Four score and nearly twenty years ago I was a golfer. Not a good one mind you, but a golfer nonetheless. In fact, hardly a weekend went by when I was not hacking it up with my beloved Uncle and his buddies at Jackson, Willows, Snohomish, and all points between.
And like I said, I was never a good golfer. In fact, for nearly all of my golfing career I was a true blue hack job. Meaning, if I got a 92 on a decent course I was pretty thrilled.�� And if I broke 90, well, I felt like Jack Nicklaus (even if I looked and smelled a lot more like Jack Nicholson).
Anyhow, after being awful for what seemed like a near eternity, the tides started to turn just a bit. Mind you, everything about my golf game (and underlying talent) still sucked. But, thanks to a lot of this, that, and the other I started to figure out how I could compensate for all of my short-comings. So, for instance, I learned how to position my feet in order to compensate for the wild slice that accompanied all of my drives. And, even though I was never long, I also learned EXACTLY how far each of my irons would travel from particular lies and particular locations.
So, one day I was playing out in Snohomish and things started to come together just a bit. And, by the time that I finished the front nine I thought I was playing pretty good. In fact, I shot a 43!
And then the back 9 came. And wouldn’t you know it?–things started to come together even more. And as I totaled my score on the way to the 19th hole I found myself standing in stunned silence. Because after I added and then re-added my total, I realized that I not only shot a 36 on the back, I had actually broken 80 for the first time ever. It was truly incredible.
A couple of weeks later, I played on one of Jack Nicklaus’ golf courses in Ohio that I played a few years prior. But this time, instead of shooting a 110 (as I had done my previous time on that course), I shot an 81. And when we went out again the next day, well, I didn’t fare as well. I mean, this time, I “only” shot an 82.
A week or so after that, I was preparing to leave Seattle to head to graduate school out of state. But before I did, I headed out to West Seattle for one last trip to the links with my Uncle and his buddies. And when we were done, I had shot my second 79 in nearly as many weeks.
But as I walked off the course, the emotions that came over me were bitter sweet. Because, while I was thrilled by the fact that I had actually entered into the realm of golf respectability, I also knew that my success–however relative–was unsustainable. Meaning: If I wanted to come close to matching the performance of that “season” in the years to come, I was going to need to bear down and blow the whole thing up.
Because, absent a radical departure from my axe handle grip, the chopping motion of my swing, as well as other peculiarities I dare not to mention, things weren’t going to get any better. In fact, they threatened to get much worse if I didn’t change my ways..
So, given all that information, I did what just about any god fearing man and golfer would do….
Seriously, to this day, I have never played golf again.
Of course, Mike Leach and company can’t quit on the Cougars, just like none of us can quit on the Cougars. But just like I realized that things weren’t going any farther with my golf swing, Leach has clearly decided that he can’t take this program any farther unless he starts developing (and in the case of Gabe Marks, preserving) his young talent. And so, while folks like myself thought that this year was going to be an “up” year for the program, it turns out its going to be a transitional year.
So, while we all want to go back bowling THIS YEAR, we’re going to have to enjoy the process of watching young kids run around for 3-4 hours every Saturday.
And that mission resumes in earnest tomorrow against Portland State—a team that draws about as much interest as all of the Viking teams that preceded it. And while its tempting to give them their due and write about how the Vikings could, in fact, play the part of the snotty nosed brat that kicks the wounded dog when he’s down, well, I’m having none of it.
And the reason for my confidence is simple: First, Connor Halliday just finished a HORRIBLY down day in which (a) He missed about just every run check possible, (b) His receivers were being held all game long, and (c) Cracraft didn’t play a doggone snap. And in spite of all that, the dude still threw for nearly 400 yards.
The second reason for my confidence is thus: Our defense played pretty darn well last week—holding Nevada to 16 points once you eliminate the touch that was enabled by an interception that was returned to the 10.
And so, when you consider that this game is at home, that Cracraft should play, and that Portland State more or less plays the same offensive scheme as Nevada? Well, I think this game is a no-brainer.
Now to the Over-Under picks:
1) Connor throwing for over 400 yards (Over). I’m guessing 541.
2) RBs amassing 100 or more yards (under). I’m thinking 78.
3) Scoring over 35 points (Over). Read a bit farther down.
Put that all together and you have our first (and only) comfortable win of the season. Cougs win this one 49-24 in a performance that will have us all thinking “maybe” heading into “Oregon Week.”
I’ll be back Monday with some thoughts on the game as well as the Pac-12 slate moving forward.
All for now. Go Cougs.