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Nick and Jas 04 16 2016

What a day! Pullman is a town I love. After coffee, I ran a fun hilly loop around town. Towards the end, a carload of college students whooped and hollered as they drove past my half-naked body. How sweet of them!

After a quick shower, Nick prepared hash browns and eggs, which were tasty fuel for my hungry muscles. Then, Jaslyn and Nick and I went to Martin Stadium to watch the PAC-12’s most exciting team as they scrimmaged in glorious sunshine. Our beloved WSU Cougars have an amazing stockpile of receivers, running backs, quarterbacks and speedy defenders. It should be an incredibly fun season this fall!

Hungry again, we had chicken Caesar salads and pesto chicken pizza at Sella’s. Then gourmet coffee and shopping, before chest and triceps work at the Rec Center. When we were returning to their home, a lovely young lady said “G’day mate!” to me. The diversity makes me smile.

Then it was time for swing dancing in Moscow. Nick and Jaslyn love it and do it quite well. But I had to draw the line; my legs were toast after running, walking and standing most of the day. C’est la vie!  My arms matched them well!

Below is a sample of what we enjoyed at the stadium. Peyton Bender tossed accurately to River Cracraft early in the scrimmage. Strangely, one of the most sure handed receivers I’ve ever seen dropped this one. He more than made up for it later. Gabe Marks worked his usual magic, timing his catches perfectly to shield defenders from the ball, then making sweet grabs. Luke Falk tossed a perfect deep ball to Gabe for a touchdown. Bender and Tyler Hilinski threw well also. Even Justus Rogers launched a perfect deep touchdown pass. The defenders also made many nice plays, including a Charleston White pick six off Falk, among other turnovers. What a nice evolution of the Cougar football program. It really feels like the incredible success that Mike Price brought to Pullman is about to happen again. It could be so fun!

Bender to Cracraft 04 16 2016

FullSizeRenderFirst on the awesome Mill Creek – Bennington Lake loop last Friday. Glorious sunshine, crisp air, blood rushing, Annie’s healthy glow and mile eight passing much faster than the rest. Yeah! Fully alive! So sweet.

Then on the weights at The Rec on Saturday, alongside Nick, Jaslyn and Annie. Muscles pumping, adrenaline flowing, smiles growing. This is how we live, feeling the strength building, knowing it’ll serve us well in many ways. Like skiing and snowboarding! Embrace the cold!

In Martin Stadium, ass kicking is the new norm. Cougar power is exciting, encouraging and really fun! We too are crimson warriors, like our favored team. We play the next play to the best of our ability. We focus, train hard, eat well and get good rest. It is so pleasing to enjoy the results!

On Sunday Annie and I savored more sunshine during a ten kilometer run around Pullman. The cold wind reinforced our appreciation for modern amenities, like indoor plumbing with hot water!

Today, I have so much to be thankful for: great family,  friends, food, environment, co-workers, and opportunity! Today’s bonus was an eight mile run around east Walla Walla in sweet sunshine. It was a winery tour without stops. After inversions, clear days make my smiles full. Thank God!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I love Cougar country, with powerful lions trekking our highlands and our gridiron.

Our seven mile run on Sunday was hard, after the post-marathon layoff and Saturday’s leg workout with Nick, Annie and Jaslyn. After the run, we saw Gabe Marks. Cool!

Equally hard was the first quarter of football. Whoa! I apologized to Annie for the worst game of the year. Like I was playing? Down 14-0 with 21-0 forthcoming, our Cougars drew a definitive line in the sand. A dreamy game changed nightmare into fantasy. The upbeat game of the year! Wow! Thanks Cougs! Thanks Mike for the taste of Club level life. It is amazing!

The rain pounded me on the drive home and then soaked my beautiful Redwood.

It’s the season to run and spin and lift and step my way to awe-inspiring mountains. Yeah! That’s it! That’s what I’ll do!

