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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Grip on Sports: ‘The Lake’ life makes us jealous but also makes it easier to get around these parts on weekends

A boater trolls for mackinaw while fishing at Priest Lake, Idaho. (Rich Landers)
A boater trolls for mackinaw while fishing at Priest Lake, Idaho. (Rich Landers)

A GRIP ON SPORTS • It’s the weekend. And not just any weekend. A weekend in the middle of July. Which means the only sporting venue with a chance to draw a crowd has to be on a lake somewhere. Read on.


• When we moved to the Inland Northwest – called the Inland Empire in those days – some 35 summers ago, we wondered where this place every went to on weekends was located. It was called “The Lake.”

Which lake? No one would ever say. And not being in a rush to join a cult, we never learned the secret location.

But we did learn how to speak Spokanese. And to translate. “The Lake” isn’t a place. It is a state of mind. A summer state of mind. Not to demystify anything, but you should know “The Lake” can be anywhere that isn’t here – though I think some people try to experience it in their backyard with an inflatable pool.

In reality, “The Lake” translates into getting away. Of being somewhere different. Of lazing away a Saturday afternoon or a Sunday morning. 

We never joined the congregation, mainly because our boys worshiped at the church of baseball. Our summer weekends, and most weeknights, including packing, yes, but in preparation for a few hours at a ball field somewhere, watching them play, though for many years they also had to return the favor while dad played.

Even after they grew up, summer was about sports. Still is. It’s just the denomination is different, with basketball replacing baseball as the deity. 

It doesn’t leave much time to head off to “The Lake.”

• One good thing about not participating in the lake life? The city seems semi-deserted on weekends. Getting from here to there, no matter where here or there is, seems easier. And faster.

On July 4th, the high holy day for those who believe in “The Lake,” it only took about 25 minutes to get from home to the Painted Rocks trailhead, where we took a nice 90 minute hike around the Little Spokane River. Most weekdays that’s a 40-minute haul at best. 

I’m pretty sure the line at the concession stand near “The Lake” took longer to navigate.

• Even if you are headed to a beach somewhere, you might want to take a few minutes and read Rob Curley’s story on a competition Avista Stadium is in. And then get on you phone or pad or computer and vote for the local ballpark. 

You’ll probably be even more motivated when you read the location of the stadium’s competition in this national contest. 


Gonzaga: Jim Meehan and Larry Weir spoke with the newest Zag yesterday, Geno Crandall. The conversations with the grad transfer from North Dakota led to Jim’s story and Larry’s Press Box pod. … Jim also has a story on how Mark Few is going to spend his final weekend of July. He’ll be in Las Vegas, where he usually is – it’s an open recruiting weekend and there are at least four major tournaments in the city that weekend – but instead of following high school kids, he’ll be working with professionals. 

EWU: Jake Wiley is continues to chase his NBA dream. This month he’ll be with Dallas’ team in Las Vegas’ summer league. 

Shadow: The undefeated soccer team begins its playoff quest tonight against FCM Portland at SFCC. Justin Reed has a preview of the contest and the postseason.

Indians: One bad inning can spoil the whole barrel, as it did last night for Spokane. Steve Christilaw was at Avista and has the game story following the Indians’ 7-2 series-ending loss to Tri-City. Despite the defeat, Spokane still earned the series win. … Around the Northwest League, Eugene snapped a losing streak. … Everett was shut out by Vancouver, 9-0.

Mariners: Bad Felix Hernandez showed up last night at Safeco and the Rockies took advantage, winning 7-1 in the series opener. And they may have lost Dee Gordon. … The big news of the day, however, was the M’s signing general manager Jerry Dipoto to a contract extension. The manager will get one soon. … The organization’s top prospect, Kyle Lewis, will play in the Futures Game. The top draft pick from this year is sick. … Mike Marjama is going from catching to helping others.

Sounders: Now Seattle has to try to make it back-to-back wins. This one will be tougher.


• Get out of here. It’s time to get to “The Lake.” Until later … 

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