Groinman Goes to Practice
14 August 2010
This is Officer Lee Groinman, that’s
right, Washington’s most look at the bright side cop…
Ya’ know I’ve really tried to change up
my outlook on things, things are going down around our place that ain’t
so good, health problems with a family member and a close friend of the
wife, they’re both in the fight of their lives, the ‘C’ word…Then
there’s my eighty something year old maw. Maw Groinman, they say it’s
her heart, she’s seeing a specialist doing testin’ and stuff. When these
things happen, ya’ tend to reflect a bit, maybe not sweat the small
stuff, maybe you even try to look on the bright side. So I tried
this new fangled concept on the Dawgman message boards.
“Way too optomistic!” was the response
to my post…
Maybe I should be Washington’s Most
So I’ve started to enjoy the moment,
take time to enjoy the roses, wake up and smell the brewski, make the
most out of everyday! Dang, I bitch about working weekends, I’ve done it
for years, but like I said, I’m starting to make the most of things. The
beauty of working weekends is having mid-week off. Having mid-week off
allows you to make a Husky practice. I haven’t done that since I covered
the U district, back when James was Coach. I’d stop by, do a little
walk-thru. Nobody said squat to me, just maybe an “Afternoon Sir!” Ah
those were the days…
So what better time than NOW to take in
a Husky practice? I read where Baird is gonna be there, think I’ll mess
with him a bit, maybe dig out an old arrest warrant or something…
Well I brew up a big ol’ pot of java
juice, Fred Meyer Special Blend, then decide to take my new girl ‘Bella’
to Husky town. Bella is my female Alaskan Malamute, she came to us after
we lost our Elsie. Dang, never took Elsie to a practice, guilt trip. It
pains me now to realize that Elsie’s short time on Earth was spent
during the Tyrone era, what do they say about guilt?
So this is Bella’s first full season of
Husky football in our house. Hey! It just dawned on me. Since Bella
arrived at Casa Groinman, the Dawgs are 2-0! Coincidence, omen? No such
thing as coincidence. Bella has watched the Cal and Warshington State
games countless times over the past few months. I don’t think she
remembers the games live, she was still in puppy pants, but yup, my
Bella is undefeated! Now she dreams of being the Husky Cheerleader
mascot and dating Dubs…
That’s my girl…
Well maybe we’ll both get lucky and the
cheerleaders will be there too!
It’s a beautiful mornin’! I got me this
big ol’ Costco sized thermos full of coffee, I remembered to bring the
digital camera, I was sure that I’d forget to bring the darn thing. I
really want to get some good shots of this practice, get some pictures
of Bella too, we may never do this again. I leash up Bella and whisper
those three little words that Bella just loves to hear.
“Ride in Jeep.”
Bella dances on her hind legs and then
does a one-legged spiral thru the garage. Them cheerleading babes would
love that move, I open the garage door and Bella jumps into the open
door of the Jeep.
“Open door?” What the snot is this? Open
glove box, open console, empty Jeep…
Jeep done been prowled…
Ain’t life a peach, holy crapes…
I look over at the pickup, damn, the
pukes even stole my 5 gallon gas can. What kind of scumbag would steal a
man’s gas can? Not even a full can mind you, they must be of the ‘the
can is not half empty, the can is half full’ kind of scumbag…
There was a time when you’d get hanged
for stealing a man’s horse, but a gas can…
Dang, car prowled out here where I live,
miles from nuthin’. You do feel violated, then angry, foolish, whatever.
What’s worse is that while these smucks were rummagin’ thru my rigs, I
was sleeping thru it, on top of that my two MALAMUTES were SLEEPING thru
IT! Eli, my male Mal, and Bella both failed their guard dog duties.
Gonna have to dock their pay I suppose, less Dawg Dollars for these two.
Eli hangs his head in shame, he’s feelin’ pretty bad about himself. He’s
on the deck, facing the corner. He knows he can’t go for Jeep rides on
account of him getting car sick, he now decides to throw up on the deck,
freshly stained deck mind you…
Bella, ever the optimist, or is it
optomist, thinks we better get going! She jumps down out of the Jeep,
then squats on the lawn.
”One for the road, huh girl?”
To hell with it, make the most out of
life, it could always get worse. I start the Jeep and pull down the sun
visor, Son’s of Beach! They stole my favorite sun glasses! You know the
ones! Bought ‘em at the Dollar Store. You just won’t find glasses like
that anymore! The Buddy Holly ones! What kind of scumbag…Screw it, time
to get going. Enjoy life, remember? Damn, scumbags I tell you…
“Let’s hit the pavement Bella! Road trip
I reach under the seat where my CD’s
live. I grab for my favorite traveling music, probably some Southern
stuff. Son’s of Beach! What kind of scumbags!!
Seems they left me with one CD in the
player itself, some Eric Clapton Blues, yeah, you couldn’t get the CD
out without the key. Scumbags…
Nice day for a drive. I pull into Husky
Stadium and they want six bucks to park. There’s a slot for 5 dollar
bills and ones, another slot for change. I’m packin’ a couple of
twenties with five crumpled dollar bills, no fives. Nobody attending the
gate. Ain’t life a peach. I reach into my pocket and find 4 quarters.
