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
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.
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
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
“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
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
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
“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
And another man might have been hurt,
But another man never would have let her
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
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.
Yup, guess this one must be just for me…
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…
DO YOU HEAR ME!