It takes as committee
This is Officer Lee Groinman,
That’s right, Washington’s most bemused
the ‘disgusted’ one didn’t get me anywhere, and besides, if you watch
this team from a bit of a distance, they do have a few comical
tendencies, tendencies which leads to a perfect 0-11 season, soon to be
0-12. What price a season ticket? 390 bucks. What price two season
tickets wasted? Too much. What price being easily amused?
How did we get here? Was it just 17
years ago that we had the perfect season? Hell was it just 5 years ago
when we had a 10-3 record with a Rose Bowl win?
This is just mind boogeling...You just
can’t get to where we are today by the hands of just one man, an effort
of this magnitude took an entire committee...
It went down like this.
Gerberding gets on the horn with Hedges,
sets up a little one on one so to say...
“Listen Babes, we need a little makeover
on this football team of ours.”
What would you have in mind Gerbylocks?”
“Well Babes, we need to make our
football team a little more user friendly, we need to make Husky Stadium
into a place where visitors from out of the area can come in and feel
like they’re right at home. You see, we could sell more tickets to our
visitor friends from Pullman to Tucson, this way we can also fill up the
local hotels and motels, and max out on car rentals from Hertz to
Budget. Just think, Babes, we could, by this act alone, we could do more
than our fair share to help pay off the new Quest field, what with this
motel/rental car tax scam. And isn’t that what a major public University
such as ours is supposed to do? Help the local area, our residents, our
economy, our people?”
“Oh Gerbylocks, what an inspiring man
you are! This is such a magic moment for me, to think, that I, Babs
Hedges will be such an integral part is such a grand social engineering
“That’s right Babes, that’s the spirit!
Now we’re going to need to form a committee to get the ball rolling, ah,
so to speak. Round up some good people, say from the School of Nursing,
and maybe some from the Sociology Department, maybe some Poli-Sci types,
the Mountlake Coalition, get me some people who have the will of the
people in mind, some right-thinking individuals.
Ya’ know what I’m sayin’...”
“Oh, and one more thing Babes, maybe
give Green Peace a piece of the pie. That damned stadium is so close to
the water, we could have Killer Whale sightings in the Lake, maybe Sperm
Whales stuck in the floating bridge! Just think of the visual! And
Spotted Owls! Give me some of those flying rats. let’s stick them up in
the crew house! That’ll fix those basturds. We’ll have Spotted Owl
droppings from here to Ballard! We could be an inner city sanctuary for
inner peace and soul harmony...
So here we are, all these years later,
and what have we got? We’re fresh off another ‘drop your pants’ Apple
No, I didn’t make this years
big game. But I did have the
chance to watch nearly all of the damn thing. You see, the Prison where
I work actually has cable tv, I know, I know, the pampered convicts. I
was assigned to work in Echo unit. We do two-day rotations. Echo is
kinda’ sick. It’s where old cons go to die. These are the poster boys
for the “Life Without the Possibility of Parole.” crowd. Echo is where
you go to rot, or maybe you’re in prison and come down with brain
cancer, well, we’ve got the place for you here in Echo...
The place doesn’t smell real good, guys
wet themselves, dirty the bed, then take a swing at you, some have very
little brain capacity left. I’m making my rounds when I come into the
dayroom area. I know there is only three minutes left in the game, Dawgs
in the lead. These guys are watching the The ‘Alligator Man’ wrestle a
snake. “Mind if I change the channel boys?” As I turn on the Apple Cup.
“Officer, it clearly states that Echo
unit TV is educational only, no sports allowed in Echo!” It’s Shakey,
he’s Shakin’ in the doorway, he’s got a cup of coffee he’s spillin’ on
the floor, Shakey has got Parkinson’s real bad. “Pipe down there Shakey,
this is what’s called Officer discretion!” Shakey turns away mutterin’
somethin’ then shuffles down the hallway, leavin’ his trail of coffee...
“Thanks Officer Groinman! We get to
watch the APPLE CUP!” I went to the Apple Cup back when Johnny Owens was
the coach and Willy Moon was the quarterback!” “Is that right Miller?
Willy Moon huh?” “Yup, and that was the year when we went down to that
Rose Cup game and beat the Wisconsin Bad-Asses 16-2!
“Shut up Fat-Boy Miller!”l Says Fat-Boy
Baker. “They ain’t no Wisconsin Bad-Asses, they the Wisconsin
Butt-kickers, and I’m about to show you why!”
“Who you callin’ Fat-Boy, Fat-Boy?”
“Say Officer, you better radio medical
and tell ‘em to bring a chainsaw!” Says Morgan the Mouth, Fat-Boy
“A chainsaw Murphy?” That’s right, a
chainsaw to remove my flat foot outta Fat-Boy Bakers big butt...”
So the game ends, I still don’t have the
words to describe that creative loss. I’m continuing my rounds, here’s
Shakey sittin’ on his bunk. “Who won the game C.O.?” “Go watch your
snake wrestler Shakey, before it’s too late.”
I sense Miller comin’ up to my backside.
