An Evening at the DeAtley’s; Officer Lee Groinman meets Coach Chris Petersen. How Cool is That??

 

A few years ago I was invited to attend a reception for the then new President of the University of Washington, Michael K. Young, at the DeAtley mansion over in Yakima. I had never been to the De’Atley mansion before, nor had I ever met a University of Washington President, yes, a couple of American Presidents, but never a University of Washington one...and besides, President Young rode a Harley. How cool is that?

 So I went...

 Topless, in my old Jeep Wrangler, top down as said…picture the ‘Beverley Hillbilly’s’…

 Well that evening turned out to be quite the splash, a real hit…I don’t think the DeAtley’s planned it to be a pool party, but sometimes, ya’ know sometimes, things just happen. Everything happens for a reason…

Well I’m sure the DeAtley’s remember me, but they must have forgotten my name. Or somebody forgot to take me ‘off the list’. But here it is, another invitation to the DeAtley mansion.

 This time to meet and have a reception for the University of Washington football Coach, Chris Petersen!

 Ya’ know when I saw the invitation in my mailbox, I knew exactly what it was! But I still found it hard to believe they would invite me back! They wanted me back…

 So one my partners at work, Roy, gets wind of my invite.

“You taking your 1996 Dodge Diesel Blaster Truck? With all the scrap metal in back?”

I thought about it…long and hard, but took the Camaro instead…

I take a left on ‘Scenic Drive’ and headed up to the mansion. Valet parking. Young people dressed in formal attire were to handle the parking. Now ‘formal attire’ in Yakima means ‘wear shoes…’ I’m wearing my 1991 NCAA UW Football Champion tee shirt…Seems they hired students at Eisenhower high school to do the parking chore. I pull my crystal red metallic Camaro into the mansions circular drive. I see two high school boys in black suit pants and white shirts jostling to get into position to ‘park’ my car. Oh great…

“It’s my turn boys!” says this young lady in a white dress….”Cool car Mister!!”

“No cell phones or texting Miss! Or I’ll put you on Work Crew!!” 

My car and this young Miss go off into the distance, into the setting sun. I left it low on gas…

Upon entering the mansion, you go to the quest table to get your name tag, this after being cleared by the lady with the quest list.

Mrs. Pat De’Atley is welcoming us quests…

“Welcome to our home. I’m so glad you could make it!”

Mr. Al De’Atley is standing behind her. He sees me and starts to chuckle….sometimes I have that effect on people…

“Thanks for coming Lee, You bring your Work Crew with ya’?

“Maybe tomorrow Al. Looks like you could use the help.”

“Oh Hell yeah…”

Words can’t describe this mansion, and I’ve only seen roughly a quarter of it. A massive structure, three levels, nearly a city block long, a quest house where the care takers live, all made of stone, granite and marble everything, hard wood floors, plush red carpets, water fountains, billiards room, a piano room, a theater. They have portraits of every dog they’ve had, the frames alone are probably worth five grand each. The back yard looks like a golf course, with a pool, hot tub and more water fountains. The view is stunning…And I’ve only seen a portion of it…

“Have a good time Lee!” “Thanks for inviting me Al!” 

For all his money, wealth, and stature, Al DeAtley is just a crusty old fart. Made his money in asphalt…

This is an open bar affair, for now…The line to the bar is long, the reception line for Coach Chris Petersen, not so much….after all, we are in Yakima…decisions…. 

“Hey there Coach! Nice to meet ya’. Got my Boise State tickets yesterday.“Hey that’s great Lee!” Coach Petersen says while looking at my name tag…”What a game that will be for the team, home opener on the road, I’m sure they’ll have a fine ‘homecoming’ planned for us…” 

“Yeah, I can’t wait. I got four tickets. “Tough ticket Steve. I hear Boise only gave us 2100 tickets, you done good…” “Yeah, taking the Harley down, just to toughen up a bit..”

“Hey Lee? What kinda’ last name is Groinman?” “Hey, I’m Norwegian just like you Chris!” I like how I’m now on a first name basis with Coach Petersen. See how I did that?