And a little more golf…

Nick, Jaslyn, Katie and I watched the Cougs smack Stanford around as a Halloween party!

Nick, Jaslyn, Katie and I watched the Cougs smack Stanford around as a Halloween party!

WSU went toe to toe in old style play with Stanford and I came away even more impressed. It was the best feeling loss for quite some time. We had shoulda, coulda plays throughout a near win over an elite team. It was damn good football mixed with frustration. The Cougars are big-time college footballers. Yay!

Beaver Beatdown!

Beaver Beatdown!

PREGAME:

It’s another great day! It’s early, in Pullman, Washington. To me, this is the home of college football. There’s no place I’d rather be today, and I know some very cool places.

It’s the excitement! Muscle toned studs in their prime doing battle on the great American battlefield. So awesome! My competitive juices are already flowing, and I haven’t even had coffee yet. I’ve showered and shaved and trimmed and flushed, so I am primed. But, about that coffee…..

After a tough season, the Wazzu Cougars opened with what many called their worst game in years, losing to a lower tier team from Portland State. Doomsayers called for the coach’s head, projecting a dismal season. I only laughed. Though also disheartened by the sub-par effort, I knew a season is not about one game. I knew the Cougars were better than they showed. But how much better?

Well, last-minute victories over Rutgers and Oregon and a giveaway to Cal showed that these Cougars can play. How much more will they improve as the schedule toughens? That’s an exciting question whose answer will develop over seven weeks. Perhaps even weeks after that!

Family/friendly tailgates are special treats. I loved hanging with Nick and Jaslyn and visiting with so many cool people at Jim’s superb bash.

POST GAME:

Wow! We were treated to a half of Cougar offense that was near perfection. Luke Falk spirited the Cougar offense to six touchdown passes in seven possessions, plus a field goal. They moved the ball at will, executing beautifully on varietal passes and runs. Falk avoided sacks and found open teammates. The Cougars are so exciting!

Sometimes. They stumbled in the second half, after 45 – 17 at the break. They lost their edge, when they no longer needed it to win. The defense gave up a lot of yards, yet made great hits and plays. Special teams had success, like a fifty yard kickoff return, stopping a fake punt, and holding some kickoff returns in check. They also allowed a one-hundred yard kickoff return, a blocked punt and a muffed onside kick. But this win feeds momentum, excitement and imagined possibilities. Still, the Cougars must practice hard and play each play. Next Saturday’s game in Tucson is again pivotal.  GO COUGS!!!

About that being anywhere else thing.  Here’s a cool place I’ve been at least close to. Thank you great and powerful adventurers!

Is that Colchuck from Aasgard? Photo courtesy of Northwest Wildass Adventurers, Ltd.

Is that Colchuck from Aasgard? Photo courtesy of Northwest Wildass Adventurers, Ltd.

Running backs practicing pass protection before Martin Stadium scrimmage, 4/18/2015.

Running backs practicing pass protection before Martin Stadium scrimmage, 4/18/2015.

Yay! We’re undefeated! So are all the other teams, but still, our team has such potential! It’s a joyous time of year for college football, when hope springs eternal. Competition has become incredibly tough, so really good teams will still lose. But it sure is fun to hope for more!

My blood is crimson, so the Washington State University Cougars are the team for me. I’ve cheered them on for a lot longer than billions of people have been alive, and it’s still a privilege. Cougars are often underdogs, doggedly determined and loyal. I’ve been to a lot of cities, and I’d rather go to Pullman than visit most of them. It just fires me up!

Young talent is so exciting! I think it makes me feel younger. This years’ emerging stars are really pumping me up!

Peyton Bender is worthy of his crimson jersey. He tosses beautifully spiraling, accurate passes. He is another in a long line of majestic quarterbacks to come to Pullman.  I’m so excited to see him blossom!

Keith Harrington is the real deal at running back. He just gets it done! He’s fast, elusive and decisive. Hand it to him, toss it to him, just get him the ball!

