A GRIP ON SPORTS
When does the statute of limitations expire on rooting for your high school? Never? Read on.
• It was late last night. At least for me. My phone dinged. A text message. My best friend in Southern California had sent me a link to a story in the Pasadena paper. Our high school had just defeated the highly favored high school next door and would be making its first appearance ever in a CIF basketball championship game. I smiled. Then realized it was after 10:40 and wondered what he was thinking. But as I tried to get back to sleep I began wondering. How long does your high school stay in your blood? Is it a fatal disease? Will you root for the sports teams until they put you under? I guess. It's been 40 years since I graduated from St. Francis and I still bleed brown and gold. I don't think I've seen a Golden Knight athletic event live since I took off my dirty baseball uniform in May of 1974 but whenever Kent sends me a note about the Knights, I read it. Make that, I devour it. And rivalries? We had a few. I can't hear a mention of Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks) without bristling. And I can't think about La Canada – the team St. Francis upset last night – without thinking of that (insert bad word here) who ran me over at home plate while I was jumping for a high throw, knocking me on my (insert descriptive word of your choice for my bottom here). But most of all I remember the good times at athletic events, in the stands with my friends Kent, Mike, Greg, Pete, those guys, as we cheered at football games. Or the teammates who invested their sweat equity with me on the baseball field, Maben, Morris, Sweeney, Renfro, those guys. I haven't kept close with most of them – a move of more than a thousand miles will sever some ties – but whenever Kent sends me a link, I think of them all. They may not be your friends now but they hold a special place in your memory banks – and always will. High school sports are more than wins and losses. A lot more. They are also about building bonds that last through the years, no matter how close or distant you become.
• WSU: Washington and Washington State are bound together by geography. But they are also bound together through the basketball coaches. The teacher got the better of the student last night as the Huskies rolled in the second-half to a 72-49 rout of WSU. Jacob Thorpe was back in Hec Ed and has a game story. He also has the box score on the blog along with a post detailing a radio interview coach Ken Bone did Friday along with his morning post today. ... We can pass along the Seattle Times game story along with a couple items from ESPN.com's Pac-12 blog: the Saturday mailbag and a look at next year's tight ends around the conference. ... Oregon is spending big bucks on the defensive side of the ball. ... The Cougar women have never defeated Stanford in hoops. This will make it even tougher today.
• Gonzaga: The Zags have clinched the West Coast Conference regular season crown – again. Both regular season crowns. The men will finish up the season at St. Mary's, where it will be senior night. Jim Meehan has that advance. The women will finish up at home against Pacific. Thomas Clouse has that advance, which is a feature on senior Jazmine Redmon. It is senior day after all. ... Jim also had a day-after post yesterday concerning the Pacific win. ... There is a lot on the line today when BYU travels to San Diego. ... Portland's Jim Sollars will retire after today's women's game.
• Whitworth: Both the Pirate men and women will be playing for NWC tournament titles today and the NCAA Division III playoffs automatic bid that goes with them. The men are home against Puget Sound while the women are at nationally No. 1 ranked Whitman. Thomas Clouse has an advance that covers both.
• Preps: Yes there is a lot of prep basketball coverage in the paper today and we will get to that. But first we wanted to share Greg Lee's story on Mt. Spokane's new football coach – only the second in school history – and this piece on Idaho state wrestling. Now back to basketball. ... Greg was at Central Valley last night where he covered two boys games, U-Hi's 3A win (pictured) that sends them to Tacoma next week and undefeated 2B St. George's rout that puts them back in the Arena. Colin Mulvany was there as well and has photographs of University's victory. ... Jim Allen was up at Mt. Spokane where 3A Shadle Park's boys rallied to earn a spot in Tacoma and the Wellpinit boys earned a spot in the 1B tournament at the Arena. ... Colton will also be at the 1B boys tournament. Tekoa-Oakesdale will be at the 1B girls.
• Seahawks: It's now official. Red Bryant and Sidney Rice are no longer Seahawks, victim of salary cap mathematics. The Hawks announced the news yesterday. That changes the makeup of the team in the future. ... Tarvaris Jackson may just stick around to back up Russell Wilson.
• Mariners: More bad news for the M's. (Oh, when will it ever end? If I cover myself in cloth and throw ashes on my head, will that help?) Taijuan Walker's shoulder is dinged up, so he won't throw for at least a week and, though it is healing, Hisashi Iwakuma's finger is still mending and he won't throw for at least three more. The rotation is going to be a mess when the season opens. ... The hitting continued at a torrid pace Friday but the weather might just wipe out today's game.
• Sounders: Seattle meets D.C. United today in a preseason match and, on the other side, will be Eddie Johnson. He expressed no ill will yesterday in an interview. ... The Sounders made a roster move yesterday, loaning a player to Chivas USA. Under MLS rules, he can't play against them. ... There are some labor issues between the players and the MLS. ... There will be some changes in the broadcast team this year. Maybe Sigi Schmid should have a speaking part.
• Thanks for taking a walk down memory lane with me today. I know none of you attended St. Francis. But your high school, I bet it was the peachiest. And if you are still in high school? It gets even better. Don't let anyone tell you these are the best years of your life. Those are ahead. But as the years go by, you will have a better view of your classmates and your teachers. You'll have a more balanced view of the good and the bad. And you'll still root for (insert nickname here). Count on it. Until later ...