“Nah, Lee, I’m Danish.” “Danish? The heck you say…why do you know the only difference between a Dane and a Norwegian?” “Nah, I can’t say that I do Lee…” “I’ll let ya’ know after Boise State…”\

“I bet you will Lee…”

I see that Coach Petersen has a near empty bottle of New Belgian Fat Tire beer in his hand…Catch ya’ later Coach, behave yourself, tough crowd here…”

The bar line is wide open. It’s an open bar. I can’t think of a better time to buy a couple of beers. I get a Coors light and another Fat Tire for Coach Petersen, ahh, Chris as it is...I mean hey, it’s not every day you get a chance to buy a beer for a multi dollar-millionaire celebrity…and when in Rome….

“Thanks Lee!”

Now I gotta tell ya’ this…This Coach, this Chris Petersen has really impressed me. I mean the man has an essence about him. You can sense his sincerity and honesty. He’s a ‘down to Earth type guy’, just like an Idaho spud…but unlike an Idaho spud, he has a magnetic personality. I can see why all the football player’s mom’s like him. He’s very energetic and magnetic. And he works like a mule. Of course I’m a Corrections Officer and I deal with shitbirds and pond-scum all day, so I could be easily impressed…and yes, I’m easily amused too, so there is that….

Now the last time I was here it was all set up just like this. White linen table cloths, servers, shrimp cocktail, oysters on the half-shell, oysters in-the-shooters…all like that, but the atmosphere then to meet President Young had a ‘white wine and cheese’ feel to it. This here affair was beginning to feel like a football tailgate complete with those white linen table cloths…

Now in an event such as this I always like to make sure I get a front row seat. The cost of admission is the same so ya might as well jump in with both feet. No wait,that was last time, at the white wine and cheese event…

So I get a table and the next thing ya’ know ol’ Brock Huard sits down next to me, Brock being the ex-Puyallup High quarterback who played at the UW, now working with the quarterbacks at the U.

“Hey Brock! Puyallup still sucks!” “Hey! I remember you, Fife guy!”

“Hey Brock, you think Jeff Lindquist is gonna put it all together this year?”

“Man I really think so Lee, at least I really HOPE SO! But watch out for the kid, Jake Browning, gonna be a tough call.”

Yeah, I’m in the Jeff Lindquist camp, was last year too, but we had what’s face instead. Kinda funny how some off the message boards know-it-alls figure that Jeff Lindquist will be the same Jeff as last year. Everybody else is supposed to improve, not so the quarterback I suppose. But hey! Jeff has thrown the ball as good if not better than any QB in camp, besides he’s a beast at 6’4” and 245 pounds. Plus he’s Norwegian and eats Lutefisk. What’s not to like??

But here we are in game week, and no started has been named. What an opening series this will be at B.S.U. Can I get a bet on this starting QB?

Now I gotta tell ya’ this…At this point I don’t give a spider’s toot who starts at Boise. As long as a win is the result. But I will tell ya’ this, when Jake Browning gave up his senior year of high school to join the UW squad, I thought it was regretful for the young kid, all that prom and girlfriends and crap…if he pulls off the starting nod at Boise State….

A legend is born….

With a ‘W’….

The ‘social hour’ was about to come to a close, they had asked everyone in attendance to take their seats as Coach Petersen was getting ready to speak.

The tables and chairs were spread out over a large patio area next to the outdoor pool, hot tub, and this in ground trampoline. Unfortunately this one lady didn’t see this trampoline pit and stepped right thru it. Her leg went thru the spring part trapping her lower body, she then did a face plant on the concrete edging…

If you look closely at the picture of Coach Petersen talking you can see the blood. It was ugly and I think the crowd was in shock. I think the lady knocked herself out cold. Nobody moved at first, so I got up and tried to free her leg from the spring while two others helped on her upper body. After a minute or so she came to and was able to free her leg. She had a nasty cut under her chin, but appeared to be okay. The DeAtley’s had their limo take her to the hospital…

Coach Petersen was now about to begin his talk right next to where she just fell…

“Now that’s one tough HUSKY FAN! Mrs. Anderson! Give it up for Mrs. Anderson Dawgs!!”

