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When Irish Eyes are winkin'

This is Officer Lee Groinman, Washington’s most embarrassed cop.

Which isn’t sayin’ much. The Nebraska game, good grief. I work with a bunch of guys who didn’t even know who we were playin’ or even who ‘we’ were. I have a cousin who attended the UW for over four years and did not know who the Huskies were. To her they were just some team who played down by the lake. Seriously, you think I could make that up?

I worked with an intern last summer, a recent UW grad who said she just loved going to the games. Damn I thought, a real Husky fan, right here! So I started talking some Husky football with her. “Well, I haven’t followed them that closely since I graduated three weeks ago. Who are we playing this week?”

It was the Fourth of July…

She went on to say that there were too many old people that go to Husky games and she probably would no longer attend unless she only had to pay ‘student prices’, because after all, she was “alumni’. We had a casual staff appreciation barbeque one weekend. She wore a ‘University of Texas’ tee shirt. Proud UW ‘alum’. I’ve never seen anything ‘UW’ about her.

But keep those ‘student prices’ alive and well, now there’s a potential new tradition…

Oh speakin’ of traditions, it was nice to see Captain Husky back in the groove! Once again, I didn’t see Dubs. I emailed the UW on this one, told them of my female Malamute Bella. I tried that Title 9 angle, equality for women, a female mascot. If it would fly anywhere, UW would be the place!  They replied that Dubs was in fact there leading out the team. I suppose I was looking for the team to run out in between the marching band. Remember when the band would form two lines out from the tunnel, and the team, lead by the mascot would run out onto the field while the band played on? Yup, those were the days.

These days, as soon as the flag is rolled up, the band seems to be in a race to get back to their seats. Forget about that team about to come out of the tunnel. Probably need to get back to their cell phones…

So here it is the Nebraska game, September 18th 2010, the forty year anniversary of Jimi Hendrix’s death. Hendrix, a Seattle institution. So what does our band do for halftime? Play some tribute to Lady GaGa.

Holy Crapes, it just grinds my beans…

For some time now, the UW would play Hendrix’s ‘Purple Haze’ in the third quarter. What better theme song for a UW team than Seattle’s own Jimi. But on September 18th, you got it., no ‘Purple Haze’.

Is it possible there’s something wrong with our marketing department?

I got home from the Nebraska debacle in time to see the Arizona Iowa battle. What a difference. Every Arizona fan wore red, every Iowa fan wore yellow. It was a sea of red and yellow. In Husky Stadium there was a sea of red alright, but in the Husky sections it was a bland mix match of whatever, probably whatever was clean to wear that day. But down in Tucson, yeah those fans can probably afford to buy a red Arizona shirt, unlike the Seattle area fan…

I do believe I’m the only one in my row to wear purple, but then it’s always a different group from one game to the next, what’s up with that? ‘Cept of course that old guy to the right of me. I kinda’ like that ol’ codger, he takes a big draw from his flask after every Husky score, then he puts his hand in his arm pit and does this  sorta’ chicken dance “yit, yit, yit” Kinda’ like Jack Nicholson in “Easy Rider”. And he does it oh so well..

Well here it is, the ‘Game of the Year’ against Nebraska, and once again I’ve got an extra ticket. It must be the end of times, I swear. I see on the internet where there’s this guy named ‘Pat O’ Irishman’ looking for a ticket, says he’s a Dawg fan looking for a ticket, and will be in town for Nebraska, flying over from Ireland on Thursday prior to the game he is. We send some emails back and forth and the deal is made.

“Now look Pat, were gonna have to get this thing down Pat”, I write; “I don’t want any shenanigans you see, this is a big game, were gonna have to have a secret code.” “Right you are Lee, a secret code” Pat replies. “Now Pat, the pass word will be.”

“There’s a Fat Man in the Bathtub, with the Blues.”

“Right you are Lee! Very good then! We’ll meet up at the Montlake footbridge at 9 am sharp! You shall not be late on my account!”  Gotta love these emails…

So I’m standin’ there at the Montlake footbridge at 8:55 am, coffee in hand. No Pat. There is this lovely thing about 5’8” and about 125 pounds, long red hair, kinda strawberry like, bright green eyes,  bright red lipstick  framin’ some pearly whites, purple Husky shirt, nice  fittin’ jeans and hiking boots.  She’s smiling at me.


“Actually it’s Patsy, Lee. For my protection, I made myself off as a man on the internet. I’m so sorry Lee, I hope you will not mind, I shan’t be any trouble.”

“Well then Miss Patsy, what would our pass word be? Remember, I said no shenanigans!”

“Right you are Mr. Groinman, the pass word is, she begins to blush a bit;

There’s a chubby bloke in the Loo with a Blue.”

Then she giggles and covers her mouth. “You Yanks are so clever!”

Close enough, considerin’ the translation and the like…

“So Patsy, did ya’ bring us any of that ‘Luck of the Irish’ I’d asked for?” “Oh Lee, that ‘Luck of the Irish’ is a bit on the over rated side of things.”