Must be my lucky day, or maybe a coincidence or omen? No such thing,
I pull into a space under a tree for
some shade, step out of the Jeep with Bella in tow. A UW worker driving
a six wheeler whizzes by. He’s wearin’ a Texas Longhorn cap! What kind
of fool would be wearing a Texas Longhorn cap on a day like this?
Give that boy a Clue Card! Why Austin Seferian-Jenkins, our
Tight End from Gig Harbor may just walk by and think this kook is some
kind of omen…
You know how kids are, remember the
young Luke Huard and the license plate?
So Bella and myself walk up to the desk
to sign in. Bella looks at me as if to say she forgot her pen. There’s a
sign that reads no cameras or cell phones, seeing eye dogs only. I stuff
both cell and digital camera into my butt pockets, whip on my spare
sunglasses, sign the register and walk in.
“Nice to see Dubs could make it today!”
Says the gal at the sign in table. “No problem Miss!”
A bunch of young kids run up to meet
‘Dubs’. Bella thinks this is kinda’ cool, she gives a few face licks and
sits to shake paws. A natural ham I tell you. I walk around the track to
the shady south side. I pass the media tent and someone yells…
“Well hey! Dubs made it!
This just might work out…
I walk off to the side to get a picture
of Bella, er Dubs mingling with a bunch of fans near the tacklin’ ‘Big
Bertha’. I discreetly grab the forbidden digital camera from my
butt pocket. Press the ‘on’ button, focus, and clicked a quick shot. In
red letters written across the screen reads. “MEMORY CARD FULL”.
Ain’t life a peach…Son’s of Beach!
So here’s your photos folks…
Well damn, we came here to watch
practice, not take pictures of Bella and the kids, this, I tried to tell
I walked into Husky Stadium just before
3 pm. Practice was scheduled to start at 3:15. These guys were already
at it. There was more energy in this practice in ‘shells’ than
there was in the entire 2008 season. At one point I had walked
up into the stands for a bird’s eye view. The pads popping could be
heard clearly from up there. I was focusin’ most of my attention on the
defense. I ended up focusing mainly on three players.
Hauoli Jamora, Sione Potoae, and
Lawrence ‘Larry the Lawnmower’ Lagafuaina.
I still remember Ivan Lewis, Strength
Coach, tellin’ me at the Yakima Coaches’ Tour, how these young kids
were just “freaks, I tell you” and how ready
he’ll have them as he busts their arses into shape. He talked about how
these players were already freaks coming in…
Folks, I’ve had season tickets for
nearly 30 years, and these frosh are as good as any I’ve seen. They are
flat out just ready. I was amazed that this was just the first
week of practice for these three. And isn’t Jamora comin’ off some kinda’
hand injury which limited his workouts? Holy Crapes!
Does this mean I think these players are
Emtman-esque? Who knows, it’s early. As I recall, Mr. Emtman needed to
bulk up a bit, something that Larry has already mastered. let’s just say
these guys are ahead of the game right now, in week one.
Now I know that right now Larry
‘Lawnmower’ Lagafuaina is listed on third team, but it’s fall camp,
he’ll play early and often, especially in situational defenses. I can
envision third and short, or a goal line stand. With Larry, teams will
think twice about double teamin’ Ta’amu, throw in Elisara,
Potoae, or Tokolahi, Jamora at end, Aldrich? Where’s
Matthews? As an added bonus, both Everrette Thompson and
Talia Chrichton appear healthy. Then of course, we’ve got Josh
Shirley as our late add on. I’m liking this group…
The thing that stands out about
Lagafuaina is his height versus weight. With 344 pounds stretched
out over his six foot frame he kinda’ reminds me of ol’ Grampa Groinman.
Now Grampa Groinman sorta’ looked like a beer keg settin’ on a stump.
Laga’s gonna give opposin’ offensive linemen the squirts just with his
pad level alone, he’s gonna play low to the ground, and with those tree
trunk legs of his, well ya’ ever see a tree trunk with an explosive
first step? Explosive squirts…
I love it when the ‘experts’ at ESPN or
wherever question about how will Washington stop anybody? “We know
they can score, but…”
Keep right on talkin’ like that folks,
yup, right up to BYU…
Oh, and there’s more than just these
three amigos. Cooper Pelluer, glad he’s not in Hawaii, what a
gift. I’d like to write about more of these kids, but with space
limitations and with what Malamute charges…
As for Groinman here? I’m callin’
my bookie Timmy in Reno tonight, call ‘em early, ya’ know before
the ‘secret’ gets out and the point spreads get whacked.
So it’s time to go home. I pack Bella
back into the Jeep, she curls and drops like a sack of spuds in the
passenger seat. She’s just spent, long day. She looks at me and gives my
hand a lick. She lays her head on my leg and starts to snore.
My cell phone rings, Damn! It’s still in
my butt pocket!
Good thing I had it on ‘vibrate’.
“Yeah, uh Lee, it’s me your maw, got the
results back, the heart’s fine, valves and all, no heart attack, just
need to take some aspirin. Now we’re off to Alaska tomorrow Lee, and ya’
know we’d never been there before, so you just better behave yourself
DO YOU HEAR ME, LEE!”
Yup. Sometimes life is a peach…
Good to see Coach Lambright working with the remodel team. Here’s
a guy who has been involved in more Husky games than anybody in history.
Player, grad assistant, position coach, defensive coordinator, and Head
Coach. It’s only fitting that he have his hand in this. Do we have the
“Lambo” Award yet?