"The one thing I can't do is get in any trouble or the media up there is going to be all over it."
- New Wazzu rower Holly Wulff, whose uncle is head football coach Paul Wulff – although, the way things have gone in the past few months, it seems her concern should be more focused on the seeming vendetta the Pullman police department has on Cougar athletes than with the media.
"I don't think he begins to understand the difficulties of a playoff. I think he's probably very well-versed on North Korea and the Middle East but not particularly the college football playoff."
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- Retiring – hold the applause until next week – Pac-10 commissioner and avowed college football playoff obstructionist, Tom Hansen, delicately explaining why the President of the United States [and college football playoff proponent] seemingly does not understand the complexities involved in creating a playoff in a collegiate sport such as the ones which already exist in every other collegiate sport yet can somehow manage to be "well-versed" on the much simpler situations with North Korea and the Middle East. Okay, whatever you say, Tom. If it makes sense to you, that is all that is important…until next Tuesday.
"Fans will welcome ESPN's all-encompassing approach, and the additional opportunities and value resulting from our multi-platform presentation will benefit the college football community and our business partners."
- ESPN executive vice president of programming and acquisitions John Wildhack, commenting after ABC's announcement to move the Rose Bowl to ESPN in 2011. Blah, blahdy, blah…translation: we make a ton of money.
"At one point, your mother and I thought we would mature a lot. Turns out, we only matured a little…and then we had kids."
- Comic actor Mark McKinney of the legendary Kids in the Hall troupe, as the yuppie father in the sketch entitled "The Night I F---ed Jimi Hendrix".
The Lounge has cleverly arranged a meeting of the minds. True, they are mostly discombobulated minds, but they are not the worst that you have seen. In fact, some of them are of the mind-blowing variety, but we will not jump into that bin of happiness at this moment – it is highly contagious. Still, there is a wave of excitement rolling over the Lounge and getting everything all wet. The general excitement stems from the fact that men's hoop athletes DeAngelo Casto and Klay Thompson along with new Cougar Brock Motum will be competing in the 2009 FIBA Men's U19 World Championship next week in Auckland, New Zealand. This continues a tradition of Cougar participation in USA international games begun by former Cougs Derrick Low and Kyle Weaver. The more specific excitement, however, stems from the fact that both Casto and Thompson can escape the burning magnifying glass that the Pullman police department has apparently fixed upon Cougar athletes like ants on a sidewalk. Stupidity is a two-way street, of course and, on one hand, athletes need to be aware of their difference from the regular student and the accompanying public microscope that comes along with that role while, on the other hand, Pullman police department and/or related official agencies could stand to benefit from refraining from over-zealous reactions. But that pales in comparison to the most pressing real and scary concern for Casto, Motum and Thompson – which is undoubtedly Poro – the FIBA mascot and what sort of intentions he has with that tongue. Gone are the days of fun and frolic such as in 2006 when we had the magic of Bad Badtz Maru - the Badass Black Penguin of Hoopiness - and his twin barrels of rice wine in Japan. Now, we have Poro the, uh, tongue twister, the spawn of Pyro and Hydro who appears to be solidly standing ground on the lunatic fringe – and we are not even mentioning his black sheep brother, Porno. Look, we know they do things differently at the bottom of the world with their toilets swirling in the opposite direction and all that, but we would not be surprised to see Poro dressed up as his mother and opening up a Bates Bed & Breakfast in Auckland in the near future.
Fortunately, Cougar fans and well-wishers will be spared that emotional rollercoaster whenever Poro enters the arena and they can focus on whether or not they are major collegiate athletic director material by taking the AD Quiz. We must now fess up with full disclosure and report that the Lounge would not be receiving a promotion and may have to attend some seminars [where we can warn the attendees about the dangers of Poro]. Evidently, we saw things differently in Situations 1,2 and 4. Let us take these one by one. First, in Situation 1, we come charging out of the Lounge dugout to protest a bad question format along with a premature conclusion along with some uncanny mind-reading abilities. How is the AD, sitting in the stands, going to know that his baseball head coach "actually wants to get booted"? He or she does not know this and cannot assume it [because everybody knows what that does] – so we cry foul on faulty assumption in that situation. Plus, there is another faulty assumption in the supposed right answer where the reasoning is that an example of this behavior may not encourage fans to return when, in fact, this is another apparent display of mind-reading. Some fans react positively to this behavior and might view it in a different light. Unless that particular concern has already been brought to the attention of the AD and the coach did it anyway – a completely different scenario – there is no way for either the coach or the AD to successfully read all the minds of attending fans – at least not at this time in scientific history. Bad form, quizmaster.
