A GRIP ON SPORTS
It hit late last night. No, not the muscle soreness from playing golf in almost 100-degree heat. That was expected. No, it was an unexpected reaction I had while watching, of all things, a professional soccer match. Read on.
• Want one word that could describe my feelings about soccer most of the time from 1956 to 2014? Indifference. Even the past few years, when I've come to enjoy watching the sport, if I missed a match, it wasn't that big a deal. That changed a bit during the World Cup, when the U.S. games became appointment television for me – and a lot of folks in the country, based on the ratings. But that can be explained by an affinity for the red, white and blue more than the sport involved. Heck, I root for the U.S. curling team during the Winter Olympics and I loath sweeping. Last night was different, in a couple of ways. First off, I was the one pushing my golf group off the course at 6:30, just so I could get us home in time for the Sounders' match with the L.A. Galaxy. That was unusual enough. But then something happened. Seattle began the game playing like the stuff you step in up at the dog park. It was awful. The Sounders defense looked like my favorite pair of walking shorts, full of holes and worn to a frazzle. Such are the vagaries of sports, I guess. Even the best teams can't play at their best all the time. But it was my reaction that surprised me. I turned it off. I just couldn't watch any more. It meant too much. And that's odd. Usually, that reaction is reserved for the top of the top on my list of teams for which I root. If I'm watching a random NFL game and one team sucks, no big deal. I continue to watch. But if it's the Hawks that are stinking up the place, my frustration level is such I just can't deal with it. Off goes the TV, on goes the computer and I just ignore the whole debacle. Now, I'll make sure someone else is still monitoring the event, so if an epic rally occurs I can join it in progress, but most of the time the game is dead to me. Same thing with the M's or the Dodgers or a handful of other teams. The outcome of the game means something, so when it is not is doubt, I just tune it out. It happened last night, some time after the Galaxy's second goal. Click. I couldn't take it anymore. And, click, a light bulb went off over my head. Crud. I'm becoming one of "those" people. Yuck. Next thing you know, I'll buy a scarf.
• No, that will never happen. I don't ever purchase clothing associated with a team. That ship sailed years ago. The last piece I believe I bought was a T-shirt with a fake Bible verse on it. "Thou shalt not steal second." It's labeled Dan 2-6, and it dates back to Dan Wilson's time as the M's catcher. I wear it when I'm doing yard work, if at all. But buying a coat or jersey or some overpriced piece of cloth associated with a team is a typical American way to pledge allegiance. For me, though, being ticked off when a team is playing poorly – as was the case last night – is a better indicator of an attachment. It's a personal thing, sure, but it did get me to thinking. What are your forms of attachment? What actions indicate you are rooting for a team? Is it when you begin reading every blog post ever written about your beloved Eastern Eagles? Or is it when you realize you have six Gonzaga basketball T-shirts? Or is it more esoteric, like the way your stomach feels on a Monday when the Cougars have a football game the next Saturday? What action or feeling signals to you that you are hooked? Don't be shy. Share.
• WSU: Talk about coincidence. Yesterday on the blog, Jacob Thorpe posted his look ahead to Arizona, the Cougars opponent in Pullman on Oct. 25. Then ESPN.com's Pac-12 blog picked the same game as their road trip for that weekend. Guess I will have to be there. ... Former Cougar basketball player Nik Koprivica, one of my favorite players to cover over the years, has joined the coaching staff at Truman State in Missouri. The connection? Truman is coached by former WSU assistant Matt Woodley. ... There is more on former California AD Sandy Barbour landing at Penn State.
• Indians: Spokane has the Northwest League's equivalent of Murderer's Row this season and it's helped the Indians to the North's first-half title. And it helped them to a 6-2 win over Vancouver last night at Avista Stadium. Chris Derrick has the game story and a blog post on the victory.
• Chiefs: Spokane will be without one of its most prolific scorers from last year, as Reid Gow has decided to hang up his skates.
• Seahawks: Don't look now, but today could be a fun day at training camp. The ESPN folks are in town, doing their training camp report from the VMAC and disrupting everything. At least that's the expectation. ... The Hawks signed another defensive back yesterday, one with ties to USC and Pete Carroll. ... They also have been developing depth through using some players at multiple positions. ... Of course, playing pass defense the way the Hawks have the past couple years might be tougher under the new rules emphasis, though maybe not for Richard Sherman. ... Walter Jones is headed to the pro football Hall of Fame. He's a bit nervous about it. ... The offensive line could make or break the season. Isn't that usually the case? ... Finally, here are some interesting thoughts about Marshawn Lynch's holdout. (You didn't think you were going to get away without a Lynch story, did you?) ... UPDATE: The Hawks signed offensive tackle Eric Winston today, adding a veteran to the young bunch.
• Mariners: You know what's not good? When a national publication does a story that says your general manager is basically a dweeb – to put it nicely. That's the thrust of this FoxSports.com piece on Jack Zduriencik (pictured) that appeared yesterday afternoon. The comments about Zduriencik, if true, don't bode well for the M's making a move before the trade deadline. That wouldn't bother me, but I would rather it be because the team has a long-term plan it doesn't want to deviate from, not because the G.M. is too afraid to pull the trigger. ... Yesterday was an off-day, so Ryan Divish filled the void with a long blog post on the M's offense. Yep, the frustrating M's offense. The one that makes me turn off the TV if they fall behind by a run or two. ... Will Kendrys Morales help? ... Fernando Rodney is still trying to reach new heights.
• Sounders: Last night was a butt-kicking, pure and simple. It was over in the first half, when L.A. scored all its goals in the 3-0 decision. It might have been over, in reality, Saturday night when Sounders' defenseman Chad Marshall, the best player on the back line this season, was in a car accident that led to back spasms. But great teams should be able to overcome an injury. Seattle couldn't last night. ... The loss left the Sounders wondering, their coach ticked off, the Galaxy looking forward and my television off.
• It was warm on the golf course yesterday. Really warm. Too bad my putter was ice cold. Until later ...