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It’s time for the Shock to go all “Braveheart” on the AFL

A GRIP ON SPORTS • Remember that speech in “Braveheart” in which William Wallace rides in front of his troops and rails about the English not being able to take the Scots’ freedom? Me too. Gets me every time. And came to mind today concerning a local sports story. Read on.

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• OK, I admit it. My mind works in mysterious ways. Odd connections happen. Take the Spokane Shock for example, or whatever it is we have to call them these days. When I heard the AFL is not going to let the franchise take the name into the IFL next year (see the link to Jim Meehan's story below), the image of Mel Gibson – as Scottish hero William Wallace – popped into my head. And it immediately occurred to me the Spokane owners need to fight. Not just fight, mind you, but rally the troops and fight. I can hear it now, owner Nader Naini, his face painted orange and black, standing in the passenger seat of a topless Hummer H2 (the modern equivalent of a war horse) beseeching a group of Spokaneites with No. 9 jerseys ... “Aye, fight and you may have to cash in your 401ks. Run, and you’ll save ... at least a while. And lying in your assisted-living beds, many years from now, would you be willin' to trade ALL the days, from this day to that, for one chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our championships, but they'll never take... OUR NICKNAME!” Why? Because the AFL is going all King Edward I on the Shock. If you remember, the Shock didn’t begin life as an Arena Football League franchise. The began as an AF2 one. Actually, for a while, the AF2 one. The best in the league. But the AF2 didn’t survive because the AFL didn’t survive. When the “top-level” league took a year off to catch it’s breath, so to speak, the AF2 soldiered on. But it was a losing battle. And when the AFL went looking for franchises to help resuscitate the dying and bankrupt model in 2010, it looked to Spokane. The Shock came aboard. And promptly won the league title. Which ticked off everyone from Philadelphia to Orlando. But the league model is still broken, with franchises coming and going like McDonald’s monthly specials. And every time a franchise went broke, the remaining franchises had to foot its bills until the end of a season. Finally, Naini – and numerous other ownership groups – had had enough. The Shock announced after the last AFL season it was heading out and into the Indoor Football League. Except yesterday we found out the Shock wasn’t going. The name was staying – with the AFL. What the heck? The Shock is Spokane’s indoor football franchise. Has been since 2005. The AFL, thanks to bankruptcy of the Arena league, came around five years later. But the ownership groups ceded the nicknames and ancillary items to the league, thus yesterday’s announcement. It’s all legal and up-and-up, I’m sure, just like the AFL’s “stringent” salary cap always has been. But it stinks from here to San Jose – hey, that’s another way it’s like the AFL’s salary cap. Anyhow, the former Shock franchise has to come up with a new nickname for the IFL. May I suggest one? How about the Shockers. The Spokane Shockers. There are a lot of people here who once lived in Wichita, right? That’s whom the franchise could honor. Or the folks on the Palouse, the wheat capital of the Northwest. It has nothing to do with the former nickname. Nothing at all. And when I think of wheat, I think of orange and blue. How about you? Seems like good colors to use. Plus all those folks who bought jerseys over the years could just add an “ers” to them and save a few bucks. That’s what this league change is about, right? Saving a few bucks? Seems right to me.

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• WSU: Cougar fans have a dream. A dream that someday the ESPN crew will trek to Pullman so the Cougar flag wouldn’t have to travel to appear on “GameDay.” Once again, they are a win away from that happening. Maybe. Jacob Thorpe has the news ESPN is considering the Halloween game vs. Stanford as the “GameDay” site, though a lot of blocks have to fall into place. The biggest key, of course, is this Saturday afternoon’s game at Arizona. ... The Pac-12 set the starting time for Stanford and it is at 7:30 (on ESPN), the Cougars first home night game this season. ... Jacob has his usual items from Monday, including game notes, videos from press conference appearance by Luke FalkDarryl PauloJamal Morrow and Mike Leach, as well as the news Shalom Luani is the Pac-12 defensive player of the week. And there is a morning post with links. ... Let’s see. We also pass along this weekend wrapup, the quarterback rankings from ESPN.com’s Pac-12 blog and its midseason all-conference picks, which includes one Cougar, Gabe Marks.

• EWU: Cooper Kupp continues to catch passes, return kicks and garner awards. ... Former Southern Utah offensive coordinator Gary Crowton left Cedar City in the middle of the season for personal reasons. That would be, in layman's terms, more money from Oregon State.

• Shock: We will continue to use the old nickname until a new one is chosen – if we like the new one. If not, they’ll always be the Shock to us. Jim has the story of the fight with the AFL.

• Preps: Lewis and Clark’s volleyball coach resigned earlier this month.

• Seahawks: One thing we’ve already learned this trying season: The Hawks depth is being tested and its not measuring up. ... Pete Carroll says his going back to USC is “not happening.” And it shouldn’t. He has too big a job ahead of him in Seattle right now. ... Derrick Coleman’s suspension will be lifted and he may be back with the team this Thursday against San FranciscoBobby Wagner might be available as well. ... Earl Thomas still believes in the defense and the season.

• Mariners: James Paxton pitched yesterday in the fall league and didn’t get hurt. ... The M's interviewed a managerial candidate and added a player to their roster.

• Sounders: The MLS playoff scenarios are starting to clear up. Of course, there is only a week left in the regular season.

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• How goes it today? The sun should be shining, which is usually a good thing. At least it makes me smile. 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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