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Sunday, August 25, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Some hobbies are real (and really fun), others are just imaginary

Gonzaga basketball fan Keith Sims hasn’t missed a single game this year, including the season-opener in Okinawa, Japan. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga basketball fan Keith Sims hasn’t missed a single game this year, including the season-opener in Okinawa, Japan. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)

A GRIP ON SPORTS • Do you have a hobby? Playing golf? Woodworking? Chasing butterflies through the Amazon? Or maybe watching, in person, every game a college basketball team plays throughout an entire season. Read on.

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• Jim Allen has a story in today’s paper about a Gonzaga Superfan (not to be confused with McLovin in “Superbad”) named Keith Sims. It seems Sims decided during GU’s NCAA run last season to attend every game this one. And made good on his pledge. Admirable, sure, and other things. Time consuming, sure. Money consuming as well. But aren’t all hobbies? Heck, model trains don’t paint – or buy – themselves. Sims’ hobby got me to thinking. If you had a chance to go back in time and were able to follow one local team throughout its season, which one would it be? Would you opt for one of Gonzaga’s groups, the 1999 NCAA-breakthrough team or the Adam Morrison team that lost to UCLA? Maybe even one of Dan Fitzgerald’s teams or John Stockton’s senior season. Maybe you are a Cougar fan and you would want to see them the year they went to the Rose Bowl – the first time. Take lots of antibiotics, because the world wasn’t a safe place in 1916. Though maybe you want to stay closer to now, and you would spend the summer of 1997 playing golf with Ryan Leaf and the fall watching him lead the Cougars to the Rose Bowl again. Or you would like to sit next to me while we document WSU’s Sweet Sixteen run under Tony Bennett less than a decade ago. Across the border from Pullman, Don Monson’s 27-3 1982 Idaho basketball team would be fun to watch as the Vandals surprise everyone from Washington to Iowa. Maybe you are an Eagle aficionado and would rather watch one of Eastern’s two seasons that ended in NCAA basketball bids or the national championship football season. There are other teams or players to follow of course, from the Spokane Chiefs’ 1991 – or 2008 – Memorial Cup runs to Henry Rono and his 1978 world record runs while in Pullman. Or maybe you just want to transport yourself back to the late-1970s to watch youngsters Ryne Sandberg, Stockton and Mark Rypien gallivant around Spokane. You decide. Whatever year you pick, it will be fun. And expensive, like all hobbies. You don’t think building time machines is cheap, do you?

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• Gonzaga: Besides Jim Allen’s feature, we can also pass along a couple of other Zag-related items from the pages of the S-R. Jim Meehan takes a look at Syracuse’s 2-3 zone and why it gives teams fits. I saw what it did to GU first-hand in 2010 in Buffalo, where the Orangemen shut down Matt Bouldin, Steven Gray and the Zags 87-65 in a second-round game. ... The Orange won’t be the only team playing defense Friday. If you have been paying attention here, you’ll recall I’ve been beating the GU defensive drum for a while. It’s also the subject of John Blanchette’s column today. ... If the Gonzaga women had gotten past Utah Monday night in the WNIT, they would have hosted Oregon last night. And they would have had to contend not only with former coach Kelly Graves but also a guard he recruited to GU but who followed him to Eugene, Lexi Bando.

• WSU: With the Pac-12 down to just one NCAA basketball team, it’s seems right and proper to concentrate on spring football. Jacob Thorpe does just that with this story in today’s S-R. It’s based off Mike Leach’s pre-spring press conference yesterday. ... Jacob also has a morning post with a couple links. ... But there is a lot more on Pac-12 spring football available, including a WSU preview from ESPN.com’s Pac-12 blog, a couple in-depth looks at the conference as a whole and a feature on a former WSU running back now at BYU. ... In the basketball world, Coach K went off on something else again, one of his former assistants got a new job and the school Johnny Dawkins was fired from, Stanford, is still looking for a replacement. ... Two Washington freshman have decided to leave and irrevocably enter the NBA draft. Does this put more pressure on Lorenzo Romar?

• Idaho: Spring time is also golf time.

• Chiefs: The WHL playoffs are about to be upon us, so Tom Clouse advances the Chiefs’ first-round series with Victoria by featuring a 19-year-old defenseman, Matt Sozanski. ... Awards were handed out this week and the top goalie resides in Everett.

• Preps: Our spring previews continue today with Greg Lee looking at soccer in the GSL and GNL as well as featuring Central Valley’s best players. ... There may be a pitch count for high school baseball soon.

• Seahawks: Another busy day in the Hawks’ world yesterday. They made a small roster move, which is typical of this offseason. Though Pete Carroll says they are eager to put a disappointing 2015 behind them, the Hawks aren’t doing much in free agency. Is this a winning strategy? ... Carroll is always – always – Mr. Positive. I wonder if he’s positive he would rather not play the Rams in China in a couple years.

• Mariners: Nathan Karns is fighting for a spot in the starting rotation. But he didn’t do much for his chances yesterday as he was knocked around considerably in the M’s loss to the Athletics. ... Mike Zunino is trying to work his way back to the majors. ... How much are the M's worth?

• Sounders: The Seattle roster has been hit hard by international call-ups.

•••

• I am not sure which local season I would want to follow. I guess I would opt for something in the mid-to-late 1970s on the NorthSide. A youth league perhaps, just to see a young Sandberg or Stockton or Rypien play. Then again, that 1916 Rose Bowl train trip might have been a hoot. 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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