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When in Rome

 


Deputy Mikey at the Huskies press box (Courtesy of Gloria Groinman)

This is Officer Lee Groinman, That’s Right, still Seattle’s Most

Disgusted Cop!

 

Seems disgust is a hard moniker to change, especially when you follow the Gilby boys…

 

 

 

 

The other night I got home and my “RED” phone was ringin’! “Hello this is Lee.” I blurt out into the receiver. “Lee, this is Rich Linde, Malamute!” Rich? What can I do for you Rich Malamute?  “Listen Lee, I’ve got two tickets to the San Jose St. game, up there in the press box! Audrey and I were wondering if you and Deputy Mikey might just join us for the game? Sit up there with the upper crust, you know guys like Bob Rondeau, Lou Gellerman, Chris Fetters….

 

An invite to the PRESS BOX!

 

My mind went back to the last time I had the occasion to sit with the “upper crust.” Omens and premonitions are callin’.

 

The date was November 5th, 1988. The Dawgs were playin’ Arizona. We had this silly little promotion down at the shop and the winner got two tickets to the then new “Don James” Tyee center. James, as many of you know, rarely lost a game and had a coachin; staff at that time that consisted of Jim Lambright, Gary Pinkel, Randy Hart, Chris Tormey, and some other guy by the name of Dick Baird. The followin’ year, would be Gilby’s first at Washington, he’d be coachin’ the O-line.

 

So the time came to announce the winner of our little promotion, and to award the tickets to the Tyee Center!

 

“And the winner is, Officer Lee Groinman!!” My peers were duly impressed.

 

“Fixed!” “BOO!!” “This is an OUTRAGE!!” “I smell dangling CHADS!!”

I didn’t even know what a “danglin’ chad was, but danglin’ be danged! I’m going to the TYEE CENTER!! For the ARIZONA GAME!!

 

So here I am with two tickets to the “Center” that included a champagne brunch! Who to take with me? What a great catch!! I was a single man at the time. Surely some babe would just die for a deal like this!

 

Fat chance. Maybe some of my buddies!

 

Nobody wanted to go. “Uh, thanks for the offer Lee, but ya’ know those kinda’ folks, well there kinda’ funny, not like you and me Lee…”

 

So I got on the phone. “Yeah, Ma? It’s me Lee, bein’ it’s your birthday and all, I’d thought I’d buy ya’ a special little present.” “Oh Lee!” “Yup, a ticket to the Don James Tyee Center for the Arizona game, complete with a champagne brunch!!”

 

“Oh Lee, I don’t know, those kinda’ people are kinda’ funny Lee, not like you and me. Why don’t you ask a nice girl to the game Lee?”

 

“But Ma! Nice girls don’t want to go to the game with me! That’s why I’m asking YOU! Well you know. It IS your birthday….”

 

“Oh okay Lee, but Lee. Now let me ask you this…You’re not gonna up and do anything, are you Lee?

 

So we arrive at the Tyee center, me and Ma. Holey Crapes! They got purple linen tablecloth, the eatin’ tools are wrapped in gold cloth napkins, they got dudes walkin’ around in Tuxedos with little bath towels on their arms. “Would you care for a flute of champagne Sir?”  “Nah, save yerself some shoe leather, and just leave the bottle, and fetch up another one for my Ma here! Thanks Buddy!!”

 

So Ma and me settled down to a couple of bottles and some quiche type stuff and proceeded to watch the Arizona game from these over-stuffed theatre type chairs.

 

Now Arizona had never beaten Washington, not in six tries. Arizona was the only team in the conference never to beat Washington.

 

It’s not that I put much credence in omens and premonitions. I just wish they’d quit followin’ me around all the time…

 

In a game that was played entirely in a drenchin’ rain, me and my Ma sat watchin’ in theatre type seats eatin’ pop-corn and hot dogs (yes, wrapped in cloth napkins) under the cover of the Tyee section. With 5 seconds remaining on the clock, Arizona came in to kick a possible game winnin’ field goal thanks to a blind side blitz causin’ a Cary Conklin turnover.

 

Sound familiar?

 

Kick is up and good. Arizona 16, Washington 13. Arizona’ first win ever over Washington. Omens and premonitions…

 

As the rain is fallin’ down sideways, I spied my buddies in the crowd with my WW11 Navy glasses. They seem to be drenched to the bone, salutin’! Givin’ me the one finger salute.

Yes, even in defeat we are still number one in our hearts…

 

“Lee, you there? It’s me Rich!” “Oh yeah, how ya’ doin’ Linde?” “Gee, I thought I lost you there for a moment Lee, seems like you were gone for awhile.”

 

“Yeah Rich, ya know it’s these damn red phones, they seem to cut out from time to time…”

 

Well Rich, wow, the press box!  How about Audrey and her fear of heights? The press box puts the fear into sea gulls!

 

So we met the Lindes at the game and it was time to head to the elevator up to the press box. On the way to the North side, Mikey and myself left our tickets at “Will Call” for some other type of free loader. The elevator to the press box is kinda like a cattle chute, they herd ya’ up there, then pack the elevator full, and then repeat the process. Rich and Audrey got in the elevator just fine.

 

“We have room for just two MORE!” Yells the elevator cowboy.

 

Mikey and me step up, “Any TWO, but YOU TWO!!”

 

I knew it, we ain’t getting’ in. This elevator dude remembers me back from 88! The ARIZONA game!! “Mikey” I says, “do ya’ think we still have time to go back to Will Call and be free loaders?”

 

“Naw lets just slide in here behind these fat folks, and make yourself look small Lee.

 

Mikey, does this coat make me look fat?”

 

“You betcha’!

 

So we got into the press box and there’s Audrey leading the crowd in a “Go Huskies!!” Cheer. Now this is the kind of omen I can handle!!

 

In the press box, we actually have a hostess named Beth, “Now here is the sandwich bar, help yourself, and we’ll have hot dogs at half-time, wrapped in cloth napkins (omens…) we have Pepsi products, all you can drink, and help yourself to those sandwiches, we don’t want to waste any, and we have all the cookies you can handle, and please help yourself to the sandwich table…”

 

As Kenny James nears 180 yards rushing, the game against San Jose St. is a done deal. A victory at long last! Deputy Mikey declares “Hey! We oughta’ sit up here more OFTEN!!”

 

Hey Mikey! Is that a Pepsi product in your pants? (cartoon)

 

With victory in hand, and game over, we headed for the door. Just to be disappointed again in yet another 7 days to the Beavers. Did I ever tell ya’ that my wife Gloria is a Beaver? Yup, I married a Beaver.

 

I got home to another little surprise on Saturday night. Elsie my new Malamute female pup had came into heat.

 

Another fine mess.

 

Today she chewed up my lizard skin cowboy boots.

Anybody want a Female Malamute?

 

So now we have USC. The Men of Troy against Gilby’s boys…

 

Will a miracle happen? Will we keep the turnovers in the single digits? Will a new Husky Hero be born?

 

Will Dick Baird sing the National Anthem?

 

Will Groinman still be disgusted?

 

This game, like all others, and all things…Soon shall pass.

 

Bring on the cloth-coated HOT DOGS!!

 

GO DAWGS!!

 

 

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