Now, on to Situation 2 – the situation is not on your home court and therefore, not in your control. You do indeed have a right to object - as it is a free country – but given the circumstances of the situation as explained, taking into consideration that it is your arch-rival who you will be playing many times in the future and not a one-time only non-conference opponent, perhaps the prudent route would be just to be not to worry about it unless you are receiving complaints – again, a different scenario. Should be a non-call. Situation 4 – another case of mind-reading accompanied by impressive lip-reading prognostication as well. How the h-e-double matchsticks do you know "lip-readers would have no trouble understanding her as well"? As in Situation 1 – your official capacity and expertise as television show producer probably did not include mastering telepathy of multiple invisible members of the television-viewing audience. Unless complaints have been received – again, a different scenario – there is no basis to make an unfounded assumption. Showing a replay with sound off is playing it safe and perfectly fine. The Lounge might have to teach a few of those seminars in order to prevent the further over-analysis [remembering that half of analysis is "anal"] of America – or at least of faux AD quizmasters.
Better yet, we could suggest that the quizmasters and future AD's of America loosen up a little by entering the Sears' Air Band competition. We suggest "Feel Good Inc" by the Gorillaz, "Runnin' With The Devil" by Van Halen or "Love Rollercoaster" by Ohio Players. It will help create clarity in the brain.
Clarity has been achieved in the 2008-09 CougZone Coach of the Year [and Athlete of the Year] contest. The voting period has officially ended and the finalists will be profiled all this week on the CougZone main page. The candidates were all deserving but only one coach and one athlete can lay claim to the CZ Coach of the Year and Athlete of the Year titles.
"I am already excited about next year!" reports Otto T. Ott, who does not mind admitting to having some slight disorder when it comes to Wazzu athletics.
Yes indeed, Otto. The most excitement comes in the baseball and soccer programs where both teams have legitimate shots at contending for their first-ever Pac-10 titles in those sports. In soccer – which begins in two short months – the Cougars will be returning nearly the entire core of the squad that brought head coach Matt Potter his first NCAA appearance and Wazzu their first post-season appearance since 2002. The Cougars went 4-3-2 in the conference last year and will be coming off another tough non-conference schedule that is expected to prepare them well for the usual Pac-10 brutality. In baseball – depending on who, eventually, stays with the team and who does not – the scene is much the same. The Cougars will be poised to contend for the conference crown after, like soccer, wading through a tough, non-conference schedule that includes games against many NCAA teams from this year. Men's hoop is seeking their fourth consecutive season to end in post-season play and will have a good chance to do that under new head coach Ken Bone [and provided his players stay far away from Poro] while women's hoop and volleyball will be looking to improve to mid-conference finishes and possible contentions for post-season berths. Rowing, nationally ranked for most of this past year, will be looking to return to the NCAA championships and tennis, swimming and track & field will all be seeking success for individuals with Kate Kamendova, Rugile Mileisyte and Jeshua Anderson the usual suspects in those sports. All in all, it looks promising for 2009-10 for much of Wazzu athletics.
"Well, that was interesting," says Muddy Whitecaps of the official announcement of WSU budget cuts last week.
It was both interesting and painful as budget cuts always are. Everybody works hard to be the best or the smartest and then the big axe, in one fell swoop, obliterates all the work. The big axe took down 359 individuals at WSU and three programs – theatre and dance, German and rural sociology – while, curiously, a last-minute reprieve was given to sport management instead of theatre and dance. Any way it is presented though, it is an ugly face to have to view. Peoples' lives are being severely affected – and many more than merely the 359 specific individuals involved. The Lounge would like to extend condolences to the people both directly and indirectly affected by the budget cuts and we are hopeful that, the current economic situation will turn around [with no mind-reading abilities professed, and therefore, our AD opportunities thwarted] – as it shows preliminary signs of doing so – and will find them in positive situations by this time next year.
After they were done voting for the CZ coach and athlete of the year, the Lounge cornered the clientele and asked them what should be done about this Poro problem and the response was unanimous – it was clearly a job for Leroy Smith. Who wins between the Blind Mantis and Poro? Can Poro survive the Mind Maze? There is only one man for the job who can properly "motivize" the Cougars and that man is The Roy. Because, after all, there are two i's in motivation!
Meanwhile, the Lounge Scientists are all up in arms because they have been attacked by a Republican senator from Oklahoma named Tom Coburn. Apparently, Senator Coburn did not see the need for the $150,000 pain management research project at WSU-Vancouver that seeks to examine the brain's reactions to cannabinoids – synthetic drugs which act like marijuana – paired with opiates. Scientists have banded together to protect the validity of the study from ignorant politicians from Oklahoma who should have know better than to have lived in Oklahoma in the first place and, studies show, are trying to live vicariously in other places by buying their professional sports teams and proclaiming that they and their ignorant views are important.
"This is a classic example of politicians making statements about science that they haven't looked into or know anything about," says Lounge Scientist #150,000, Mike Morgan, a psychology professor at WSU-Vancouver who reputedly is also conducting research on the effects of Poro on the innocent and unsuspecting human brain.
On a cheery note, only one more week and Pac-10 fans and well-wishers can feed Hansen to Poro.
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