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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

A Grip on Sports: This weekend ditch the TV and get outside to watch the best reality shows of the summer

A GRIP ON SPORTS • Is it Friday already? It sure is. Which means we are under a (self-imposed) mandate. Look ahead to the weekend. Funny, though. That electronic-thingee we built a room around has little to do with what we like to watch the final June weekend.


• A random weekend in, say, December, has to revolve around the TV. The weather demands it, as does the content on it. Football, basketball, hockey and on and on. Six months later and we’re all about getting outside and watching true-reality shows.

There are two on tap in the Inland Northwest this weekend, each worth time.

In downtown Spokane, the summer solstice is celebrated with a mega-basketball event, Hoopfest. OK, it’s a little late for the turning of the season but nothing could say “thanks, sun” more than playing some basketball downtown.

Plus, there is always the “thanks, son” aspect of it, as Hoopfest has been a family affair since its inception when were actually young enough to play – badly.

But if you don’t want to fight the crowds, there is a way to watch. The finals are on KHQ on Sunday afternoon.

After all, you might want to make it over to Coeur d’Alene that day to watch the full Ironman race return to the city. After all, you can catch either the swim, the bike or the run. Maybe even all three. The average competitor should finish about the same time as the Hoopfest final.

An old friend, with an emphasis on old, will be competing and trying to break an age-group record.

Brian Kelly, who Washington State football fans of a certain age remember from his receiving days in Pullman, will be competing in his 23rd Ironman competition, which is 23 more than his former classmate at St. Rita’s Elementary in Sierra Madre, Calif.

We knew even then Kelly was destined for athletic greatness, as he was the best kickball player we ever saw. And we saw all the greats, from Tom Z to Mary Anne “The Leg” Fisher and Smiling Russell V. That all of them only dominated the St. Rita’s asphalt is immaterial. They were our childhood friends and heroes.

Kelly, however, was the only one to go on and play a professional sport, starring for years with the Edmonton CFL franchise. Since then, he’s become a successful businessman and a fitness aficionado with many marathons and Ironman races on his resume.

We reconnected a few years back and may just wander across the border to see him this weekend. And fill up the gas tank.

• What else is there to watch? Well, the Mariners, fresh off a big win, are in Baltimore for a three-game series. If Mother Nature cooperates. There is an 80% chance of rain today, with thunderstorms likely. The chance of rain decreases each day but it’s late June, it’s Maryland and there could be intermittent delays.

The M’s and Orioles are scheduled to play at 4:05 p.m. today on Root and then start at 1:05 p.m. Saturday and 10:35 a.m. Sunday.

The NCAA’s baseball champion could be decided this weekend, as LSU and Florida will meet in an all-SEC final-series matchup starting Saturday at 4 p.m. (ESPN). The series continues Sunday (1 p.m., ESPN) and, if needed, will finish Monday.

Otherwise, the weekend is relatively light on big-draw events and packed with middle-range ones, from USFL games to the NASCAR race from Nashville (4 p.m. Sunday, NBC). There is also the usual golf, highlighted by the LPGA playing a major, the LPGA Championship (NBC has the final round Sunday starting at noon).

All-in-all, a perfect weekend – highs are supposed to be 83 both days – to get outside and enjoy the Inland Northwest’s last major events of the month.


WSU: Mouhamed Gueye wasn’t the Pac-12’s first player picked in Thursday night’s NBA draft. That honor went to UCLA’s Jamie Jaquez Jr. at 18th overall. But Gueye was certainly the first player taken having played just four years of organized basketball. Colton Clark once again chronicle’s Gueye’s rise, which resulted him being picked 39th yesterday after his stint with the Cougars. … We linked Caden Frank’s story on former Washington State great Kelly above. We do it again here. … Elsewhere in the Pac-12 and the nation, the conference announced the hire of a new CFO yesterday. Jon Wilner has the story. … It’s a crucial weekend for Washington’s football recruiting. … Utah is after a third consecutive Pac-12 title. … Colorado’s Deion Sanders is headed to surgery soon to fix circulation problems in his legs. … Arizona picked up a transfer kicker. … Though this story only mentions USC and UCLA peripherally, it’s about the L.A. Coliseum, a place we watched many a sporting event. The stadium turns 100 this year. … Hiring Larry Brown would be a low-risk, high-reward move for Washington. … We’ve noticed lots of Colorado basketball stories lately. … One story we didn’t see? Arizona star Azuolas Tubelis being drafted. He wasn’t. We still think he has a bright professional future.

Gonzaga: If there was one surprise for the Zags from last night’s NBA draft, it wasn’t that four-year star Drew Timme wasn’t selected. Not many thought he would. But the same folks didn’t have Julian Strawther going in the first round either. It only takes one team to make that happen and, in Strawther’s case, that team happens to be the world’s best right now. The wing went 29th overall to the champion Nuggets. Jim Meehan has all the details in this story. … We found another story on Strawther to pass along. … The S-R put together this draft roundup yesterday. The No. 1 pick is going to be fun to watch. … Elsewhere in the WCC, we mentioned yesterday Golden State seemed interested in Santa Clara star Brandin Podziemski. They were, drafting him 19th overall.

EWU: The Eagles got around to formally introducing new athletic director Tim Collins yesterday. Including in his resume was a stop as a basketball assistant at Lewis-Clark State College. Dan Thompson was at the introductory press conference and has this story. … We have been told from a source who would know, former Eagle basketball player Tanner Groves will be playing with the Oklahoma Thunder summer league team, though we have no stories to pass along about his signing. … Elsewhere in the Big Sky, Northern Colorado’s football team hosts a special summer camp. … Idaho State welcomes back a basketball player who had a tough decision to make.

Indians: Sometime recently, the Spokane offense went on summer vacation. The Indians fell again last night at Avista, 3-1, marking the end of the first-half schedule. The second half begins tonight. There will be fireworks after but the bigger question is whether the offense can supply some during the game. Dave Nichols has more in this game story.

Chiefs: Dan Thompson covers a lot of WHL news in this story, none bigger than how Winnipeg’s sell and move to Wenatchee will impact the Western Conference.

Bloomsday: Susannah Scaroni not only won Bloomsday and the Boston Marathon this year, she is also up for an ESPY award. Madison McCord has this story on the wheelchair racer’s recognition.

Mariners: The offense started hot. So did pitcher Bryan Woo, who threw his fastball past the Yankee offense to the tune of five strikeouts and five-plus hitless innings. It added up to a 10-2 win. … Julio Rodriguez had a hot streak. It is gone. Why? Ryan Divish tries to explain in the Times. … Woo and Bryce Miller are among young pitchers highlighted in this story due to the exceptional nature of their fastball.  

Seahawks: Question? Bob Condotta has the answers in this mailbag.

Storm: A long offensive lull led to another Seattle defeat.


• My lunch plans fell through unexpectedly today. Makes me sad. But whenever a door closes, a window opens up, right? It might be tough for someone my age to crawl through it to get anywhere, sure, but who knows what’s on the other side. Until later …