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The last tear is the saddest

A GRIP ON SPORTS

You know what's sort of sad for a sports fan? When you get to the final ticket or two of a season. When you realize there are only a couple of more games left before it all ends. Read on.

••••••••••

• If you've ever been lucky enough to own season tickets, you know what I mean. Just before the season begins, the package arrives in the mail. Inside is only a bunch of thin cardboard covered with ink, but it is so much more than that. You feel like Navin R. Johnson in "The Jerk" when the phone book arrived. Yes, you are that happy. You are going places. The crisp new tickets are your window to the games you can't wait to see, the season you can't wait to experience. As the games roll by, each marked by a careful tearing out of the ticket, the packet grows smaller. Then one day you wake up and realize there are just one or two tickets left. The season is almost over. If the tickets were to a college team's games, there is a double whammy. Not only is the season about done but, you quickly realize, so is Jim Doe or Jane Smith's career. You've watched the play, sometimes from a sit-mainly-on-the-bench freshman to a go-to senior. You've seen their best games and their worst. You've been there as they've entertained the home crowd, sharing the joy of the victories and the tears of defeat. All of that goes through your mind as you tear off a couple more pieces of cardboard. The season is almost over. And then you realize. Next year may be even better.

•••

• WSU: To be honest, I'm not sure how many Cougar fans are lamenting the end of this basketball season. It's been tough, that's for sure. And, as the attendance shows, there wasn't a large group of season tickets holders when it began. But no matter what this Friday's game at Washington is a big deal. As WSU won in Pullman earlier this season, a win this week would allow Cougar fans to say, "ya, we were bad but we beat you guys twice." And that is important. Jacob Thorpe has the usual weekly preview as well as a story on Lorenzo Romar (pictured) backing up his former assistant, Ken Bone. Jacob also has his morning post with Pac-12 links. ... This really doesn't matter to either Washington or Washington State, but Jon Wilner takes a look at the NCAA chances for the Pac-12's schools. ... Ted Miller has a couple of interesting pieces on ESPN.com's Pac-12 blog. ... Marcus Mariota is trying to take the next step. ... Hey, Craig James is in the news again.

• Gonzaga: "Road Trip 2: The Clinching Adventure." OK, so it's not much of a movie title. But the Zags are on the road again this week trying to clinch another WCC regular season crown. It starts tonight in Pacific and Jim Meehan will be there. He also has a preview of the weekend as well as this advance. ... Pacific sees an opportunity to really feel like a member of the conference with a win tonight. ... The Pacific women are in the Northwest trying for some redemption. They'll be at GU for the season's final game.

• EWU: The Big Sky schedule makers haven't done the Eagles much in the way of a favor. They'll play their third game in five days tonight in Greeley, facing second-place Northern Colorado. Jim Allen has the preview and the lead of our notebook on the conference's game of musical chairs.

• Idaho: Josh Wright has a preview of the Vandals' weekend, which consists of one game, Saturday in Seattle.

• Chiefs: Tri-City is suffering through a really tough season. The Americans lost again last night.

• Community Colleges: The national wrestling tournament is in Spokane this weekend. Jim Allen has an advance of the event.

• Hoopfest: Longtime Hoopfest director Rick Steltenpohl is stepping down to go into business for himself. Jim Allen – man, he was busy yesterday – has a story on his announced departure.

• Preps: As far as the WIAA is concerned, the basketball teams playing this weekend are already in the state tournament. Greg Lee has an advance of our area's 3A schools' games. ... Greg also was out at Coeur d'Alene last night for a state qualifier. He has the information on Lake City's win (pictured) in this roundup. ... Finally, Greg has a feature on a Cd'A wrestler headed to state. ... Back to Washington, the WIAA's Executive Board made a decision yesterday that not only went against long-standing precedent, it also may have opened the Pandora's box of out-of-season practices and events.

• Seahawks: There are changes coming. Whether they're from the draft or from cuts, the Hawks roster is going to be different. It's time to embrace that. ... However, you don't have to embrace this. Not at all. Russell Wilson just doesn't look right in that uniform. He may look just right, though, in a front office. ... Brandon Browner is headed to court.

• Mariners: Now it is Robinson Cano's turn to try to help Justin Smoak. ... The Mariners starting staff seems to have a lot of guys who need the help of crossed fingers. ... There are always notes and stuff from spring training. ... The Giants are trying to be nice to the A's. Sort of.

• Sounders: Though the Sounders tied yesterday, Sigi Schmid got a good look at his ever-changing roster. One guy who will be here opening day is Obafemi Martins.

•••

• That's it. We're done. God willing and the river don't rise, we'll be back tomorrow. Until then ... 




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Vince Grippi
Vince Grippi is a freelance local sports blogger for spokesman.com. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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