I turn to face him. “Say Officer Groinman, rumor is you have season
tickets to the Huskies!” He starts to cough and sputter a bit. He makes
it to his bunk. “Damn those cigarettes, just might do me in some day,
the buggers.” “Yeah Miller, I’ve got season tickets had ‘em for years, I
wasted a bunch of them this year.” Wasted? You mean you didn’t go?” I
had to work Miller. You see I have to use vacation days to get off work
for games, this year, well, it just didn’t seem worth it.
“Damn Officer, I’d give a year off my
life just to make one game! I might get out soon, I just need one more
form signed, they already signed the first one.”
“When did they sign the first form
“It was back in ’91 I reckon...”
“I tell ya’ what Miller, you get that
second form signed, and I’ll take you to next years Apple Cup.” “Sir are
you SERIOUS! Wouldn’t you
be going against some kinda’
sure, but why not? Besides I haven’t gone against policy now for about
30 minutes. We’ll tailgate some too.” “Tailgait? Is that where you cook
food in the parkin’ lots?”
“That’s right Miller.”
“I seen commercials like that on the
TV! Your gonna take me C.O.? In your uniform and all?”
“I won’t be in uniform Miller.”
“How ‘bout you wear your hat, maybe
just your hat and your badge! I’ll buy a new Husky hat! Do you cook hot
dogs at your tailgate Officer?
“We can do that Miller.” This will be
great C.O.! I maybe too old to cut the mustard, but I’m not too old to
lick the jar!!
Many inmates are like kids, big
full-grown kids... Still, I’ll never look at a mustard jar in quite the
Miller had one more question for me.
“Hey C.O. wouldn’t it be great when we go to next years Apple Cup, yeah,
wouldn’t it be great if we actually won the game?”
“No worries there Miller, for Mine Eyes
Hath Seen the Glory.” “Your eyes Sir?”
“Yes Miller, next year’s Apple Cup will
be a victory of epic proportions...”
“Epic proportions, Sir...
And Officer, I won’t even lick the
mustard jar, just kiddin’...”
My shift over, I head on home. I’ve
recorded the game once again, just in case, you know just in case there
was a reason to watch it, as in a win. No need.
Sunday comes and I’m headed back to
Prison. A bit depressed. Another day in Echo.
I enter Echo and see Nurse Kelley, a
real eye-pleaser of a young woman, in her early forties I presume. She
probably is the best thing these guys have ever seen.
“Hey Lee, well we had an interesting
night. Miller couldn’t stop talking about going to that game with you!”
She starts to laugh. “Were you really going to wear your hat and badge?”
“I never said that!”
“Yeah he talked about the game all
night, right to the end.”
“Oh Lee, I thought you knew, Miller
passed on last night, his lungs, his heart, you know. He did die with a
big smile on his face, he was talking about ‘victory’ in
“You okay Lee?” “Yeah I’m fine, we’ll
all be fine, my eyes hath seen the Glory...”
“Funny, Miller was talking a lot about
‘Glory’ last night.”
Another day in Echo...
So here it is Thanksgiving. I remember
when an Apple Cup loss would ruin my Thanksgiving dinner, now, not so
I think I’ve told you about how I went
to High School with President Emmert, yeah go Trojans...So my phone
rings this morning. It’s, you got it, Emmert, or Emmy as we called him.
“Hey Lee, just wanted to wish you a
Happy Thanksgiving and give you some news!”
“What kind of news Fat-Boy?”
“Lee, we are the cutting edge here at
the UW as you well know, why we were the first school in America to have
a black basketball and FOOTBALL
COACH! And we had a WOMAN
as athletic director!”
“Yes Emmy, we were very cute back then.
Weren’t we Fat-Boy...
“So now Lee, were going to shock the
nation! Now keep this under your hat Lee, but we are going to be the
first school in the WORLD
to have a WOMAN FOOTBALL COACH!!”
YOU LISTEN UP FAT-BOY EMMERT! You better call the
TELL THEM TO BRING A CHAINSAW!”
“A chainsaw Lee?”
“Yes a chainsaw
Fat-Boy EMMERT!! JUST TO REMOVE MY FOOT FROM YOUR....
“Lee, Lee wake up, you’re dreaming, quit
talking about chainsaws, you cut the firewood yesterday.” Why it’s my
wife Gloria. It is still Thanksgivin’ ain’t it?
I better get up, I got cranberry sauce
“Say Gloria, now that you’re awake, I
think I gotta tell ya’ this. I’m thinkin’ I’ll baste this years turkey
in hot mustard, sounds good huh?”
“Lee, you baste that turkey in mustard
and you better be dialing 911...
And when those medics answer the phone,
tell ‘em they better be bringin’ a
For all the mess that was this season,
I’m still very thankful, for there is a
And unlike Fat Boy Miller,
If God be so willing...
I may have one more year,
To keep them chainsaws,
Six feet from my rear...
Groinman’s tip of the day, and for the
beyond: “EPIC PROPORTIONS!”
For we shall never again shrink to where
we have been shrunken.
And for that, we truly give thanks...
Officer Lee Groinman.
R.I.P. Fat Boy Miller.