I guess she wasn’t kiddin’…

Patsy’s not even half my age. My age? Well it’s like they say, ‘it’s the new twenty-five!’  First thing to do, ditch the cell phone, this can’t look good…

So there I am strutin’ thru the E-1 parking lot with the young and lovely Pat, er Patsy. Yeah, I heard a few of the comments;

“Did you see that? That was Groinman with some hot young chick, let’s call his cell!”

I’d gone all out for this tailgate, even washed the grill and scrubbed the lid to the old Weber Smokey Joe. Wanted to impress this Irish dude, but the dude was one lady. I was doin’ brats. I had diced Walla Walla onions and home grown tomatoes, or ‘tomaatoes’ as Patsy called them. I also had buttered corn on the cob wrapped in tin foil, Patsy loved those.

I’d done alright, ya’ know, for a guy.

Patsy loved the tailgate scene. “You’d never see anything like this in Ireland! We’d just meet in a Pub and call it good! You Yanks are so clever!”

Patsy couldn’t wait to enter Husky Stadium, we got in with 10 minutes to spare. “You’ll forgive me now as I turn tourist!” She begins taking pictures of everything.. We had a decent first half. Patsy was wide eyed and pumped up, when I yelled, she yelled, when I stomped, she stomped. It was fun, for about a half…

As the game got out of hand and the outcome was a done deal, Patsy asked what the team would be doing with the extra week before USC.

“Learnin’ to block and tackle I hope.”

On the way out of the Stadium Patsy was still takin’ it all in, the Lake view, the walk down the ramp. “You know Lee, I’m part American! My mum was from here. She lived in Utah before marrying and moving to Ireland.”

“Utah huh, damn Utah.”

“Well actually Lee, she was a Washington fan, born in Tacoma she was.”

“Really, I’m from Tacoma myself.” “How delightful! Wouldn’t it be something if you two had known each other!”

“When did she leave Tacoma?” “Oh it was back in the early seventies I suppose.” I found that odd. “I don’t suppose your moms name was Laurie was it?


A lump got caught in my throat. We now had passed thru the gate to Husky Stadium and were standing outside the entrance.

“I knew a girl from Tacoma in the early seventies named Laurie.”

“Are not coincidences peculiar Lee? I want to thank you very much for the day, now here’s the money for the ticket and a little extra for all the food and drink you provided!”

“Look Patsy, let me give you a lift back to your place, you shouldn’t be alone here.”  “Thank you Lee, but I’m meeting some other travelers right here in the University District. Thank you so much.“  She stashed four twenty dollar bills in my hand, then planted a big kiss on my cheek.

“It was so nice of you Lee!” She turned and was gone.

“Patsy!”  I yelled. “Say hello to your mom!” Not sure she heard me…

I started mumblin’ an old song from 1972, Harry Chapin’s “Taxi”.

Well another man might have been angry,

And another man might have been hurt,

But another man never would have let her go…

I stuffed the bills in my shirt.”

Yup, she walked away in silence, and I walked back to the Jeep alone…

That we’d both gotten what we asked for

Such a long, long time ago.”

I started to think of some  other things  of the seventies, okay, it was 1969, but close enough for ya’ know, guys like us…

 “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.”

The scene is where the ‘Sundance Kid’ (Robert Redford ) is applying to be a guard for the Bolivia Mining Company. He is asked by boss man Percy Garris, (Strouther Martin) to shoot a tin can in the dirt. He misses, misses again and again.

“Can I move?” He asks Percy, Percy spits in the dirt…

I think you know the rest, tin can shot to hell and the Bolivian Mining Company had a new guard team.

That’s what Jake should be asking Sark. “Can I move?”

Move him out, roll him out, use those legs, play ‘Jake ball’. Win some games…Dang nab you!

The walk back to the E-1 parkin’ lot was much longer than I had remembered. I got back to the Jeep and turned on the radio to listen to the Husky Honks. A grey cloud kinda’ settled down on me and a light rain began to fall. I’m sure it was rainin’ on other people too, but I really can’t remember. I sat down and ate a cold bratwurst  and washed it down with a warm beer, then belched deeply. Yup, I thought to myself, just might have to trade this Jeep in, maybe get me a taxi….

It was even a longer and more disgustin’ trip back home. I finally made it and the wife Gloria is settin’ on the couch, watchin’ some silly assed movie on the TV and eatin’ a bowl of Nalley’s chili with cheese. “How was your game Lee? And how’d your Irish friend like it?”

“The game blew big time, the Irishman had a blast, never seen anything like it..”

“So Lee, are all Husky fans wearing bright red lipstick on their cheeks now, or is that one just for you Mr. Lee?”

Yup, guess this one must be just for me…


GRUMBLINGS: As you can probably tell by now, Groinman here won’t be makin’ that trip to LA with ya’. Shet. But the way I see it, we can win this game, it’ll take something we haven’t seen in awhile, like a complete game.  But Jake is our ‘Sundance’, we gotta let him move. Move in his own way. Standin’ in the pocket is fine for some quarterbacks, but if I were Jake, I wouldn’t dwell on it…



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

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