A GRIP ON SPORTS • It’s hard for sports fans to live in the moment. If you’re team is good or bad, the last game is never, seemingly, as important as the next one or two or three. My father had a name for those type of folks: Yabuts. Read on.
• You know who he was referring to, right?
“The Screaming Yardbirds won by 32 last …” “Ya, but?”
See, for Yabuts, the present is never enough. It is always colored by the past or the future. Win on Wednesday, the “ya,” and Saturday’s game becomes the subject of the “but.”
Doesn’t matter if your team is 13-1 or 1-13.
You know where I am going with this, right? The Yabuts populated social media to a certain degree last night after Washington State’s 13-point win over Oregon State at the lightly populated Spokane Arena.
The Cougars are 2-0 in Pac-12 play since, well, since I lived in Pullman and covered their basketball team, to put a highly personal spin on it. That would be 2008 for those of you without the VinceGrippiApp on your Apple product.
“Ya, but they are 9-5 overall and are destined for another bad conference season.”
We’re not saying the Yabuts aren’t right. They probably are. Their skepticism is based on past history, recent history and the eye test, all of which tell them Washington State will struggle through the Pac-12 basketball schedule.
If I may: Ya, but.
But the Cougars have won both of their conference games thus far, traveling to Seattle and beating the Huskies before last night’s win. That’s the schedule they were given. They have handled it.
Live in the moment. Don’t worry about tomorrow until, well, Saturday, when the Pac-12’s hottest team, Oregon, invades Beasley.
For now enjoy the 2-0 conference start. Revel in it, actually. When your basketball team last achieved that record the year it went to the Sweet 16, then it’s OK to be happy. Now.
And don’t get caught up in other forms of “ya, but,” either. The optimistic kind.
“Sure, we’ve lost at home to San Jose State and New Orleans, ya, but we are 2-0 in the Pac-12 and have won four straight games. We can win this conference and go the NCAA Tournament and who knows what happens …”
• There have been a lot of Yabuts around Gonzaga over the years. They are the ones who tell their peers to wake them in March, when the games really matter.
No matter how well the Zags are playing, their answer always is “ya, but, they have never made the Final Four.”
The express the thought they are tired of being disappointed in the NCAAs. Tired of falling short each March. Tired of winning “meaningless games.”
Those folks also deserve a swift kick in their Yabuts.
Gonzaga: Speaking of the fifth-ranked Zags, they are in the Bay Area for tonight’s game with the surprising Dons. Jim Meehan will be there and he has a game advance, the key players for USF and a look at the series history. … The biggest game of the night in the WCC is also in the Bay Area, with Saint Mary’s hosting BYU. Are the Cougars improved enough to upset the 19th-ranked Gaels? … The Gonzaga women are back at home after a 0-2 conference road swing. They host USF and Jim Allen has an advance. … Around the WCC, University High graduate Brett Bailey is having a great senior year.
WSU: When the Cougars need to get separation late in a game, Ernie Kent turns to freshman Malachi Flynn. He’s come through the last two games. Jacob Thorpe has the story of his, and the Cougs’, 75-62 win last night. John Blanchette was also in the Arena and he has this column while Colin Mulvany covered the game with these photographs. … Jacob also has video of postgame interviews with a couple WSU players and Kent after the win over Oregon State. … The only other Pac-12 game last night was in Seattle, where the Huskies fell to 0-2 after losing 83-61 at home to Oregon. The Ducks are playing well. Washington isn’t and that casts doubt on Lorenzo Romar’s future. … Most everyone else in the conference is back in action tonight. Colorado faces Arizona State in Tempe, Utah tries to win its first conference road game, at Arizona, and the Bay Area schools travel to Los Angeles. … In football, Stanford and California will lose their best defensive lineman and receiver, respectively, while Oregon received some good news from its best receiver.
EWU: Football assistant Troy Taylor didn’t stay long in Cheney, but he and the Eagles each received something from the relationship. Jim Allen has that story. … The Eastern basketball team will host the Montana schools this weekend. Jim also has an advance of those games. First into town are the Montana State Bobcats. … Southern Utah travels to Northern Colorado while North Dakota host Northern Arizona.
Idaho: The Vandals host longtime rival Montana tonight.
CCS: The Sasquatch were outscored by Walla Walla.
Chiefs: Spokane traveled to Kelowna and picked up a win.
Preps: It’s Thursday, which is Prep Page day, so Greg Lee has a look ahead at the rest of the GSL basketball race. He also examines the WIAA’s computer ratings that will decide playoff seeding for the first time this year. … We can pass along boys and girls basketball roundups, a gymnastic roundup and a wrestling roundup. … A former Ferris High player, Jared Christy, is helping Pacific Lutheran on the boards.
Seahawks: If you want to know what Richard Sherman is thinking about this and that, you are now out of luck. He’s not talking to the media anymore. Well, most of the media. … This Seahawk team doesn’t compare to others. But the past is past. This year's playoffs are ahead of us. … From snapping to his wife to snapping in the NFL playoffs. That’s the change for Tyler Ott. … There is one injury.
• The Zags’ game tonight is on ESPN2. We’ll be back here later this evening with our view of the coverage. It’s what we do. By the way, if my dad were alive to ask, I'm sure he would say I spelled Yabuts wrong. He would want two "Ts" on the end. Until later …
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