Kyrin Priester is a special talent at wide receiver. He has to sit out a year after transferring from Clemson, and it will be hard to wait.  We have other good receivers, but this dude is good!

So I’m picking the gray team in Saturday’s scrimmage in Spokane. Of course, as a Cougar fan, I win either way!  GO COUGS!

Last night I learned to do squats correctly. I’m glad I’m able and willing to learn. My ego wants my drives to fly farther and my legs to run faster. Maybe they will, maybe they won’t. But my legs can get stronger.

Yesterday I bought Qualcomm stock. Perhaps it will reward me, but maybe not. At least I have a financial plan that is likely to work out well.

I roll with the punches at work. It’s important for my mental health. The cycle of change has accelerated to unfathomable speed. Nothing is for sure or for long. Black and white precision is now mottled gray approximation. High level perspective is more fun than frenzied muddling.

WSU Cougar fans get to roll with the punches again too. Two losses replaced expected wins. C’est la vie! Will the crowd be big and supportive in the newly improved football complex? Will the noise be deafening for the opponents? We only have one week to practice for the mighty Ducks, so let’s get it on!

 

Annie, Pat & Jim. True Cougars of the Erickson clan, bleeding Crimson since 1965.....

Annie, Pat & Jim. True Cougars of the Erickson clan, bleeding Crimson since 1965…..

I’m trying to remember if this is a provocative piece or a football story. Hmmm.

Football wise, it might be a great tale! Small town universities with explosive passing attacks will face off Saturday night in beautifully small Martin Stadium in Pullman, Washington, home of the Washington State University Cougars. At times mighty, yet often beaten by powerful programs, WSU teaches important lessons. We learn how to win and how to lose, which are important life lessons. One key part of losing is retaining hope. If we lose one week, bring on next week! We’ve suffered down seasons, but the program is again on the rise. This takes believers and doers.

Pessimism never got me anywhere. Optimism opened my life to a plethora of fantastic opportunities! I was blessed to attend Washington State University for four years. The Cougars are a definitive part of me. I attended graduate school at the University of Washington. It is a noble institution. But as true experts say, once a Cougar, a!ways a Cougar! Go Cougs! Beat the Beavers!

Go Cougars!  Nick and Jaslyn enjoy college life.....

Go Cougars! Nick and Jaslyn enjoy college life…..

What a fun weekend! The new season tickets for WSU football are under cover; what a great bonus for rainy or snowy games.  This one was gloriously sunny! From high up on the western 5 yard line, Annie and I celebrated a lot of great Cougar plays after hooking up with the Ericksons for some tasty tailgating.  Then we rescued Nick from his job for an enjoyable late dinner.

After dropping Nick and Jaslyn off on campus and Annie at Lauren’s apartment, I picked a spot to park my subcompact RV. Okay, it’s really a 4Runner. It makes amazing mileage compared to RV’s! Comfort is a relative thing.  A sleeping pad fits in the back. Next time I’ll park on a  slight downslope to level the bed. I might have opened the windows a little wider and perhaps put a little less air in the mattress. A 24 hour bathroom would have been nice, but I made it to one just in time!

Annie and I worked out at the WSU Recreation Center; it’s fun to have someone help me push a little harder. Nick couldn’t join us but he sure did inspire us! He’s added amazing amounts of muscle in the past month. We were so inspired by his physique that we toasted our arms and tortured our legs. I could barely stumble around.  Then we hopped on elliptical/stair hybrid machines for some cardio work.  I pushed to my theoretical maximum heart rate, near the end, at 166 beats per minute.  I suspect my heart will beat faster, but the machine was dancing and the readout said “maximum speed attained.” It may have translated to “slow down and quit abusing me!” Who’s to know?

Let the good times roll!

Let the good times roll!

frankoshanko

I love health, humor, adventure, exercise, romance and competition. Well, I just love life! ( :

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