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Saturday, March 23, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Grip on Sports: Never let your sports memories degrade over the years

In this May 18, 1998 file photo, Seattle Mariners’ center fielder Ken Griffey Jr., right, is congratulated on his three run homer by shortstop Alex Rodriguez and first baseman David Segui in Toronto. (John Lehmann / Associated Press)
In this May 18, 1998 file photo, Seattle Mariners’ center fielder Ken Griffey Jr., right, is congratulated on his three run homer by shortstop Alex Rodriguez and first baseman David Segui in Toronto. (John Lehmann / Associated Press)

A GRIP ON SPORTS • The Mariners had the day off. Spring football is either basically over or on a break. Basketball is down to the NBA playoffs. It’s too wet to golf too much. So what’s a sports column supposed to focus on? Read on.


• If you ever need a walk down Memory Blvd., don’t turn on the History Channel or Lifetime. Nope. Click the TV to Turner Classic Movies. You never know what feelings might be dredged up.

Last night my TV clicker hung up on TMC during Barbra Streisand’s birthday celebration. “The Way We Were” was on. My first girlfriend’s second-favorite movie.

She’s no longer with us, having passed away a couple years ago. But the movie, in all its tear-jerking glory, is.

I settled in and watched. And discovered some things just don’t age well. I found myself picking at the plot, the dialogue, the acting. Heck, even the song seemed to have lost some of its luster.

Which made me realize something. Maybe all those athletic heroes of my youth weren’t really as good as I remember either.

Maybe Sandy Koufax really wasn’t the greatest pitcher of all time. Maybe Magic Johnson was only so-so at the point. Maybe Lynn Swann didn’t have glue-like hands.

Maybe all those guys just seem that way because my misty water-colored memories are flawed.


When it comes to sports heroes, memories are always right. And if they aren’t, who cares? It’s what they represent that matters. A time filled with smiles and laughter. Of newness and wonder.

When Koufax would lean back and throw that overhand curve that dropped off the edge of the Grand Canyon, it was the best you ever saw. And it can stay that way. Same with watching Ricky Henderson explode off first base, Ken Griffey Jr. climb a fence to take away a home run or Omar Visquel snatch a ball out of thin air with his bare hand.

Dwight Clark really did rise 12 feet into the air to catch a pass. And Barry Sanders actually could dematerialize in a hole and reappear 4-yards downfield. Heck, Marshawn Lynch once bowled over 12 Saints on a playoff run.

No matter when your youth was, sports were simple then. They really were.

Never lose that feeling. Never re-run those memories through the television in your mind and pick them apart.

If you do, they’ll lose some of their magic. Heck, we all need magic to break up the mundane days of our lives.

And maybe even a bit of Magic, out on the break, ball out front, a wide-eyed defender about to make the wrong decision.

That’s something we never should choose to forget.


WSU: It was a quiet Monday in Pullman, but not all that quiet around the Pac-12. The head of the Pac-12 Networks, Lydia Murphy-Stephans, stepped down recently and Jon Wilner took some time to explain how that might affect our viewing habits. … There was some Washington State news, with ESPN’s Pac-12 blog looking at the Cougars’ spring game. … USC is revamping the Coliseum. … Budda Baker’s brother has a checkered past and a vision of his brother’s future. … California’s spring game tried to answer some questions. … In basketball, Oregon is trying to rebuild its roster with a combination of youngsters and transfers. … The conference’s early entry list for the NBA draft is pretty darn long. … Arizona State attracted two transfers.

EWU: Jim Allen had a busy Monday, with another in his series of stories on football – today he looks at the secondary – and two on basketball: Jake Wiley turned some heads in Portsmouth at the NBA camp and a power forward signed a letter of intent yesterday.

NIC: The Cardinals’ golf teams both won team titles over the weekend.

Mariners: With the off day, there is no Mariner Log, so we’ll put the links here. … Edwin Diaz needs experience. To get that, he needs to pitch. So Scott Servais is trying out some new ideas.

Seahawks: John Schneider met with the media yesterday and, among other things, talked about Richard Sherman and a trade possibility. … The draft also came up – it was the reason for the media availability. It may be a crucial one for the Hawks as they try to replace players who may be no longer in their prime. … Will John Ross slide in the draft? … The run game doesn’t seem all that important but running backs are still in demand.

Sounders: Seattle actually scored a couple times against Los Angeles. That’s a good thing.


• I mentioned yesterday I struggled to deal with the rain in Seattle. Then I found this story today. The last two years have been the wettest in the city’s recorded history. No wonder home prices are so high. Everyone pays a premium just to stay dry. Until later …

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