Last night we told you we would have a blog post this morning and we do. It's just not your typical morning post. Read on.
• Washington State: I'm sure most, if not all, of you are aware of former Gonzaga Prep and WSU player Steve Gleason's on-going battle with ALS. But I'm not sure many of you knew Gail Gleason, Steve's mother, works in the academic division of Washington State's athletic complex, if that's the right word. And she has for the past four years, come January. I've seen Gail off and on in the halls, sometimes alone, sometimes with relatives (WSU's "athletic complex" is not very big you know), even said hello on occasion. But since Steve's diagnosis became public, I've treated her with respect and not bothered her. As a parent of two boys (as is Gail), I can't imagine what she's going through. I look at my boys and wonder how I would handle such news. Honestly, I don't know if I would ever stop crying when I was alone. But last Saturday, while perusing the parents lined up for Senior Day through my binoculars, I noticed Gail in line with the number five hanging around her neck (as I joked with Alex Hoffman-Ellis later that day, the numbers were there in case, after all the time they spend in Pullman, they have forgotten who their parents are). I wondered why Gail was standing up for Brandon Rankin. So I started asking questions. Out of those questions, this story was born. It seemed a perfect fit for this day. ... There were a couple items I couldn't figure out how to weave into this story but I wanted to share. I asked Gail how many times she's been on that field for Senior Day, figuring the answer had to be at least two. Nope. It was her first time. They didn't do this when Steve was playing. In that way (and others, as the story points out), Brandon was able to give her something special. And we did talk a bit about Steve, but it was hard for her to not cry, and – I know I shouldn't admit this – for me too. In the course of this part of the interview I started a question "As a parent of two boys, I'll I want for them is to leave the world a better place than when they came in – " She didn't let me finish but said, "Steven is doing that." Amen to that. ... One more thing. Gail loves her job, loves her department, saying the academic support staff is made up of caring people who are there to help the athletes earn the most important thing they came to college for. No, not home runs or touchdowns or pro contracts. That degree. The one Brandon Rankin says he's going to get – when I walked into Gail's office for the interview, Rankin was sitting at the desk next to hers, studying – come hell or high water. If he doesn't, he said, his mother would walk all the way from North Carolina and kick his butt. ...
• OK, I'm not going to do my usual post today. Just Apple Cup stuff. This is a holiday and I want to spend it helping Kim cook (verbally of course; she wouldn't let Gordon Ramsay touch anything in there today), watching football and talking turkey with my boys. Talk about thankful. ... Besides the Rankin/Gleason story, we have our Pac-12 picks for the week. ... Bud Withers has a feature on Alex Hoffman-Ellis (he also passes along his picks for the six best Apple Cups), as does freelancer Howie Stalwick. ... The Times' Bob Condotta looks at the recruiting of Bishop Sankey and examines an aspect of the Apple Cup. ... The Everett Herald has this feature on Marshall Lobbestael, a player the Huskies are wary of. ... And, finally, Bill Moos has said all year he'll make a decision on Paul Wulff's status after the season. When he reiterates that for the 429th time on a Seattle radio station, it's big news. If you remember, and I do, he told everyone his decision on Sunday last season. ... Oh, one more thing. The Cougar basketball team plays tonight (second item) on ESPN2. Hope you can slip away to watch it.
• That's it for today. I have a lot to be thankful for and I hope each of you do as well. Enjoy your day. Until later ...