A GRIP ON SPORTS • It’s hard to believe its Saturday morning again. A Saturday morning in late July. And I still haven’t seen the comet. Or a baseball game. Which will come first? That depends.
• Once, a long time ago, a minister I admired told me he was, basically, selling fire insurance. If he was right, and heaven and hell existed, those who followed the path he was laying out avoided the latter. And if the two didn’t exist? Those folks never had to use their fire insurance. And they lived a life filled by the golden rule and powered by love. What was the downside to that?
I’ve thought about the Rev. Reed quite a bit recently. I’m sure he’s found out by now whether his fire insurance policy paid off. It already has for the rest of us that came into contact with him. He exuded love and empathy out of every pore, living that others-centered life many of us just aspire to and never reach.
Meanwhile, there is his analogy flitting around in my brain. An analogy that seems apropos in these times.
Say we all decide to buy into the policy every reputable epidemiologist, virologist and Jake from State Farm is selling. We wear a mask whenever we are out of our house and in contact with others. We stay socially distant. We wash our hands meticulously. Everyone of us. Within a few weeks the coronavirus numbers begin to drop, the disease begins to leave us behind and, as if by magic, we are free to watch sports again in the fall and beyond. That would be cool, right?
For argument’s sake, say they are wrong. What have we lost? A few weeks of the comfort of walking around the park without a face covering. Of being able to read the ingredients of the pizza dough at Rosauers. Of easy conversations with the young person at the drive-through window. So? We’ve all invested in low-cost fire insurance and we never had to make a claim.
Yes, I understand there are a small group of folks who, for medical reasons, have trouble breathing through a mask. And they can’t stay at home, even though they may want to. Let’s all, their friends and neighbors, pull together and help them. I can’t think of a better application of the golden rule than that.
It’s what our forefathers did throughout this nation’s history, they banded together and helped each other. No one had to order them to, they just did it. Your neighbor didn’t have a barn? One was built. Your neighbor needed help with the harvest? Everyone showed up. The schoolhouse was destroyed by a tornado? Let’s build a new one. Americans have always worked together to reach a goal of moving forward.
Besides, the folks around these parts yesterday protesting the mask requirement were emphasizing personal liberty more than they were medical issues, if their signage was any indicator. They seemed to feel it is an imposition to be told to wear a mask. Yes, it is. Being told to do anything is an imposition. But sometimes it is necessary.
Take sports for instance. How successful would your favorite football team be if, when they gathered in the offensive huddle – assuming your team actually huddles – the right guard decided it was time to assert his rights. See, he didn’t believe the coach was correct. It would be better if he blocked the outside linebacker instead of the 305-pound defensive tackle over his inside shoulder. So that was going to be what he did. Deal with it.
Chaos, right? There is no chance any offense in America could be productive if one player did whatever they wanted on each play. Of course that doesn’t happen. Everyone understands the idea of binding together for a goal, putting the ball in the end zone. Do it right enough times and we win. Fail, and we don’t. Simple.
• Saturdays haven’t been the same around these parts since the S-R pulled the plug on the day’s printed product. Yes, I know. Not as many of you get a printed paper as once did. But as someone who stained his hands with newsprint long before his ninth birthday, the daily newspaper is a comfort and joy. Even if the only thing I can’t live without is the comics’ page. That Earl Pickles is a treasure. Reminds me of someone I know, though I just can’t put my finger on precisely who.
Funny thing, though. Saturdays are the days lately in which I find the most links. There are always a few stories from the S-R staff, along with the usual pieces to pass along from Seattle and down the West Coast. But it’s also the day to catch up on Big Sky news. At least it has been since the pandemic hit. The conference schools don’t make a lot of news, so checking in once a week the past few months is enough.
Just thought I would explain why there are more links from around the Sky this morning.
WSU: Nick Rolovich waved the flag, virtually, again this week and Theo Lawson discovered his latest reeled-in recruiting commitment. It’s from a California defensive tackle. … If you happened to catch the Portland Thorns NWSL Challenge Cup match yesterday, you probably saw former Cougar star Morgan Weaver score against a North Carolina team again. The Thorns won, 1-0. … Around the Pac-12 and college sports, if the football season is pushed back to after the first of the year, every game in some areas may be played in ice and snow. … As the Pac-12 schools cancel nonconference games, do they have to pay the schools that now are without an opponent? … The Rose Parade has already been canceled. Does that mean the Rose Bowl is also going to be axed? … There will be competitive battles for Colorado’s starting defensive back spots. … Arizona seems to be doing well with its testing, especially considering how poorly the state is doing overall. … In basketball news, Oregon State is about ready to begin its summer workouts.
Gonzaga: There is little in the way of competition, unless you consider recruiting competition. You should. One of the big prizes of 2022 became a big prize for 2021 yesterday. Jim Meehan has all the info on Caleb Houstan reclassifying. … Mark Few is slated to be honored at Dick Vitale’s charity event in September. But the honor will be done virtually, as will the entire event. Jim also has that story. … Elsewhere in the WCC, the University of the Pacific announced yesterday nearly all of its fall classes will be held online. … Mark Pope believes he is building BYU’s roster the right way.
Idaho: More and more lower division conferences and schools are pushing back or canceling its fall sports seasons. The latest in this area is the GNAC, the Division II conference in the Northwest. The Vandals were scheduled to open it home football season against Western Oregon on Sept. 5. That game is off. … Around the Big Sky, the conference is moving its media days, held virtually, up a week. … Montana also lost its home opener with Central Washington, another GNAC member. The Griz also lost a defensive tackle who is transferring to Montana Tech. … Montana State’s women’s basketball coach, Tricia Binford, makes more in base salary than the men’s coach, Danny Sprinkle. … Despite the uncertainty of the upcoming season, players are out there preparing. Include Weber State’s players in that group.
Seahawks: Remember that one guy who carried the ball for the Hawks, Marshall or was it Marshawn Lynch? Ya, just kidding. We do too. And we are looking forward to hearing from him in a new movie.
• We are tired of writing about the pandemic and its impact on sporting events. I’m sure Bryson DeChambeau would only have had an eight yesterday if there would have been fans in the gallery at the Memorial. So mask up, stay distant from others, wash your hands and let’s see if we can’t kick this virus’ butt, like it is just another Friday Night Lights’ opponent. Then we can all get back to reading and talking about the Cougars and the Zags and the Eagles and whomever from now until the Comet NEOWISE returns. … By the way, the Rev. Reed had a really tough left-handed curve ball. I used to catch him in my younger days. He was so much older than me, I couldn’t help but say things like “throw it in here, Mr. Reed” or “let’s get a ground ball and turn two, Mr. Reed.” He would always tell me to call him Stan, but I just couldn’t. It didn’t seem right. Besides, I dated his daughter once and I didn’t want him to hate me if she ever said yes to a second date. She still hasn’t. Until later …