A GRIP ON SPORTS
I can tell you right now, though I could have told you last night as well: Even just watching Hoopfest is something you should train for. Read on.
• It wasn't all that warm yesterday, but it was hot on the downtown courts. And even warmer up by the Arena. By the afternoon, the games were even more intense. In the brackets they should have been intense in. And a few that it shouldn't have been that way. But in the let's-play-and-have-fun brackets? It was just that, fun. That's something that hit me even more than usual yesterday. There are more than a few levels of competitive fire on display in the hundreds of different Hoopfest brackets. There are some in which the fire burns on the court. Fine, though if you are 54 years old and still getting mad about a foul that was a bit too hard, then maybe it isn't the game or the event that is the problem. There are others where the fire blazes up among the spectators. Not so fine, especially on the younger players' courts. I heard way too many inappropriate remarks yesterday aimed at people that don't deserve them, whether it be the young players or the court monitors. And there are other courts where the competitive fire doesn't really burn at all. It's more about the outfit, or the camaraderie or the postgame beverage. Those courts are the heart and soul of the event, the part of it I love – though some of the shorts I saw on younger male players made me wish for a dress code that my old principal, Father Lawrence, could enforce. Most folks who take the court on Saturday and Sunday of Hoopfest weekend don't dream of winning. They don't dream of being the next LeBron. They just want to get together with their bodies and be part of something special. They are. They really are.
• WSU: The Missoulian has an interview with former Washington State basketball coach Ken Bone, now an assistant at Montana.
• Gonzaga: One of the rites of summer is finding out where graduated seniors will be competing in NBA summer leagues. This list is pretty good and it includes David Stockton competing with Phoenix. And Sam Dower Jr. will be with the Blazers' team in Las Vegas. The leagues aren't just an audition for the NBA, they also serve as a springboard for an overseas contract.
• Indians: The best 15-game start in Spokane professional baseball history? It's now owned by the 2014 Indians, who tied the 1911 Hawks' 13-2 mark yesterday. The Indians reached that record yesterday with a 5-2 win over Everett. … Speaking of the AquaSox, Larry Stone has a column on their manager, a guy you might have heard of in the past.
• Shock: Spokane got back over .500 with a 70-21 rout of the L.A. Kiss last night in Anaheim but the more important piece of news is the Shock clinched a playoff berth. And that Erik Meyer stayed healthy. With Meyer at quarterback, Spokane is a threat to defeat anyone. Jim Meehan has a bit more in this blog post.
• Hoopfest: Tom Clouse scoured the streets yesterday for a notebook on Hoopfest while John Blanchette caught up with some of the 58 folks who have played in all 25. I wish I could have been part of that crowd.
• Mariners: The M's couldn't hit last night – only Kyle Seager's single stood between them and a no-hitter – and lost to the Indians, 5-0. That's the bad news. The good news? They have played well enough in the first half that folks are writing about the future, as in whether the M's management will make the moves needed to take a run at the postseason. … There is a move coming and it involves pitcher Taijaun Walker. He will start Monday's game. … Where do the M's rank in the majors? Two power rankings are available from the Puget Sound area.
• Sounders: The MLS season is at the halfway point and the Sounders are 10 points ahead of the second-place team in the West. That's OK, isn't it? … Seattle got to the midway mark on the wings of a 1-0 win at D.C. United in a match notable because their three best players did not play. Chad Barrett did, however, and he scored the game winner. That fact wasn't lost on the folks who talked afterward. … Landon Donovan is still not pleased he's not part of the World Cup.
• After I rub something on my calves, I am headed back downtown. There is another day of games, though the teams will begin to dwindle as the day goes on. As will my energy. Until later …