Sports

Those who live by trash talk die by it. Just ask me.

I was so close to having control over most of this state. With Texas having already knocked off the University of Washington back in 2001 Holiday Bowl, a simple win over a very overrated Washington State team in Wednesday night’s Holiday Bowl would put me right where I belong — in trash-talking nirvana.

See, this past summer I was playing golf over on the east side and caught up to a twosome that was playing quite slowly. They yelled for me to play through but when I stepped up on the tee, one of the golfers noticed my burnt orange baseball cap and Bevo head cover and quickly told me I couldn’t play through.

I looked up and said “Holiday Bowl?”

Yes, there I was face-to-face with a UW alum still bitter over that 47-43 thriller a few years back. I will never forget that game, one of the more exciting I’ve ever seen. Of course, had the result been different, who knows if I would even care?

But I had that to talk about it and knew I was going to add the Cougars to that list. But once again, Texas underachieved and let me down and I’ve had to endure a couple of days of trash aimed in my direction.

But that’s OK, that’s what being a fan is all about.

I got a nice e-mail from Sean Lamphere, the former sports editor at our sister paper up in Silverdale. It was a picture of a WSU player scoring a touchdown, framed in the school’s colors of red and silver, with some kind of smartass comment on the top. Nice touch.

My e-mail box was pretty full Wednesday morning. I got plenty of mail from my friends who have loyalties to Notre Dame and Oklahoma and Texas A&M.

Even the Texas Tech people came out punching this year. So you beat Navy, that doesn’t give you a license to talk.

I got plenty of jeers at the local watering hole I watched the game at, including having to sit next to a WSU grad who slowly got louder as I gradually continued to slump down in my chair.

But the best line came from South Kitsap boys basketball coach John Callaghan, who told me it sounded like I had lost my Texas accent and I was actually speaking with what he called a Pullman accent.

Good one, John.

I can’t wait for school to start on Monday. I know I’ll eventually run into football coaches D.J. Sigurdson and Eric Canton, among others. Let’s just say I guaranteed a Texas victory to both and I’ll hear about it, I’m sure.

One cool thing that came out of that evening was getting to sit down and talk sports off the record with a couple of guys who are coaches here in town.

I have been totally amazed at the level of play by every team I have covered so far.

I’ll put it this way: All the sports editors and or writers in the Kitsap News group got together a few weeks back for a very informal meeting. The topic of our respective beats came up and I was asked how I liked mine so far and would I consider giving it up for, say, the Central Kitsap Reporter job.

No way. I have the best beat in the state, I think. Every team that competes at South Kitsap moves on to the playoffs in some fashion. That’s what a sports writer dreams about, getting to cover the big games and the state tournaments, where they have free food.

That’s what it’s all about.

But what I have really been amazed with is the kids themselves.

I’ve been covering high school sports since 1988. I’ve talked with thousands of kids and the majority of them are just not good at being interviewed. They’re either to shy to really say anything or their grammar is so bad you can’t put into words what they are trying to say.

I haven’t had that problem in Port Orchard. I’ve yet to talk to a kid that I would deem not a good interview.

Sure, there are some that are programmed by their coaches to say the “right” things, and that’s fine, as long as they say them.

But there are some that are really, really good quotes. I know they will always have something to say and will talk to me even after a tough loss. Those are the hardest kids to find and when I do come across them, I have to remind myself that I can’t go to them every time.

I am reluctant to name them here but I think they know who they are.

And most of the coaches at SK are the same way. Anyone is willing to talk after a win but those who can do it after a loss and have something to say are the best.

Again, I won’t single any coaches out but they know who they are.

All of this is, of course, a testament to the parents of these kids and the coaches that athletic director Steve Reischman hires at South Kitsap.

And it’s very cool to listen to some of those coaches talk about it. I’m looking forward to more talks off the record with some of the coaches I work with.

I have to say I liked the snow we got this weekend but it’s about time to start playing golf. It’s the new year, so isn’t it time for the temperature to start climbing back up into the low 80s? Oh wait, I’m thinking of Texas.

And speaking of Texas, if you should happen to see my cap in the gutter on Mile Hill, covered with black slush, feel free to run it over. That is, of course, why I tossed it out the window.

Jeff Wilson can be reached at (360) 876-4414, or by e-mail at sports@portorchardindependent.com.

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