SPORT AT HAND • It’s a tradition, isn’t it? Thanksgiving this Thursday. And who are we to mess with tradition?
• It’s hard to find out Where to start. Or done, although that kind of came naturally to us. But you’ll have to read the rest of the babble to get to that.
The sports world is full of people willing to share what and who they are grateful for. From defeating arch-rivals to receiving a wonderful gift of love from above, sports stars are ready to pick up the mic and spread their gratitude all year round.
We’re a little more careful.
But we have something this week that we’re ready to share. We are always thankful for rivalry soccer games. Only once, when we were so excited as teenagers for a UCLA touchdown against USC, did we jump up and come down too hard, smashing our parents’ couch.
That hurt, not only our bottom but also our father’s wallet. Also, for as long as we can remember, the Bruins lost the game. And that probably hurt our sister even more than the bruise on our butt.
Still, college football stirs those kinds of emotions in most of us. Heck, we once covered a rivalry game where a winless team played against one, the hosts, who had won once all season. Against a terrible FCS team.
It was called the Crapple Cup or something like that. Two terrible rivals playing in Pullman’s frigid weather. Stupid right? But it wasn’t like that. The Cougars rallied in the fourth quarter and won in double overtime. Kicker Nico Grasu had won the game, was hoisted onto his shoulders and into history.
And normal at the same time. What makes us grateful.
We’re also grateful that this year we won’t have to listen to speakers who keep telling us that the Mariners have the longest playoff drought in North American professional sports. Ha.
Thank you, Julio Rodriguez. Luis Castillo. Ty France. Scott Servais. Heck, even Jerry Dipoto, who put the streak busting group together. They made 2022 special. Win something very special now in 2023.
We’re also grateful that the area’s pro soccer team was able to turn a horrific situation that saw quarterback Russell Wilson betraying confidence in the franchise and wanting to continue, into something positive.
Not just something, but everything, because the Broncos had to give up everything to get a quarterback whose prime is behind him. Maybe far behind him.
And we’re grateful the Seahawks used one of those draft picks against Charles Cross, which turned out to be the left tackle Russ always wanted. Irony is part of our DNA.
Plus, with one of their picks, they were able to pull off the right tackle on Washington State grad Abe Lucas, who years ago showed us something we hadn’t seen in Pullman in a while: a surefire NFL offensive lineman. We wrote this almost a decade ago after watching Lucas maneuver around the high grass at Sacajawea Middle School in Lewiston and demonstrate the foundational skills that would lead him to the NFL a few years later.
Lucas is also part of a young corps of stars in the North West, we’re grateful to be able to see him in the years to come. The Hawks have a handful. The M’s have Rodriguez and some great pitchers. The Kraken have Matty Beniers. Maybe one day the Supersonics will return with a player or two in that category.
Finally, we are grateful that we can get up almost every morning and put this column together. And thankful there are people out there reading it. It’s not just the money, although receiving money for something you enjoy is incredibly rewarding. It’s also the feeling we get every day knowing that people are reading what we’ve written and are swearing at us.
Maybe it’s the Sicilian blood running through our veins, but we’re more than happy to help you start your day with something we’ve written.
It makes the rest of the day even better.
WSU: A rivalry game like the Apple Cup often has magical healing powers. At least it seems so. Colton Clark’s notebook tells us that three cougars could at least make a return Saturday night. … We linked Larry Stone’s column yesterday about Washington coach Kalen DeBoer, but it ran in the SR today. … Elsewhere in Pac-12 and college football, Jon Wilner has his weekly picks in the Mercury News. He lets Washington win and cover. … Even in the West he has his best. … What other rivalry games are there this weekend? There’s the one south of Oregon and Oregon State in Corvallis. Both teams have something to prove. … There’s the Territorial Cup between the sad state of Arizona and the rising Arizona in Tucson. … There’s the kind of made-up between Colorado and Utah that rivals had to have when they entered the conference a decade ago. … And there’s the national one, which sees one-loss USC and their CFP hopes take on nemesis Notre Dame in the Coliseum. … On this we always agree with Anthony Davis. … We suspect that California, which hosts UCLA, qualifies to some extent, but that’s only because they’re part of the same university system. … On the basketball news, Wilner has his men’s power rankings. Jeff Metcalfe did the same for women. … Arizona showed why they are the best men’s team in the conference by denying Creighton the win in Maui. …Oregon and Oregon State play in the PK85. … Washington defeated Fresno State. … Colorado will host Yale this weekend. … Utah lost in Florida last night. …USC handles BYU. … UCLA beat up Pepperdine.
gonzaga: Could Portland State upset the Zags tonight? Maybe when GU stops by the Vikings for a weekend of marquee matchups. Jim Meehan previews the competition with the 9:30pm PST tip as well as the key matchup. … Theo Lawson looks at all seven teams the Zags could play in Portland. … Elsewhere in WCC, BYU couldn’t handle Boogie Ellis and lost to USC.
EMU and Idaho: All around Big Sky, the All-Big Sky football teams were announced yesterday and some schools, such as UC Davis, Montana and Montana State, were richly rewarded. And others, like northern Colorado, got plenty of spots. … In basketball news, a freshman guard from Spokane starts for the Idaho State women. … The Weber State men lost in Las Vegas last night. … Somebody had to step up and carry the points load for Montana State.
Seahawks: The Hawks’ playoff push has little room for error. … The Apple Cup is seeping into the Seattle locker room this season.
Octopus: A franchise record for Seattle in a home win over San Jose? Yes, please.
World Championship: The USA meets England early Friday. There are many connections. A draw or a win – either would be a surprise – would greatly help the United States progress.
Golf: The centerpiece of this Thanksgiving comes from John Blanchette. He tells us the story of David VonBrethorst, a former pastor turned golf pro. It’s a story with an ending that’s sadder than we’d like, but it’s also a story of following your dreams no matter where they take you. As long as the right people are on the journey, it’s worth it.
• Enjoy your holiday no matter how you celebrate. We spend a bunch of money on dinner. Actually more than we probably should. What the hell. Gas prices are falling. And for that we are really grateful. See you later …