Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Grip on Sports: As winter sports begin to snow us under, we have an out-of-the-box solution

Washington State guard Viont’e Daniels drives to the basket for a layup as Idaho’s Victor Sanders  defends  during a game on Dec. 6, 2017, in Moscow, Idaho. (Pete Caster / AP)

A GRIP ON SPORTS • It’s another busy day. They all will be between now and the 25th of the month, right? So let’s get right to your sports news. And then you can get back to picking out the perfect gifts for little Billy and Nevaeh and Vinnie. Read on.


• I’m a firm believer that when those in power back in ancient times decided on the day to celebrate Christmas, instead of the end of December they should have picked the middle of February. That way, when we all longed for snow around the holiday, and got our wish, it wouldn’t stick around for another couple months. It would be gone in a couple weeks.

Win, win. Don’t you want snow before the big day? Of course you do. We all do. But when it falls, say Dec. 18, there is a good chance it will still be hanging around March 1. And snow and ice on the roads means it’s tough to get to basketball games. Wouldn’t it be nicer if it just rained in the valleys and snowed in the mountains until, I don’t know, Feb. 10th?

And had all melted away, down here anyhow, by B Tournament week?

Wouldn’t it be cool if Christmas carols were blaring from the downtown speakers while we all got ready for the Super Bowl? If Bing Crosby was hauntingly wishing for a white Christmas on Feb. 8, that would be OK. Let it snow that day, and coat the Inland Northwest for the next couple weeks.

We could celebrate the holiday and then get ready to plant our gardens – using that big box of Miracle-Gro Saint Nick brought.

Now little kids everywhere pray for snow this month. And the big fella upstairs answers them. Over-answers them as far as I see it. Some years we are still digging out in early April.

So let’s move Christmas to February, can we? Is there an Internet petition somewhere I can sign? I’m sure we can get this done. It’s shouldn’t be all that tough to overturn a few thousand years of tradition.

After all, the NFL moved its extra points back a few yards recently. Now that was changing something important.


WSU: So was the 6-0 start an illusion or what? It may seem that way to Washington State basketball fans after the Cougars lost their second consecutive game, this one a blowout in Moscow. Yep, WSU traveled eight miles to lose 91-64 to Idaho. Theo Lawson was there and he has the game story. (I’ve also linked it in the Idaho section, if you get that far.) … It wasn’t a good night for the Cougars in their local basketball battles. The women lost at home to Gonzaga, 64-56, despite an injury suffered by the Zags’ best player, Jill Barta. Peter Harriman has that story. (I’ve also linked it in the Gonzaga section, if you get that far.) … The Times’ Stefanie Loh has a story on the salaries of Cougar assistant football coaches. … ESPN has a feature on Mike Leach.

Elsewhere in the Pac-12, it was still a good day for the conference’s basketball programs, headlined by Washington’s 74-65 upset of second-ranked Kansas. … The other win came from Colorado, which defeated New Mexico. … California’s season has been awful thus far. … So has Stanford’s. … USC’s may bounce back if the NCAA ever makes a decision on one of its players. … UCLA and Montana didn’t play due to the fires around Westwood. … In football, Arizona wasn’t happy at all with the All-Pac-12 picks. … Can Arizona State become a destination for top talent? … Bryce Love is headed to New York for the Heisman presentation. … Where is Oregon headed? The school needs to act quickly to secure its head coach. … Oregon State’s staff is filling out.

Gonzaga: As we said above, we have the link to Gonzaga’s win over WSU in women’s basketball. … Jim Meehan made his way back from New York yesterday but took some time to write about two young players who played well. … Around the WCC, San Diego won on the road last night, while BYU won at home. … Pacific saw its winning streak end.

EWU: The Eagles received some good news yesterday as the authorities dropped the charges against two football players, including quarterback Gage Gubrud. Jim Allen has the story. … It was tough weekend for the Eagle basketball team. Jim has a story on where it stands. … In Big Sky football news, Weber State is getting ready for its biggest challenge of the season. … Southern Utah had a historic year.

Idaho: Three Vandals earned first-team all-conference honors in football. … As we promised, here is the story on last night’s Idaho win over WSU. … In other Big Sky basketball news, every conference team that played won, except Weber State. … Portland State is 7-2, Idaho State, Southern Utah and Northern Arizona defeated Southern California schools while Montana’s game at UCLA was cancelled due to the fires.

Chiefs: Everett picked up a home win over Portland.

Preps: It was a busy Wednesday in the prep arena, but roundups from boys and girls basketball, wrestling and gymnastics aren’t all we can pass along. Dave Nichols has a column on the importance of high school sports and a feature on a former player of mine, Anton Watson, as part of his boys basketball preview.

Seahawks: Injuries happen all the time in football, but that doesn’t mean the players have accepted them. … Football is part of our culture. And our culture’s problems also are a part of football. … The Hawks love December.

Mariners: If the M’s want to sign Shohei Ohtani, they needed some more money. So they made a trade yesterday to improve their international signing bonus pool.

Sounders: Clint Dempsey is motivated to win a MLS crown. He missed out on last year’s triumph.


• One of the items on my Christmas list this year is a comfy robe. I had one once. It’s now my wife’s. I’m still not sure how that happened. Until later …