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Monthly Archives: March 2012

This blog is a Kitsap Sun reader blog. The Kitsap Sun neither edits nor previews reader blog posts. Their content is the sole creation and responsibility of the readers who produce them. Reader bloggers are asked to adhere to our reader blog agreement. If you have a concern or would like to start a reader blog of your own, please contact sunnews@kitsapsun.com.

Lemons to Lemonade

My alma mater, the University of Washington Huskies, got left out of the Big Dance. Even though they won the Pac-12 regular season title, a couple of bad end-of-the-season losses, kept them out of the March Madness NCAA tournament. They ended up being a #1 seed in the national Invitational Tournament (NIT).

These are 20 year olds. They were discouraged and upset about not being selected to the NCAA tournament after winning their conference. The NIT, though prestigious in history, was of little consolation. It would have been very easy to walk out on the court in the first game with a bad attitude and leftover baggage. That would almost certainly lead to an even more embarrassing loss and a terrible off-season.

On Tuesday, the Huskies defeated their arch nemesis Oregon to advance to the NIT Final Four in Madison Square Garden in New York. They won three games to earn that distinction. Now they will play on national television in the Big Apple. No matter what happens, this has been a success. They turned lemons into lemonade.

Give credit to the coaches for excellent leadership. Give credit to the players for staying tough. And give credit to the fans for sticking behind them. It was a team effort.

Hey…winning the NIT in New York would be really cool for these kids and the University. Let’s support them. Go Dawgs!

© 2012 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Matt Flynn the Right Move for Seahawks

The Seattle Seahawks have made this free agency period count.

First, they sign their best returning offensive free agent, Marshawn Lynch, to a long-term deal without having to place the franchise tag on him. Next, they re-sign their best returning defensive player, Red Bryant, to a long-term deal, again without having to franchise him. Then, they sign a high quality defensive end, Jason Jones (formerly of Houston), to upgrade their D-Line. And now, drum roll please, they add the missing piece to the offensive puzzle, the QB of the future in Matt Flynn.

Yes, Flynn is a risk. He’s played two brilliant games. Other than that, you bank on the training he’s received under Mike McCarthy and Joe Philbin, backing up arguably the best QB in the game, Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay. But let’s be serious, any QB is a risk, even Peyton Manning. Manning, who snubbed the Hawks advances and obviously wasn’t interested, hasn’t played in well over a year, and is coming off serious neck surgery. The QBs in the draft outside of Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III are all projects and a reach at where they draft. Flynn at least has had success when given a shot. This is definitely NOT Charlie Whitehurst. In addition to the training as the 2nd String (not third) in Green Bay, he also led his college team (LSU) to a national championship. Dude is a winner, has some pedigree, and is worth the risk. He is also still young and has a ton of upside.

What I love about Pete Carroll and John Schneider is that they refuse to stand pat. They are constantly looking to improve the team and are willing to make moves to do it. Fearless. They have also shown to be very savvy in the draft. Heck, they have done what they need to do in free agency outside of adding depth. Now they can go into the draft and pick the best players; not reach out of desperation.

Training camps only5 months away…

© 2012 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

 

Huskies Should Be Dancing…Barely!

The Pac-12 championship win by Colorado should actually bode well for the Washington Huskies. Colorado earned its way into the March Madness tournament with a close win over Arizona. The popular thinking is that a maximum of two teams from the weak Pac-12 conference make it in. Here is my case for the Dawgs…

  • They are the Pac-12 regular season champs. Bad conference or not, over the course of the season, they won it outright.
  • Cal didn’t make it to the championship game of the tourney, either. Everyone said they were a lock, but an embarrassing loss to Colorado may have changed that.
  • Arizona, who lost in the championship game, was beaten twice by Washington head to head. If that doesn’t mean anything when looking at tie-breakers, then something is wrong.
  • Nobody else has a claim.

I actually think you will see both Washington and Cal sneak in. They may both have to play on the first weekend (or play in games). Who cares, though? It’s about getting in. That being said, there is cause to be a little nervous until your name pops up today. Stay tuned!

© 2012 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Kingston Wins at State

It seems like forever since Kingston couldn’t win a game. Now it seems like they can’t lose.

Blake Conley showed up on the scene a couple of years ago when Kingston may not hae even won a basketball game. Now, it’s back to back years in the state tournament. This year, they have an opening round win and a chance to advance to the championship game with a win today.

Kudos to Blake Conley and his staff. Kudos to athletic director Dan Novick. And big kudos to the players and parents. This is a great story no matter what happens tonight. A big win over a perennial power would be icing on the cake!

© 2012 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

 

Head Injuries and Concussions

Head injuries and concussions have caught the national spotlight. The NFL, NCAA, and NHL have been proactively and aggressively taking steps to prevent head injuries and maybe most importantly, to make sure athletes don’t go back too soon. This is not only a major topic and challenge in professional and college sports, but in high schools, too.

The reality is that school districts don’t have the money to commit to sweeping changes. It’s very sad as it turns out our most vulnerable are at most risk. At North Kitsap School District, the bar has been raised by Chris Franklin. Franklin has been the head athletic trainer at North Kitsap HS for 17 years. He is the guru of making sure kids at North Kitsap stay safe. The work he and his team have done with baseline testing and prevention has drawn local and national attention. Recently, several schools have come to visit North Kitsap to see what they are doing, so they can make similar strides in their schools. And, just recently, a national web site has published a story on what North Kitsap has been doing in this arena.

Read the story here

Full disclosure: I am a North Kitsap School Board Director and I am proud of Chris and his team. I’m proud that our board has continued to fund this program at the level it has for the benefit of our athletes. I’ve watched Chris and his colleagues for 8 years as a coach. I know the work they do not only with head injuries, but all injuries. Great job!

© 2012 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved