1. The uncanny ability of the Washington State University football to team to, despite all odds, lose football games at the last possible moment in a spectacular display of giving the football to the other team.
Couging it - the 2013 New Mexico Bowl
2. Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Blowing a lead. Losing a game when you have already defined the win.The Cougs really, really Coug-ed it on Saturday night, though. They're going to have to update that definition.
The Washington State Cougars were kicking ass until the fourth quarter when they fumbled three times instead of running out the clock. They sucked so bad they were Couging it.
Kathy Jensen, golf pro at the City of Spokane's Indian Canyon Golf Course, was recently named the PGA National Teacher of the Year, marking a couple of firsts for the organization. Not only is Jensen the first woman to ever win the award from the historically slow-to-evolve golfers' group, she is also the first pro from the PGA's northwest region to be so honored.
Not too shabby. And if you think the honor is no big deal, consider the fact that there are roughly 28,000 golf pros considered for the award each year, according to a release issued by City of Spokane Parks & Recreation.
Jensen's golf career is inextricably linked to the Northwest, making this award all the sweeter. She's no carpet-bagger with some clubs, she's a Northwesterner through and through. She first started playing as a 9-year-old on a little 9-hole course in Baker City, Ore., and eventually landed a scholarship to play at Oregon State University. Post-college, Jensen became a pro and bounced throughout the Spokane area, first as the Head Golf Professional at the Highlands Golf & Country Club in Post Falls, then as a pro at Deer Park Golf Club.
Currently, Jensen is the Director of Golf Instruction — as well the as the cofounder of the Jensen Lindeblad Impact Golf Academy — at Indian Canyon. When she's not teaching players how to best grip it and rip it, she's on the links herself playing in local Pro-Ams and tournaments.
Being named PGA National Teacher of the Year is hardly Jensen's first noteworthy accomplishment on the course, although it was a wee bit predictable after she was one of three finalists for the award in 2013. She's been highly ranked for years by the PGA's Northwest region, Golf Digest and the Golf Range Association of America.
Before the 2013 season, the Spokane Indians pumped $3.5 million into the aging Avista Stadium in an effort to improve the fan experience at the ball park.
While the upgrades to concession stands, walkways and ticket windows were obvious to fans, along with the swanky new team store and picnic area included in the overhaul, the team didn't neglect the field where the players do their thing, either, maintaining the quality turf between the lines. On Monday, the Northwest League recognized Avista Stadium as the NWL Field of the Year for the 10th consecutive season, and for the 16th time in the last 18.
Yes, Indians groundskeeper David Yearout finds himself tending a serious hardball dynasty in Spokane, albeit one more concerned with weeds and rodents than balls and strikes.
The award is voted on by the managers and coaches of the A-ball league, in recognition of the team that maintains the best playing surface and maintains the highest-quality field through the NWL season.
And if you think the playing surface is a minor detail, even in the minor leagues, consider the sad tale of NFL rookie Jadeveon Clowney, injured in his first pro game this weekend thanks to his own team's shoddy sod.
Yearout praised the members of the Indians' grounds crew for working hard "to keep the field in pristine condition for our players, coaches and the fans."
Perhaps most remarkably, the field is the same one first created when Avista Stadium was built in 1958, meaning generation after generation of Spokane hardball fans have watched a game on the same dirt and grass. That's a testament to Yearout and his predecessors' love of the game, and their chosen trade.
Having won the NWL Field of the Year designation, Yearout is now a candidate for Minor League Baseball's Sports Turf Manager of the Year, slated to be announced at baseball's annual winter meetings.
This week's culture section includes a profile on two of mixed martial arts' up-and-coming female athletes who live and train here in the Lilac City — Elizabeth Phillips and Julianna Pena.
Both women are quickly rising in this male-dominated sport, having signed contracts within the past year to fight for the Ultimate Fighting Championship, or UFC, the biggest organizer of MMA events and employer of professional fighters. Both train at Sik-Jitsu in northeast Spokane, a mixed martial arts gym whose owner and sole coach, Rick Little, also trains local UFC fighters Mike Chiesa and Sam Sicilia.
In the wee hours of tomorrow morning, Sat, Aug. 23, while most of us are still sound asleep, Phillips will step into the octagon for her second UFC matchup during UFC Fight Night 48 in Macao, China. The pay-per-view event is live-streaming online, so local fans can wake up around 3:30 am to watch Phillips battle it out with her opponent, Russian fighter Milana Dudieva. According to pre-fight odds, Dudieva is favored to win. For fans who feel that's too early to see a brutal fight, the event can also be streamed later via ufc.tv.
Meanwhile, tonight at 7 pm, at the Tulalip Resort & Casino north of Seattle, several of Sik-Jitsu's other fighters are heading into the cage. With Phillips and Little in China, they're being supported and coached by teammates Pena, Chiesa and Sicilia. Tonight's event is organized by Excite Fight, an MMA promotion venture owned by Little.
Chiesa and Sicilia are also in preparations for upcoming UFC fights on Sept. 5, and Sept. 20, respectively.
Dodge, duck, dip, dive, dodge.
This weekend, a Spokane dodgeball team comprised of seven seniors from Gonzaga University is showing off its skills at a competition reminiscent of Ben Stiller’s air time on Channel 8: The Ocho. Yes, there is an actual Dodgeball World Championship. And this team already knows what it feels like.
They're returning to the tournament, hosted in downtown Las Vegas, after an early departure from last year’s competition. In their second year, team member Sean Brennan says they hope to come home with a medal.
Have they been hurling wrenches at each other? Not quite. But the preparation for this competition stems back several years.
Early in 2012, Brennan stumbled upon a flier for the regional tournament hosted in Spokane. Fresh off a win in Gonzaga's intramural dodge ball league, Brennan and his teammates decided to enroll. That Oz Fitness dodge ball tournament offered up a grand prize of $1,000 cash, or round-trip airfare for seven players to the Dodgeball World Championship.
A lighthearted activity becomes much more serious when you dangle an all-expenses-paid trip to Vegas in front of a group of college students.
After earning fifth place that first year, the team returned with determination in 2013 and swept the courts, finishing undefeated and earning the prize that took them to Vegas last August.
This year, they've stepped it up even further by forming an official Dodgeball Club at Gonzaga, and selected players for a tournament team that won the Oz Fitness tournament once again.
The World Championship allows open registration to any team from around the globe. The team will compete in multiple divisions, beginning with foam balls and advancing to the rubber ball league that Brennan refers to as 'the granddaddy' of the game. Gonzaga's co-ed team begins on Friday and plays through Saturday afternoon. They're set to encounter teams from Canada, Japan and Australia, in addition to squads from across the states.
"These teams are good, but hopefully we can do our best to compete," Brennan says.
These dodgers have packed their kneepads, prepped their game strategy and are ready to create a true underdog story of their own.
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