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They stood on the corner downtown, a loose, silent group of young men. Most not more than boys, really. Each had a bag or duffle at their feet.
I realized they were new recruits on their way to boot camp. To basic training. On their way to an adventure, on their way to the fast-track to maturity. On their way to a place and a future they couldn’t imagine. Gone, as the old folk song goes, for a soldier.
The group paid no attention to me as I walked past. Most were lost in their own thoughts, staring down at their shoes, or at their fingernails. I wondered if they were still under the spell of tearful goodbyes; hugs from crying wives, mothers or girlfriends, awkward handshakes from fathers whose voices were gruff with unshed tears.
It was all I could do to walk on by. I have a son just about their age. I worry about him all the time. When he’s traveling, I call, leaving nagging texts on his phone.
“Where are you?” I write, or “You need to call me now.”
When he’s in town, I cluck and flutter around him like a hen, asking questions and giving advice that is politely taken, but quickly tossed away.
Those boys weren’t mine, but I could barely contain the urge to do the same for them.
“Take care of yourself,” I wanted to say. “Be careful. Pay attention to what’s going on around you. Call your mother.”
I wanted to send them off with a blessing.
What would they think, I wondered, if a woman – a woman old enough to be their mother - ran up to each one and, taking their head in her hands, kissed each cheek and told them she loved them? Because at that moment I did love them all. They would remember me I’m sure. From time to time they would talk about the crazy woman who kissed them the day they left. They would laugh about it, but they would never forget.
I didn’t stop. My feet kept walking. They kept their eyes trained at the far edge of the horizon.
And we each kept our thoughts to ourselves.
Cheryl-Anne Millsap writes for The Spokesman-Review. Her essays can be heard on Spokane Public Radio and on public radio stations across the country. She is the author of “Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons” and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
A couple of GU stories to link to. Both will run in tomorrow's S-R.
The first: Gonzaga might want to win its last two WCC games to remove most of the guesswork in regards to titles, tournament seeding, etc. That's because the Bulldogs are on the losing side of most tiebreakers with Saint Mary's or San Francisco. If GU wins two, the worst it can finish is co-champions and second seed in the WCC Tournament. More here.
The second is an update on Gonzaga's incoming recruiting class, which is putting up some impressive stats as the prep season winds down. Notes that didn't make the final version: Ryan Spangler is averaging 4.5 assists per game and he's had 30-rebound games this season. Gary Bell broke Renado Parker's school record for scoring at Kentridge High. Parker went on to star at NIC, signed with Idaho and has since tranferred to Portland State, where he's sitting out.
More on the 2011 recruiting class here.
Beau Baldwin, the third-year head coach of Eastern Washington University's NCAA Division I national champion football team, announced the signing of 20 high school recruits to letters of intent on Wednesday.
You can get an early look at the Eagles' recruiting story that will run in Thursday morning's S-R here, and you get additional details — including short bios on all signees — supplied by EWU's sports information department by clicking here.
Eastern Washington will make its 2011 football recruiting class official on Wednesday, the first day prospects can sign letters of intent.
Among those expected to sign with the reigning national championsh is Idaho's Gatorade and 4A player of the year Cody McCarthy who — according to this story in the Idaho Statesman — announced his intentions to become an Eagle on his Facebook page.
Eastern Washington University signed 14 recruits, including a pair of transfer quarterbacks, to national letters of intent Wednesday morning.
You can get more details, as supplied by EWU’s sports information department, here. And check back later for an early look at the signing day story that will run in Thursday’s S-R.
Beau Baldwin’s second recruiting class at Eastern Washington University is both big in numbers and loaded with talent.
The Eagles’ second-year coach, coming off a 6-5 season, announced the signing of 33 high school seniors to national letters of intent on Wednesday. I’ve posted an unedited version fo the recruiting story that will appear in Thursday morning’s S-R below. And I’ve also included a complete list of recruits.
As promised, I’ve updated this post with this link to the recruiting story on EWU’s website, which includes additional information on all of the new signees and additional comments from Baldwin. Please read on, and feel free to leave your thoughts on Baldwin’s latest recruiting efforts here.