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U.S. had something to cheer about

A GRIP ON SPORTS

The high temperature in Spokane is supposed to be 56 degrees today. What the heck? OK, I've lived here long enough to know mid-June is prone to days like this, but really? Why couldn't it have been 56 and raining yesterday when I was stuck in the house listening to chants of U-S-A, U-S-A and other, more raucous retorts. Read on.

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• I always figured I would never meet more exuberant fans than those of Washington State football. And I use the term "exuberant" as a synonym for "insane" or "crazy" or "wild-eyed." All those terms are a compliment as far as I am concerned. Yes, I was once that type of dedicated follower. Age – and spending years as an observer – has robbed me of that affliction but I can still admire the energy from afar. Or close up, as was the case yesterday. My sons and a friend spent the afternoon – they all had the day off; how's that for serendipity? – rooting on the U.S. National Team in its World Cup opener in Brazil. Now, the group wasn't all that confident the U.S. could handle Ghana, but they understood, if our national team wanted to advance out of the group stage, it had to find a way to win. So when Clint Dempsey scored some 30 seconds in, the house almost came down. I know Jim Allen spent the match wandering around downtown Spokane watering holes for fan reaction – as an aside, those type of stories are one of the more fun chores sports writers have to deal with – but there couldn't have been any crowd louder than the three guys in our TV room. Luckily, soccer being what it is, the next hour or so was quite a bit quieter. Like every sport, however, the referee came in for some pointed criticism but the play on the pitch, dominated as it was by the Ghana midfielders – I heard that somewhere – didn't lend itself to much cheering. Groans, yes, there were groans – and other words – when Ghana scored late to tie it but they didn't last long. Just a couple minutes later John Brooks scored on a set-piece header and the noise reached unhealthy levels. Talk about pandemonium. Is it really possible for three people to get that excited? Or as quiet as they became over the next few minutes? It's hard to make too much noise when you are biting your nails, I guess, because as the seconds ticked down the house was as silent as a church on Super Bowl Monday. Then the referee ended it. And the U.S. had its win. Cheers, yes, but it didn't take long for the guys to begin debating what had to happen to get a victory against Portugal. Fans. You've got to love them.

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• WSU: We didn't have much for this spot yesterday (how about nothing at all?) but we weren't going to let that happen two days in a row. I mean, Jacob Thorpe wasn't going to let that happen two days in a row. Jacob posted his Monday look at a 2014 WSU opponent and this week it is home opener Portland State. ... ESPN.com's Pac-12 blog has a couple of interesting items, the most relevant being a Q&A with quarterback Connor Halliday. There is also a look at the most important win for each school since the last World Cup. ... Jon Wilner delves into the Pac-12's finances once again.

• Gonzaga: How would you like it if Matthew Dellavedova coached the Gonzaga women? It would be tough, right? The situation is similar – not the same, but similar – at BYU these days.

• Indians: How about this start? The Indians are 4-0 after another win last night at Avista Stadium. That's the way to open a season. Chris Derrick has the game story and a blog post on the 6-4 win over Eugene.

• Preps: Greg Lee puts together a weekly notebook of youth activities during the summer. He starts this year with this one.

• Seahawks: Will he or won't he? That's the question the Hawks have today. Mini-camp begins and will Marshawn Lynch show up? No one knows for sure. ... The Hawks made some changes to the roster yesterday, releasing former UW quarterback Keith Price and signing former EWU running back Demitrius Bronson among other moves. ...

• Mariners: It was a sad day for baseball in general but for the San Diego Padres in particular. All-time Padre great Tony Gwynn died yesterday at age 54. ... The Mariners honored Gwynn then went out and defeated San Diego, 5-1. Kyle Seager is swinging a hot bat, that's for sure. ... Some of the walking wounded are doing more than walking right now.

• Sounders: The whole world doesn't stop for the World Cup. Well, yes it does. Except the United States, it seems, which is playing its Open Cup. The Sounders will give their elder statesman a chance in goal during the tournament. And they were happy to see their star player score the U.S. team's opening goal yesterday. ... Sigi Schmid offers his analysis on the U.S. win.

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• Yesterday will be better. At least the Weather Channel is promising it will be. I can't make any promises for this column. 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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