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A GRIP ON SPORTS

A fight at a football practice? Oh my goodness, what's a fan to do? Relax would be my advice. Read on.

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• If I had a nickel for every fight I've seen at a football practice since 1970, I could retire. Oh, right. Anyway, there was an altercation during the Seahawks' mini-camp practice yesterday. It earned headlines. Video was everywhere. What a crock. I'm sorry, but football is a physical game played by testosterone-fueled men. Even if they are practicing without pads. So when that testosterone boils over a bit and players shove, push, swing and, yes, fight, it's not something to get too worked up over. Unless someone gets hurt. Almost every football practice I've ever attended – and I've attended a whole heck of a lot over the years – has had a fight or two. Mostly they are just minor scuffles. Sometimes they break into nearly full-scale riots. The latter usually end up in up-downs or some other form of punishment. But the usual brouhahas, the ones featuring a couple guys slapping at each other, those are relatively ignored. Heck, there are usually one or two guys on every team who are worth watching each day because, sooner or later, they'll instigate something. And you former WSU players know who I am talking about, cough, Wade, cough. Most coaches don't have trouble with the usual altercations. Some let them go, others move to break them up as soon as possible. But everyone I've ever talked with has had an understanding of the reasons behind them. It's hard, in a sport that encourages physical conduct and a sense of, to put it bluntly, meanness, to eliminate fights at practice completely. But as long as the harsh feelings never leave the practice field, and there is no lasting physical damage, coaches will continue to be tolerant. And scuffles will continue to happen.

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• Gonzaga: The West Coast Conference is in the spotlight over at CBSSports.com, with the Zags, of course, the centerpiece of the discussion.

• Indians: Home, road, United States, Canada, it doesn't make any difference. The Indians keep winning. They extended their season-opening winning streak to five with a 5-2 win at Vancouver.

• Chiefs: If you are a hockey fan, even casually around these parts, you know all about the billeting system the Chiefs use for their young players. If you don't, Tom Clouse has a feature that will introduce you.

• Shock: As one might expect, Erik Meyer is happy his injury-imposed hiatus is over. Jim Meehan has his feelings in this story.

• Seahawks: Other than the fight news, there was only a little news coming out of Wednesday's mini-camp session. Marshawn Lynch was there, of course, and new defensive tackle Kevin Williams is pleased to be on a team with an established quarterback. ... Rookie wide receiver Paul Richardson talked with the media as did Pete Carroll.

• Mariners: Are you surprised? The M's offense was nearly non-existent last night and despite another outstanding outing by Felix Hernandez, the M's lost 2-1 at San Diego. What surprised me was the vehemence from some folks, including the host of the M's post-game radio show last night. Matt Pittman was beside himself with anger over the M's pathetic offense. As if it's news. ... The M's have reached agreement with their top draft pick.

• Sounders: The amateur team the Sounders faced last night in their first U.S. Open Cup match was, well, no match. Seattle won 5-0 and will face San Jose in the next round. Sigi Schmid said the goal was to score a lot early and not let PSA Elite think it had a chance. Mission accomplished.

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• I saw a tweet yesterday from columnist Mark Whicker of the Orange County Register. It said something to the effect the Spurs Greg Popovich was going to rest Tim Duncan during the celebratory parade. He was going to sit him down for a few blocks. Made me laugh. So I retweeted it. If you are on Twitter and want to follow me, it's @vinceg55. By the way, in all the fights I have watched at football practices, I don't remember a significant injury. I do, however, recall a player being hurt badly celebrating a great play. Until later ... 




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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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