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It takes as committee

This is Officer Lee Groinman,

That’s right, Washington’s most bemused cop...

Being 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 project!”

“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 Cup loss...

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 Murphy.

 “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 Miller?”

“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’ policy?”

Oh 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 same way...

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.”

“The what?”

 “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 epic proportions...”

“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 much...

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!!”


“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 to make...

“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 chainsaw...”

“Do you Hear ME!!” 

Happy Thanksgiving, FAT-BOYS!!

For all the mess that was this season,

I’m still very thankful, for there is a reason...

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.



Lee Groinman can be reached at malamute@4malamute.com

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