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Steve Christilaw: A recipe for success on the playing field

UPDATED: Wed., Nov. 22, 2017

I collect things.

Even after moving to a new house and having to sort, pack and haul it all, I keep adding to my collections.

Especially my collection of recipes.

Which is an interesting thing to collect for someone who really doesn’t follow a recipe. I treat them more as a guideline and let my taste buds guide the process.

Thanksgiving dinner brings a bunch of them out. Today will feature my brined, spatchcocked turkey with dressing (you can’t technically call it stuffing since there is nothing left to stuff once you cut the back out of the turkey and splay it out). I have a new variation on my tried-and-true cranberry sauce (this year I’m adding fresh pineapple instead of Granny smith apples) My secret ingredient, however, remains the same: a healthy splash of apple brandy. My daughter is making her version of my maple-flavored sweet potatoes. The rest of the meal will be provided by other family members.

But mostly, my Thanksgiving recipe is to enjoy having the family gathered around our table – four generations worth of family.

Other time-tested recipes in my collection will be pulled out over the next week or two.

When you grow up as a Washington State Cougar football fan, your recipe for happiness is to not let your expectations rise too much. It’s better to let a sudden burst of flavor (in this case the flavor of victory) surprise you when you bite into it.

This year, with the Cougars entering the Apple Cup ranked ahead of Washington Huskies, there might be some extra yeast in that pre-game dough.

Ahhh, but don’t overproof it.

That long history of success Mike Leach has when it comes to playing the Huskies?

Just keep repeating this mantra: “They have to win one sometime. They have to win one sometime.”

High school basketball has been busy the past week getting its prep work done for the 2017-18 season, and teams are closing in on the opening jamborees and inaugural games.

Meanwhile, the boys basketball teams at Central Valley and West Valley are learning to get by with a short staff for a while as the football teams have extended the season by at least one more week.

Central Valley blasted Skyline, 41-0 in the state Class 4A quarterfinals and steams into this weekend’s semis to face the Bears’ postseason nemesis, Richland, Saturday at 1 p.m. at Edgar Brown Stadium in Pasco.

Meanwhile, West Valley posted a convincing 28-15 win over Selah in its state quarterfinal. The Eagles will battle Hockinson in the semifinals Saturday, 1 p.m., at Gonzaga Prep.

There’s a hard truth about being a sports fan: Once you get to the postseason, there will be only one set of fans who do not go home disappointed. Every team, save for the eventual champion, goes home after a loss. That can be a bitter pill to swallow, for sure. But eventually, the bitter turns to sweet and you can look back on a season of accomplishment.

I’m certain there are CV girls soccer fans who are a little disappointed that the Bears’ undefeated season came to an end in the state championship game, where CV lost to Issaquah, 2-1.

I doubt coach Andres Monrroy is one of them.

He’s explained to me on a number of occasions that he’s not about winning trophies, although he’s not sending back the two he’s already won for his two championships.

His team took the pitch in the last match on the last day of the season. They played a great game and came up just a little bit short. That happens in the beautiful game. The ball may be round, but it will still bounce funny from time to time.

As West Valley coach Shelli Totton-Peterson said before she headed off to the State Class 2A championships, if her team walks off the field having given it their all and fall exhausted onto the bench, she’ll be satisfied.

The sweetest recipe of the fall came at the State Class 1A volleyball tournament.

No high school, let alone a sports team, should have to deal with what the students, faculty and family in Freeman have had to come to grips with this fall.

The Scotties’ volleyball squad was hit hardest of all because one of the players wounded in the shooting there was a starter on the team.

Coach Eva Windlin-Jansen said at the time that she was going to concentrate on helping her players heal and let volleyball take a back seat for as long as necessary.

But when the team got back to playing, they played extremely well.

At the state tournament, Freeman lost its first-round match to Lynden Christian, but rallied to beat Bellevue Christian and Northeast A League rival Lakeside to reach the trophy round, bringing home the eighth-place trophy after falling to Naches Valley in three sets.

There are wins that mean more than just a number on a scoreboard.

This one means so much more.

It’s a recipe that is delicious beyond measure.

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