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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Summer can get crowded for everyone these days

A GRIP ON SPORTS • Let’s get this straight. It’s not summer yet. If it were, you think the NBA and NHL would still be on the TV? Read on.

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• Of course they would be, if there were a buck in it. What was I thinking? But summer doesn’t officially start for a few weeks yet. How do I know? Simple. High school spring sports are still going on. This is the final weekend, of course, and the area high schools will break for summer vacation before you know it. (Do they still play that Alice Cooper song?) But this week the paper is full of stories of high school kids doing wonderful things on the track, on the course, on the field, on the pitch, wherever. The golf tournaments finished yesterday, with courses in the Spokane area hosting four championships. Track began last night, with distance runners taking the spotlight. Softball and baseball are also on tap, as is tennis and soccer. By this time Sunday morning, baring an awful bout of weather, high school sports will be over for the 2014-15 year. And then summer really begins. The time of year when high school athletes – and their parents – have to become jugglers. If you lament the demise of the three-sport athlete (I don’t and I’ve stated my reasons before) then the next couple months are the time of year you must hate. I am old enough to remember when June was a month for playing baseball and that’s it. Then football camps started to creep in. And basketball summer leagues. And then 7-on-7. Nowadays, a high school athlete can be expected to participate in all the major sports in the course of one day. How’s that, you may ask. Simple. When school breaks for the summer, there will be football weight-lifting and conditioning in the morning. The afternoon is a Legion game, followed by a quick dash to a basketball summer league game if there is time. I know this through personal experience. I do believe I went through two cars while my boys were in high school. There is nothing wrong with this of course. A busy teenager is a tired teenager – and one who is less likely to make a stupid decision after dark. And there are even some schools in which the coaching staff works together to make sure there is as little pressure on the athletes to choose what they are doing each day. But that’s not always the norm. Oftentimes the 15-year-old is stuck in the middle, especially the 15-year-old who isn’t a great player but really loves the games. There is the subtle – and not-so-subtle – pressure to be at the baseball game instead of the basketball game. Or to take a basketball trip instead of going to football or volleyball camp. And on and on. In most cases, Joanna Highschooler has to make a choice. Pick one if only to ease the burden on mom, dad or older brother to get them to summer events. Or to balance the family budget. There are great lessons to be learned in time management, of course, and personal responsibility and accountability. Plus, learning how to deal with stress is good training for your 40s at the office. Just playing games or going to the lake or mowing the lawn or walking to the 7-Eleven for a slurpee? Sometimes that’s lost. Lost in the flotsam of summer, circa 2015.

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• WSU: A receiver/defensive back from Southern California has committed to the Cougars. Jacob Thorpe has the information in this blog post. ... ESPN.com's Pac-12 blog examines defensive backs this time around.

• Gonzaga: Jacob also has a story on what’s become a rite of spring around here, Gonzaga and WSU competing in the NCAA rowing championships. The Cougars are hosting the event in Northern California.

• Preps: Talk about a lot going on. Jim Meehan covered the 4A girls’ golf tournament at Indian Canyon and filed this story. ... Chris Derrick was at Qualchan for the 4A boys and has this story. ... Tom Clouse covered the 2A boys and 2A girls out in Liberty Lake. ... Tom also has an advance of state baseball while Chris has one for state softball. ... Jim Allen has a feature on Central Valley’s soccer coach and an advance of the state final four. ... We also can pass along Steve Christilaw’s advance of state tennis. ... Jim Allen was at the opening night of the 1A, 2B and 1B track meet at Eastern and has this story. ... Finally, Greg Lee has coverage of the 4A, 3A and 2A track meet in Tacoma.

• Seahawks: Russell Wilson's agent, Mark Rodgers, did an interview on Seattle radio yesterday and every word he said was parsed and re-parsed. In fact, you can read every word here. At least he's "optimistic." ... John McGrath is getting tired of this.

• Mariners: Corey Kluber, despite a poor start to the 2015 season, is a tough nut to crack. And it doesn’t help when Robinson Cano sits with “flu-like” symptoms. Or when you’re starting pitcher, lefty James Paxton, has to leave the game with “discomfort” in a finger on his pitching hand. At least Paxton had already given up most of the damage by the time he left in the fifth as the M’s lost 5-3 to Cleveland and dropped below the .500 mark again.

• Sounders: Who would have thought Stefan Frei would be this good? Well, besides Stefan Frei of course.

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• It’s Friday so I’ll join Dennis Patchin and Keith Osso on 700 ESPN one last time this week from 3 to 6 p.m. You can listen here if you like. Until then ...



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Looking for a Grip on Sports?

Vince Grippi's daily take on all things regional sports has been moved to our main sports section online. You can find a collection of these columns here.