday at Spokane Falls Community College.
• Indians: Have no fear, the Indians will get their ship back on track. Really? The second half hasn't been all that kind to Spokane just yet. Chris Derrick was back at Avista Stadium last night and covered the Indians' 5-3 loss to Hillsboro with this blog post and game story.
• Seahawks: Marshawn Lynch is back in camp. Did he get a new contract. Nope. More money? Ya, probably. At least more up front and a few dollars moved around and guaranteed. But our long regional nightmare is now over and we can breath easier. … Not Jesse Williams, though. He's facing another knee surgery. Poor guy. … Pete Carroll addressed that injury and others yesterday. … Russell Wilson is healthy, smiling and willing to chat about nearly everything.
• Mariners: On the face of it, the Mariners' moves yesterday seem about right. No one expects Abraham Almonte or Nick Franklin to blossom into All-Stars, do they, so the M's seemed to have upgraded the lineup without much in the way of pain. … Art Thiel knows who to thank for the Austin Jackson (pictured) deal. And it might not be the team you think. … The big question is: Did the M's do enough? … Lost in the hubbub of the trade deadline, Mike Zunino clubbed a late two-run home run and the M's got past Cleveland 6-5, taking the series 2-1. Six runs without the new guys in the lineup.
• No, I did not break 100 yesterday. I sprayed the ball all over the place, couldn't chip to save my nose and only hit a handful of putts outside 3 feet. And yet I enjoyed every minute. Circling Raven on a warm summer afternoon will do that to you. Every few minutes I stopped to smell the pine trees, enjoy the scenery and then whiff another lob wedge. It was great. Until later …