The gathering gave a polite applause…

“I’m really excited to be here tonight! Boy oh boy! Yakima Washington, the weather is so beautiful, we should just move the school over here!’ Bigger round of applause!!

Coach then started off by talking about why he came here to the UW:

“You know I could have gone to other schools, I could have left Boise earlier in my career, but it had to be a special place for me to leave Boise State, as Boise is so special. It had to be a perfect fit for me to leave Boise State. A perfect fit personally, academically, socially, athletically, and one that would be perfect for my family… And that perfect place was the University of Washington…

Loud applause…

He then talked of his ‘OKG’s’;

“I want to bring in ‘OKG’s’ all of them. Our Kinda Guys. Ones that will buy in and take advantage of all the UW has to offer and give their best in return.”

He took questions too as always…A lady asked “How many games will we win this year.”

“That question will drive you insane! Sleepless nights.”

“Just say all of ‘em coach, keep it simple that way!” Said a guy who looked strangely like me…

Coach talked of his incoming freshman class; “We may play a half-dozen true freshmen, burn their redshirts. One that comes to mind is Trey Adams from Wenatchee. I have never played a true freshmen offensive lineman in my entire coaching career. But Trey Adams maybe the first.”

Now let me tell you a story about this Trey Adams kid. It seems to me like Trey Adams has been a Husky for three years now and he’s not even in school yet. Trey committed to Coach Steve Sarkisian during his sophomore year! Crazy early. But Trey had been on the UW radar for years. I think Trey Adams was 6 foot 6 in sixth grade, probably weighed 40 pounds at birth…

Well the same week Trey committed to the UW, Coach Steve Sarkisian bolted back to his former home, USC. They say you can never go home again, but Steve Sarkisian did. Recently Trey Adams was asked about this event. He replied; “It was tough at first, but then I realized I really didn’t like Coach Sarkisian, it was the UW I loved.”

Way to go Trey! I never like Sark either. Every Husky event I ever went to, Steve Sarkisian always seemed to want to be somewhere else…Well now he is, back home at USC. Seems Steve didn’t really want to be back ‘home home’ anytime soon. The Sarkisian’s, Steve and his wife filed for divorce a few months back…

Well, now with the news of the retirement of Washington’s most experienced offensive lineman, Dexter Charles, due to a lingering knee injury, the deck just got shuffled. Trey Adams will see the field. He was already running with the two’s at left tackle. He could start the second half at Boise…I have visions of both Trey Adams and my boy Kaleb McGary from Fife, those bookend Tackles starting together…maybe by the second half at Boise, one can dream…

And so it goes…well we had an E F Hutton moment there when Coach was speaking. Remember those E F Hutton commercials some years back? “Well my broker is E F Hutton, and E F Hutton says….” Then the room would go deafly silent…Well Coach took a question from a ‘fan’ in the audience… Now everybody at these events should know that a coach can’t comment on a recruit until that recruit has signed his letter of Intent agreement, signing day is the first Wednesday of February, as it is every year. This rule was put in place shortly after Columbus discovered America…A big no no in the eyes of the NCAA.

“Coach, can you comment or tell us something about the recent commit from that tailback from Southern California?”

The E F Hutton moment….the place fell eerily silent at the same time I mutter out loud; “Dumbass.”

There were quite a few snickers, some outright belly laughs while another guy blew beer through his nose…

“Nah we can’t comment on that. The NCAA frowns on such things.”

The athlete in question is Sean McGrew, a California High School kid who just placed second in California’s Track Championships in the 100 meters last month. He ran a 10.56 as a JUNIOR! He can sign his letter of intent this February then coach can talk all he wants…

I wanted to ask a question about my boy from Fife, Kaleb McGary, the 6’7” 292 pound tackle. I’d heard that Kaleb had set a weight lifting mark which had some of the other players all stoked up. But what was it? A bench press? A squat? A power clean? And how much, what weight? I never got the specifics. But I didn’t want to put coach on the spot for a specific number which he might not have off the top of his noggin. So I asked a generic question about the summer conditioning program which got coach going off in another direction, all good.

