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Paul Turner: Rooting against a football team can make anyone a fan

So you say you’re not interested in college football.

Well, to each his own.

But if you don’t actually root for a certain team, have you thought of rooting against this or that school?

OK, maybe that’s not the most exalted expression of the human spirit. But I have been doing this for years and I have to say it can be quite satisfying.

So before the S-R sports section rolls out its always excellent preseason previews, here’s my brief guide to selecting a college team to root against.

Identify a coach you cannot stand for one reason or another - it’s usually not hard to come up with a few things that bug you - and then root against his team.

Identify the team with the most criminal infractions and then root for that school’s opponent each week.

Does a particularly annoying relative or irksome co-worker have a favorite college team? Well, there you go. Your path is clear.

Did your ex graduate from a school that fields a football team? OK, then I probably don’t need to spell it out for you.

The team with the most laughable commitment to academics? “Push ’em back, push ’em back, wayyy back!”

Do you find yourself just getting sick to death of hearing about this or that local squad? You can root, root, root against the home team.

The problem with that last one is a number of your friends or family members probably went to that institution of higher learning and you don’t want to cheer for their team’s misfortune. So you might elect to root against certain pro teams instead.

Taking in the dam

Here are eight of the numerous reactions children have to Grand Coulee Dam.

“Does Spokane own this?”

“Who was FDR?”

“Is it real?”

“My teacher says this is an environmental disaster.”

“Isn’t it a fact that this actually prevents the Columbia from, as Mr. Guthrie put it, rolling on?”

“We drove all the way over here to see this?”

“How did they design the dam if they didn’t have computers?”

“Do they have WiFi?”

Pep talks

It’s just about that time of year when those who send kids off to school with brought-from-home lunches have to ask themselves one key question.

What kind of notes will you be including with the sandwiches, cookies and what-have-you tucked into the superhero lunch boxes or brown bags?

There are, of course, several ways you can go.

Traditional Stuart Smalleyesque affirmation: “You’re good enough, you’re smart enough, and doggone it, people like you!”

Call to competitive excellence: “Make this the day you work hard and crush the dreams of some Chinese kid competing with you for world dominance.”

Song lyric of the day: “People try to put us down.”

Guilt: “Your poor mother and I have done all we could to provide you with a nurturing, supportive home environment. Try not to let us down. It would break your mother’s heart.”

Warning: “Word to the wise - most of your peers are headed for prison. And remember, anything you do today could wind up on your permanent record.”

Inspirational: You can’t go wrong with the rousing pre-battle speech from Shakespeare’s “Henry V” or the Herb Brooks “Miracle on Ice” pregame exhortation to the 1980 U.S. Olympic team at Lake Placid. (Though your third grader might be puzzled by “You were born to be hockey players.”)

Managed expectations: “Do your best. We’ll still love you, even if everyone else regards you as something of a disappointment. Participation trophies are better than nothing.”

Local angle: “Remember, it’s not pronounced Spocan’t.”

In any case, if you are the one who packs the lunches, you might want to step up your game. At least so far as your uplifting notes are concerned.

Weather report

Bruce Pemberton said the issue of heat and humidity sometimes comes up when he’s at the gym and encounters others who had been in the military.

“We always laugh when we hear people complain about the heat. Try Baghdad. To this day I always check the high temp in Iraq every day in the summer. Never under 110. The other issue is mugginess. NOTHING in Eastern Washington qualifies as muggy. Most of the guys I talk to came from here and did basic training somewhere in the South, probably in summer. Nothing like living in a sweat bath. I always tell them this (Spokane) is NOT muggy.”

Asked and answered

I was exchanging emails with reader and fellow cyclist Kimberly Ritchey when the subject of Spokane bike thieves came up.

She told about riding through downtown on her early morning commute and seeing another bike rider up ahead of her. (She pointedly refused to label him a “cyclist.”)

“He had the BMX style bike and was wearing a backpack which had a pair of bolt cutters sticking out of it.”

She came to the conclusion that he was up to no good.

“What do you think?”

Well, Kimberly, this might sound odd coming from an ACLU member. But I think he should have been arrested on sight.

Any more questions?

One transplant’s report

Longtime Slice correspondent Francie Radecki and her husband moved to just outside Portland last October to be near their grandchildren.

“So what do I miss about Spokane?”

Saying it’s a short list, she provided three answers.

“My son and his wife.

“Our Cataldo Avenue neighbors in the Spokane Valley.

“The Spokesman-Review.”

Columnist Paul Turner can be reached at

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