A GRIP ON SPORTS
If you've read this column for any length of time – and we are in our third year here – you know there are only two things I root for when covering a football game: A quick contest and that no one gets hurt. Neither happened last Sunday in the NFC Championship game. Read on.
• Why am I still focused on Sunday's game? Because I can't get the memory of NaVorro Bowman's gruesome knee injury out of my head. It's odd, because I've watched many injuries. Some even worse than Bowman's. Heck, once while coaching a seventh-grade boys football game at Albi, I was less than a yard or two away when I witnessed – and heard – a young man's arm snap. But Bowman's fourth-quarter injury actually appeared in my dreams last night and woke me up. Why? Maybe it's because it was a key play and Fox had to show it over and over. Had Jermaine Kearse fumbled? Yes. Had Bowman controlled the ball before he hit the ground? Yes. Had the officials given the recovery to the Hawks after the scrum? Yes. Is it reviewable? No. Will I ever get the picture of safety Eric Reid diving atop Kearse, who happened to have Bowman's knee pinned beneath him? Hopefully. Maybe my subconscious was still processing the news I read just before sleep hit last night, that Bowman's injury is worse than first feared. The fourth-year linebacker out of Penn State, who had 14 tackles Sunday, not only tore his ACL, but his MCL was also shredded, a bad sign for someone who relies on his quickness. Or maybe it's because I get so angry when peripheral items that really aren't that important take center stage instead of the sacrifice these players make on a daily basis to keep us entertained. Yes, I know professional football players are well paid, a lot better paid then most of us. Yes, I know they are playing a game they love. And, yes, I know the league has finally woken up and is trying to make the game safer, albeit incrementally. But a majority of these guys will only play a few years and then deal with the physical and mental injuries they suffer for the rest of their lives. Is it worth it? Ask any of them while they are playing and they'll say yes. Ask them when their career is over and they are dealing with aftermath and I'm not so sure. So instead of yelling at the television that someone should "destroy that guy," even if its meant in a joking manner, maybe we need to sit back a second, admire what these guys are able to do and root that everyone leaves the field healthy. It rarely happens – besides Bowman, Idaho alum Mike Iupati also suffered a broken leg Sunday – but it is worth hoping and praying for.
• WSU: The Cougars return to Beasley Coliseum tonight to take on a resurgent Oregon State team. The game is only WSU's second Pac-12 game in its home arena and the month of January is winding down. Jacob Thorpe has an advance of the game as well as his usual morning post with links. ... California always seems to be underrated when basketball picks are made. ... Jacob also had a blog report on Deone Bucannon's Senior Bowl adventure. ... ESPN.com's Pac-12 blog highlight's Damante Horton's performance in the USC game as well as featuring its midweek mailbag.
• Gonzaga: Jim Meehan was at the Zags' media day yesterday and put together this notebook featuring Gary Bell Jr.'s road back from injury. ... BYU comes to Spokane on Saturday and the Cougars may be without one of their big men. ... Hadn't thought about the ending of last week's Loyola-Marymount contest in this way, but maybe I should have. ... Thomas Clouse has his weekly women's basketball notebook. It leads with GU.
• Idaho: The Vandals have just one game this week and next and they need the break. Josh Wright's blog post explains they are a bit beat up.
• Whitworth: No matter how good the Pirates are, the game at Whitman is a battle. It was last night with Whitworth coming out on top.
• Preps: The Greater Spokane League boys race got a bit tighter last night as Gonzaga Prep went into Central Valley and handed the Bears their first league defeat. Greg Lee was there and has this game story while Colin Mulvany adds a photo story. ... The G-Prep girls also won and that leads this roundup. ... We also can pass along roundups from boys and girls action from around the area.
• Boxing: The U.S. championships are in town. John Blanchette is covering them. He has this column.
• Seahawks: Man there are a lot of stories. And I don't expect much of a letup between now and Super Bowl Sunday. ... The Richard Sherman interview is beginning to lose its legs a bit (thank you), but we still can pass along a couple items, including some support he received from his parents (expected) and Hank Aaron (unexpected). ... The contrast between the quarterbacks is a storyline that will play big over the next 10 days but Bob Condotta went there first with this feature. ... There are stories about the Seahawks in the Denver-area newspapers and stories about the Broncos in the Seattle-area papers. We link them too. ... Job interviews are still in the news. ... Who will be the MVP? Wanna bet? ... At least the translation should be quick.
• Guess what day it is. Yep, it's another day of me on the radio today with Keith Osso and Rick Lukens. You can listen here between 3 and 6 p.m. Until then ...