Coach Pete got to talking about Benning Potoae from Lakes High outside of Tacoma. Seems Benning has got his weight up to a sculpted 270. They plan on Benning playing the ‘BUCK’, a hybrid position, part defensive end, part linebacker. Now Benning Potoae is one kid you don’t want to redshirt, you want to get him on the field as fast as you can. Benning just graduated from High School last spring, but physically, he already looks like he’s about 32 years old, and he’s got the receding hair line down to a pat too. As the late and great former Husky coach Don James once opined;

“Who we gonna redshirt him for? The Green Bay Packers?”

Benning Potoae, not seen on the deep chart….another Boise surprise?

Well there was quite a bit more, but I’ve about rambled on enough, save some in the tank…The rest of the evening was filled with more mingling around, the night was perfect, not too hot yet. After a while I was ready to leave, it was a school night for me and 5:30 seems to come around earlier now…

Well, I was standing next to the pool, hoping not to fall in when a couple of younger guys came up to talk to me.

“Dude! That was awesome! The way you made the crowd go silent then said “Dumbass” to that one weirdo!”

“Yeah! Totally! It was like a TV commercial I used to see as a kid.” “Yeah dude, like I nearly blew beer through my nose…” “Dude, you DID blow beer through your nose!” “Oh yeah, nearly forgot, so righteous!”

“Yeah I figured the guy was an Oregon plant.” I said to these two young ‘dudes’. “Ya’ know try to get coach to make an NCAA infraction right here at the De’Atley mansion and then catch it on his smart phone, then the next thing ya’ know it’s on ‘You Tube’ Just like they do in politics…”

“But dude, that guy was so embarrassed he got up and left.” “You saw him leave? Did his car have Oregon plates? What make?” “Dude chill, what are you, some kind of cop or something??”

So alas I saw that Coach Pete’s bottle of Fat Tire was about empty…What the heck, the line was short, and the price was the same. I get another Fat Tire and a Coor’s Light for myself…

I hand the Fat Tire off to Coach Chris and he laughs. “Ya’ know Coach, I don’t want to mention any names, but your predecessor, that Steve Sarkisian fellow, he would have been gone over an hour ago…” Coach Chris smiles…

“Oh man! I love you GUYS!!” Oh geez...

So here it was, after 8 pm. I couldn’t help but start thinkin’ about the upcoming Boise State game…

The Dawg defense swarms the Bronco’s. BSU has no answer for Travis Feeney, Will Dissly, Greg Gaines, Elijah Qualls, Vita Vea, and Azeem Victor, aka the ‘V’ brothers and the rest of the pack, with Budda Baker bringing it home from the back. Expect another one from the special teams as well.

Time for home, really…I go back to the Valet parking spot under the veranda. I hand the young lady my ticket and she roars off in a John Deere Gator, white dress flowing, but hey, we are in Yakima. A few minutes later she’s back with my car…

“Mister! You got the coolest car HERE!”

This coming from a seventeen year-old girl….How cool is that??

I get into my Camaro and begin to exit the circular drive. I then spot Coach Chris Petersen walking across the lush green front lawn, he is all alone in the evening shade of the De’Atley mansion, he’s headed for the white stretch limo that is awaiting him...I roll down the passenger window…

“Hey Coach Chris! Need a ride?”  “No thanks Lee! I’m all good, I’ll see ya’ at Boise State!! GO DAWGS!!”

Coach Chris Petersen then enters the back of the white stretch limo. A bottle of Fat Tire in his hand….

How cool is that??  GO DAWGS!!

UW 31 BSU 13 Bet heavily…

But wait, just announced…Dawgs are wearing the all-white uin’s….bet as you see fit…

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

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