The Park Bench has moved down to San Francisco for the week to spend Thanksgiving with the matriarch of the Bench's creation. Around this time of year, visiting family and gorging myself on large amounts of turkey and Idaho's finest potatoes always leaves me thinking about what I am thankful for (besides having a mother who is both a Cougar and can cook that much really good food). Most people are thankful for very typical things such as health, occupation or lower gas prices. But why not be thankful for the things that put a small smile on your face or the thing that gives you a little chuckle or hearty belly laugh. After a morning of Black Friday shopping, all of us could use one after dealing with people who would sooner elbow you in the sternum to get to the last iPod than pick you up after you subsequently have a shopping cart carrying a box play set for a baby run over your knee. So here is a list of things you should be thankful for as your rest on the couch with your knee elevated and a bottle of Advil at your side.
I realize I may be preaching to the choir here but he is the best thing Cougar athletics has going for it right now. The man has amassed a 56-17 overall record, which includes his 4-0 record this year. If the underclassmen on this team develop the way they should and the incoming class is as good as advertised, expect this team to flirt with the Final Four in two or three years.
All Crimson Football Jerseys
I liked what I saw in the Apple Cup. And I don't know why no one had thought of this already.
Coach Potter's soccer team finally received the NCAA tournament berth they had deserved for years. His teams have been the best program in the fall over the past three seasons, he has not lost to the Huskies in five years and he recently became the winningest soccer coach in school history. Here to hoping Coach Potter has many more years to come at the helm of the Cougar soccer team.
The man has to be the most undersized linebacker in the conference (even I outweigh him, whether that's good or bad is for you to decide) but he made some incredible plays during the Apple Cup, including three tackles for a loss. He has been a bright spot in the dark abyss that has been Cougar football this year and he gives fans a reason to look forward to next season.
Specialty Winter Beers
Here at the Park Bench, we prefer a darker, heavier beer than most gentlemen who prefer light beers with flashy commercials featuring Dr. Cox or silver bullets. Sure, the beer costs a little more, but it is delicious and it doesn't make you feel like you should be watching a NASCAR race. Plus, those winter beers get us in the mood for colder weather and indoor sports like college basketball.
Of all the guys you could be thankful for on the Cougar basketball game, why him? Because although he is certainly not the most talented man on the roster, he puts in more effort day after day than anyone I have ever seen and I truly admire him for that. Forrest isn't a flashy player. He won't knock a defender out of shoes or attempt a tomahawk dunk. But when he comes on the court, he does what he has been asked to do and goes about his business quietly. He's the type of player we should all look to as a role model for athletes everywhere.
Any Guest on Jerry Springer/Maury Povich
Because when you're thinking your life is miserable and there is nary a person in this world that has it worse than you, tune into one of these programs. It's my personal guarantee that every last guest on there has it worse off than you and for at least a moment, you can smile and get that much needed happiness boost.
Women's basketball is going places at WSU and we have June Daugherty, a former Husky no less, to thank. In just her second year, Coach Daugherty has managed to turn this former train wreck of a program into one that is starting to regain its respectability. Although they compete in the difficult Pac-10 conference, look for great things from this team with a much more physical brand of basketball this year.
Crying Babies on Airplanes
Why? Because on my way to San Francisco this week, I had to listen to seven late-20 somethings gush about how this is the 12th leg in their trip following the New Kids on the Block Reunion Tour and how they are all Donnie or Joey girl. Could they do it quietly at all while I read my book? Of course not. The whole plane including the cargo bay had to hear. Lucky for them, the gentleman sitting in the emergency exit looked stronger than me, otherwise she would've found her way throttled out of the aircraft somewhere near Medford. I prefer the baby, at least they have an excuse for being annoying. They're babies.
Need I say more?
Note: From now on, the Apple Cup and any other big game will be picked by my parents who together had the closest prediction I've seen (my dad said 2 overtimes, my mom had a 17-14 final score).
Last Week: 1-2
Both teams need to win out to even be considered for a bowl. Who wants it more? Couldn't say Who really cares? Not me.
The Dark Lords 34, Slick Rick's Kids 14
Oh no, another Civil War! I always knew the south would rise again…..wait…its in Oregon. Seriously, get a new name, it's not even the biggest rivalry in the Northwest and your state wasn't even involved in that war. Oh well. The Beavs are farther north and since the North won the war, that means, if we stick to the analogy, they didn't win the battle! (I know its inverse of the normal "won the battle, lost the war" but go with me)
Confederates 38, Union 27
I hate Notre Dame. How can you like a football team with Charlie Weis and Jimmy Clausen on it? Really, I want to know, please. Never thought I would say this…Go Trojans!
The Old Greeks 56, Drunk and Boxing Irishmen 10
And now, your Cougar pick:
As is the university, I'm giving the students the week off. The Cougars last game is in notoriously tough Aloha Stadium and although the Apple Cup win gave them a head of steam, that kind of power doesn't get you to Hawai'i. That takes jet power, usually via an airplane. Just keep any New Kids on the Block fans off your charter.
Hawai'i 35, Washington State 10
Obscure Pick of the Week! I can't vote for a team with the same nickname as the stolen Oklahoma City Thunder. But I can throw my weight behind a team with the best nickname ever (and they're a private, 950 student school). I really hope they have Icebox!
Wabash College Little Giants 24, Wheaton College (Ill.) Thunder 10
Dunderhead of the Week: UW linebacker Donald Butler, who said on the Monday prior to the Apple Cup: "It's Wazzu. We always beat Wazzu."
How do those words taste Donald? I bet they taste like shame. I bet they taste like losing four of the past five years to WSU. I bet there's a little hint of WSU finishing with a better record every season you've been in school, not to mention for many years before you arrived.
Yeah, I'm going to have to ask you not to speak from now on big fella.
Now if you'll excuse me, there is a warm leftover turkey and mashed potato with gravy sandwich in the kitchen and an Apple Cup replay with my name on it.
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