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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

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!

Connor Halliday fires a pass in Martin Stadium scrimmage, 4/19/14

Connor Halliday fires a pass in Martin Stadium scrimmage, 4/19/14

I don’t expect you to understand. Unless you’ve lived in Pullman, that is. Then you get it before I even say it!
GO COUGS!
There’s nothing like it. David slaying Goliath. WSU whipping USC. Which is more impressive?
It’s spring football, where hope fills the air. These guys are really growing!
Impressive athletes, top grade coaches and improved facilities: are we returning to the golden age of Cougar football? It feels like it to me! And the signs are everywhere:

Rose Bowl quarterback + All-Pro cornerback = Cougar greatness!

Rose Bowl quarterback + All-Pro cornerback = Cougar greatness!

Those gentlemen are Jason Gesser, the last quarterback to lead us to the Rose Bowl, and Marcus Trufant, perhaps our best cornerback ever. Marcus recently retired from a lengthy career with the Seattle Seahawks. They played in Pullman and won most of their games. They are two friendly men who truly know football. Marcus’ mother is very engaging too!
The stars may be aligning. Mike Leach, a talented head coach, has amassed excellent assistants. Together they continue to recruit progressively better athletes, both physically and attitudinally. Get on board or hit the road. Nobody’s dragging this pirate ship down!
Connor Halliday is throwing with precision. Vince Mayle leads a stable of remarkable receivers. Mike Breske ignites an army of awesome athletes on defense, including Darryl Monroe, Xavier Cooper and Daquawn Brown. Naming is almost unfair, because the breadth and depth of talent is impressive! I think Nick agrees!

Nick is lucky to be a Cougar now!

Nick is lucky to be a Cougar now!

Are the Cougars ready to kick some ass? I think so! Best time? When the Ducks and Huskies come to town! GO COUGS!

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!

It’s been a great weekend!  I took Friday off to start early, joining my brothers Pat and Jim for some very challenging golfing tests.  The Palouse Ridge golf club offers panoramic views, sloping fairways and smooth, fast and hard greens.  There is absolutely no boredom here.  Extreme side-hill lies, British style bunkers, tall native grasses and well designed holes offer challenge, opportunity and danger.  My best advice is to bring extra balls, especially the ones you can hit with a club!

After golf, Annie treated us to oven fresh bread, roasted vegetables with feta and parmesan, red pepper vinaigrette chicken, cheesy cauliflower quinoa and chocolate pumpkin bars.  It was all so good!  ( :

On Saturday we enjoyed good sleep, burgers and sausages at Jim’s fifth wheel party and awesome sunshine in the student section of Martin Stadium.  We had an impressive view of the stadium expansion and saw some good plays by the Cougars.  Not enough to win the game though, as they fell to Colorado, 35-34.  As usual, Mike Leach’s post-game interview was entertaining and enlightening.  He’s changing a culture; I believe he’ll get it done.

After a short rest and re-fueling, Annie and I visited the Rec center to exercise.  We started with 25 minutes of fast paced lunges and weights and then moved to ellipticals, rowing machines and 12 percent incline treadmills, for 40 more minutes of cardiovascular training.  It felt so good!  We then had wonderful leftovers and chocolate applesauce oatmeal muffins, fresh from the oven.  Yay!

Tomorrow we hope to hike up Moscow Mountain.  What lucky people we are!  I hope we smuggle some muffins along!!!

It’s a Saturday in September.  It’s game day!  Even if I didn’t enjoy watching American football, the social spectacle would probably still draw me in.  I’ll join 35,000 others in Pullman today to celebrate the art of body slamming.  It’s right up there with boxing and head butting on my list of good things to do with my body.  But I’m always excited to watch other people do it.  For myself, I’ve always loved throwing and catching the ball, as well as using shifty moves and speed to avoid tackles.  The more brutal aspects are manly fun, but perhaps not worth limping around for the rest of one’s life.  Wars like these lead to many casualties.

It’s only a game!  This is a great lesson for those of us who’ve invested our egos in fanhood.  Can victory by “our” team validate our worth in any way?  Celebration of competition is fun and exciting.  Wanting to win is human.  Losing is smothered in beautiful lessons.  Achieving our best and watching others do so is magnificent.  Hoping to see such mastery draws us back, searching for more proof that everything is possible.  Let’s re-kindle our fires!  Go Cougars!!!

Washington State Cougars athletic logo

Washington State Cougars athletic logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cheering for the Washington State University Cougars is an experience like nothing else in my life.  I wouldn’t trade it!  Watching crimson clad warriors puts a spring in my step, belief in my heart and pride in my voice.  Sure, we’ve taken the underdog label to the extreme, but our tastes of success have included sweet apples, fragrant roses and San Diego sunshine!  Mike Leach brings us right back to the feeling of 2003; we’re the mighty Cougars again, expecting victory!  All Cougar fans have wandered in the desert of losses; those of us who’ve been around for a while have been there multiple times.  It yields perspective, that wondrous result of pain, that opens the door for the sweetest successes.  Go Cougs!!!

frankoshanko

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

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