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Tuesday, October 15, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Grip on Sports: The recipe for a sports fan to get through winter includes two or three key ingredients

Gonzaga Bulldogs forward Brandon Clarke (15) has his shot blocked by Tennessee Volunteers forward Kyle Alexander (11) during the first half of a college basketball game on Sunday, December 9, 2018, at Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Ariz. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga Bulldogs forward Brandon Clarke (15) has his shot blocked by Tennessee Volunteers forward Kyle Alexander (11) during the first half of a college basketball game on Sunday, December 9, 2018, at Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Ariz. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

A GRIP ON SPORTS • What makes up a perfect winter? We think there are a few ingredients that are important and we want to share our recipe. Read on.

••••••••••

• Let’s start with the weather. After all, winter is the season in which weather is most important. It sets the tone for the three seasons that follow.

The best winters include a whole bunch of snow. In the mountains. Snowfall after snowfall hitting the higher elevations means great skiing – the best of the outdoor winter recreational sports – and a healthy snowpack to feed the streams and rivers the rest of the year.

But the snow is best in the higher elevations. Down in these parts (and by that we mean in Spokane), it’s always better when it only snows occasionally. Snow cover is grand but it doesn’t need to be 3-feet deep in the city. It can rain more often. That’s fine. A shovel or three between now and March is plenty.

• Football takes up the early part of winter, with bowl games at the college level and the NFL playoffs reaching into February. It would be nice if the local teams kept winning – on all levels.

The workweek is always better when your football team has won the weekend before. The depressive nature of winter has a tougher time taking hold when you are armored with a Teflon-like coating of victory.

So it would be nice if Eastern won the FCS title, Washington State and Washington each won their bowl games and the Seahawks marched to another Super Bowl title.

Will all of those things happen? Probably not. But a couple would go a long way toward helping us get through the holidays in an upbeat manner.

• Basketball at all levels carries most of us through the worst of winter. When James Naismith thought up a way to keep his YMCA folks in better shape through the harsh Massachusetts winter, he also helped the rest of us stay sane when we are facing our 73rd consecutive day of sliding out to get the mail.

The better our local teams play, the happier we are.

So if our favorite high school could play well, the Eagles, Vandals and Cougars turn things around, Whitworth make its usual deep run in the NCAA Division III playoffs and Gonzaga could march to a national title, then winter would be bearable.

We’re not asking for too much here, are we? After all, when you live in the Inland Northwest, where we are near nature, near perfect, we expect to have it all.

Even in winter.

•••

Gonzaga: The last of the really entertaining nonconference games comes up Saturday night when the Zags travel to North Carolina. Before then, however, Jim Meehan took some time to look back at the most recent of the fun contests, against Tennessee. … Jim also talked with Larry Weir yesterday for the latest Press Box pod. … Around the WCC, BYU and the suddenly red-hot Yoeli Childs will face Portland State tonight. … USD, quite possibly the second-best team in the conference, heads to Oregon to face the Ducks.

WSU: If you want to watch the Alamo Bowl in person, good seats are still available, as they say. Theo Lawson reports this morning on the ticket sales from each of the participants, Washington State and Iowa State. … Elsewhere in the Pac-12, the conference’s former athletic directors are shedding some light on the Larry Scott era. … The highest-rated football game this season pitted USC with Notre Dame. That’s not surprising. … The Trojans have added a couple of assistants. … Utah’s Britain Covey shared the severity of his knee injury. … Manny Wilkins will make his last Arizona State start in this weekend’s Las Vegas Bowl. … Colorado’s new football coach sounds ready to take the field tomorrow. … In basketball, unless there is some success in the last few games, the nonconference results may drag down at-large chances for Arizona and the rest of the Pac-12. … Colorado rallied from 17 points down and got past host New Mexico, 78-75.

EWU: It may come as no surprise, considering whom Maine defeated last week to set up the showdown with Eastern, but the Black Bears remind EWU players of Weber State. Ryan Collingwood has more in this notebook.

Preps: It was a busy night in high school hoops, with Dave Nichols at the recently remodeled Gonzaga Prep gym for the Bullpups win over with Ferris. … We also have a roundup of other GSL boys games and GSL girls games, along with games from around the area in girls and boys action.

Seahawks: The Hawks unveiled a new look defensively Monday night and it gave the Vikings fits. … Next up for Seattle is a road game at the 49ers. … Duane Brown moves better than most offensive lineman. … The Super Bowl loss may finally be in the rearview mirror. … No, it wasn't. But it was, because a penalty flag wasn't thrown.

Mariners: The M’s may trade Mitch Haniger. But they haven’t gotten the right offer yet. Other trades could still happen as well. … There is another Japanese pitcher the Mariners are interested in. … Scott Servais addressed Lorena Martin’s allegations.

•••       

• No, it’s not snowing today. And yesterday’s fall has mostly melted away. But there seems to be a good chance we will have a white Christmas. There is something special about that around these parts. It’s enough to make you sing. Until later …

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