A GRIP ON SPORTS
Ever been around Spokane on Memorial Day weekend? I'm guessing not. Because there is nobody here. Driving around town yesterday I was struck again on how this place empties out on the first unofficial weekend of summer. Read on.
• I don't own a tent or a lake cabin or even a pair of hiking boots, so I'm always here on Memorial Day weekend. But the rest of the community seems to be otherwise occupied. Streets that are usually jammed on Saturday mornings were nearly empty yesterday – and last year and the year before and the year before. I know. I am a stay-cation type of guy. And my stay-cation is always made better by fewer people getting in my way. I'm guessing more than a handful of those who left town did so to watch a state semifinal somewhere, whether it be a track meet in the Tri-Cities or a baseball tournament on the West Side. There was plenty of action around the state yesterday, leading up to next weekend's state finals. There will always be local participants next week, though those of the team variety seem to be winnowed out pretty well. But with golf, tennis and track, individual participants abound, each ready to make a memory. Yes, that's how I think of prep championships. A chance to make a memory. And a story you can tell the rest of your life, win or lose. There's a friend of mine who has told his state wrestling loss story more than a hundred times if he's told it once. And another former softball teammate who used to often relate his state baseball title win over a Spokane legend. Then there's those who use their state stories – like a local golfer I know who still speaks reverentially of Fred Couples' abilities – to illustrate the divide between their athletic accomplishments and the pros in their sport. For all of you high school athletes out there who are headed to state this week, take a minute to look around, to take it all in. Win or lose, it's a time that will stay with you for the rest of your life. Enjoy it.
• Idaho: Think about this. If you are a fifth-year senior offensive lineman at Idaho this fall, you will be playing for your fifth line coach. Want a half-full look at it? You will be ready to become a college assistant right after graduation. You should know every way there is to teach blocking technique. Josh Wright has more on the changeover on the Vandals' coaching staff in this blog post and story.
• Whitworth: The Pirates were successful at the Division III track and field championships.
• UFC: A couple of local fighters posted wins in a big UFC weekend matches.
• Preps: Greg Lee was in Pasco yesterday for the 4A and 3A regional track meets and has the stories. ... Ferris will play in the State 4A soccer semifinals after defeating Camas yesterday in a shootout. ... The baseball results were not as good as Gonzaga Prep, which lost 2-0 to state 4A favorite Puyallup, and Lewis and Clark both saw their state title hopes washed away with Saturday losses. However, Mt. Spokane rallied in the bottom of the seventh to defeat Kennewick and head to next weekend's state 3A semifinals. At the 2B, DeSales advanced to the state tournament with two wins. Correspondent Steve Christilaw has the coverage. ... The 3A GSL softball teams also did better, with Shadle Park and U-Hi headed to State. Chris Derrick was at U-Hi and has the story. ... The 4A girls tennis regional was dominated by GSL athletes. Steve has the story.
• Seahawks: For once there is not a lot of Hawk action around the Net, but we did find a couple items from the News Tribune. The paper is running down the depth chart and covered fullback and quarterback yesterday. ... The Times looks at the bonus money given to free agent signees.
• Mariners: The answer to this question should be yes. Brandon Maurer has been given his opportunity – or opportunities if you like – and, as the M's starters get healthy, should be sent down. He had a chance to make an impression yesterday against the Astros and did. It was a bad one in a 9-4 defeat. ... Stefen Romero is trying his hand at the DH spot.
• Sounders: Ties are OK in soccer, especially when you are on the road – as the Sounders were yesterday – against a tough team – again, as the Sounders were yesterday – and trailing late – ditto again. A questionable penalty – hey, one went Seattle's way? – allowed the Sounders to escape Vancouver with a 2-2 draw and earn them a point in the standings. ... Brad Evans didn't rest. Cut from the U.S. World Cup squad, he returned to the Sounders and contributed yesterday. He's not going to cry about the World Cup snub. ... The Whitecaps' second goal was not the best play by Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Frei. ... Landon Donovan talked with the media about his exclusion from the World Cup roster. He doesn't sound happy.
• It's a holiday weekend. I think I might take some time tomorrow and write about my dad, a World War II veteran who, like most of his peers, is no longer with us. Tomorrow is Memorial Day, after all. Until then ...