Category Archives: Sports

SKHS grad flips out as L.A. stuntwoman

Coming up later tonight at www.kitsapsun.com, we profile a 2011 South Kitsap High School grad who is now a stunt woman in Los Angeles.

Sydney Olson, who started in gymnastics at Mile High Gym in Port Orchard and spent most of her time at Olympic Gymnastics Center in Silverdale, will appear Monday on “American Ninja Warrior.” I had never heard of it, but I learned that contestants have to navigate a strenuous obstacle course.

Olson’s skills in freerunning and parkour — both explained in the article which runs Sunday in the Kitsap Sun — helped her earn a spot on the show out of 10,000 people who auditioned.

You can read Olson’s story in print tomorrow or online tonight/Saturday when it posts at www.kitsapsun.com (I would expect by 8 p.m. or 9 p.m PST). You can see how she did in the competition by tuning in to “American Ninja Warrior” at 8 p.m. PST Monday on NBC.

You can see Olson in action in these YouTube Videos.

Wins, Fails and Grunts … in which Olson shows how much work it takes to master the moves.

BODYPOP, Official Music Video, in which she appears with social media entrepreneur Cassey Ho. That’s her on the right in the first frame.

Red Bull Art of Motion Submission 2014, in which she shows her stuff, like running up trees and flipping over backwards.

This post has been edited. The original version misstated Sydney Olson’s last name on first reference.

Richard Sherman has Cedar Heights covered

Students at Cedar Heights Junior High School (and most staff members) showed up for the school assembly Thursday with no idea what was in store.

When Richard Sherman walked into the room, the gym exploded in applause and excitement, said South Kitsap School District spokeswoman Amy Miller.

Sherman, a pillar of the Legion of Boom for the 2013 NFC Champion Seattle Seahawks, agreed to speak at Cedar Heights’ “It Takes Courage to be Great!” assembly as part of his work with Blanket Coverage, the Richard Sherman Family Foundation.
crowd
Through the foundation, formed in 2013, Sherman provides students in low-income communities with school supplies and clothing so they can more adequately achieve their goals.

Sherman recently launched a new initiative to reach out to schools with large at-risk populations, according to Bryan Slater, Director of Community Outreach for the foundation and a member of its board. Cedar Heights does not fit the at-risk label statistically, said Slater, but Sherman wants to reach out to schools in King, Pierce, Snohomish and Kitsap County. Slater, a teacher in the Sumner School District, knows Ted Macomber, a dean at Cedar and supporter of previous Blanket Coverage events, and so the foundation connected with the school in South Kitsap School District.

Although Sherman did not distribute clothing at the assembly, the Stanford grad did talk to the students about having the courage and perseverance to keep trying even when the odds are stacked against you.
six
Sherman fielded questions from the kids, including, “Will you be my best friend?” to “What was your most courageous moment?”

He also invited six students to sign Blanket Coverage contracts to work on improving themselves in the areas of attendance, behavior/attitude or academics. The kids are asked to document where they’ve been falling short in any one of these areas and to list specific actions they will try to take to change their habits. The purpose is to encourage students to take small steps to reach their bigger life goals, Slater said.
richard
Sherman will personally follow up with the students to see how they are doing with their goals, according to Slater.

“Richard’s role is to kind of be a big cheerleader for the kids,” he said. “Richard doesn’t want this to be kind of a one and done thing. He wants to have authentic, real relationships with the kids.”

On his blog, Sherman on Thursday posted, “Shout out to Cedar Heights Junior High School, I had an amazing time today. These kids truly have a ton of potential; I hope I can help them reach it. We had a few kids sign contracts today to improve in various areas of their studies — it is always encouraging to see a student show their dedication to becoming successful. I hope all the students enjoyed it as much as I did. Keep up the hard work; it will pay off!”
sign
Sherman has already visited Rainer Beach High School in Seattle, where he had five students sign contracts. With more school visits ahead, how will he keep track of all these kids?

“Richard’s memory is so incredible, when he gets to meet these five or six kids, he’ll remember them forever,” Slater said.

Members of the media were not invited to or notified of the event.

“We’re not really interested in the publicity,” Slater said. “We don’t want it to be construed as a publicity stunt by Mr. Sherman.”

“South Kitsap School District would like to thank Richard Sherman and his family foundation for taking the time to visit Cedar Heights and make a difference for the students in our community,” Miller said.

Go Hawks!

— Photos Courtesy of Blanket Coverage

SKHS dance team sweeps in Anaheim competition

Dance teams from South Kitsap cleaned up at the American Showcase event in Anaheim, Calif., in April.

The Cedar Heights Junior High School’s junior varsity team, coached by Lexi Sperber-Meekins, took first place in the pom event for its division.

The South Kitsap High School varsity dance team, coached by Devin Hanson, won all three of the events in which they were entered in the finals on April 12: Varsity jazz, varsity hip hop and varsity Pom.

“For a high school team to win that many first place awards is quite an accomplishment,” said Sheila Noone, of Varsity.com, which hosts the event and a number of other dance team and cheer competitions. “I would assume that they are a very versatile team, strong in many different genres of dance. Some teams are strong in pom, or hip hip, or jazz, but to be great at all is very impressive.”

This is their jazz number.

The SKHS dance team has been together for a year. They tried out last spring and worked over the summer and fall to perfect their technique and competition routines. According to Hanson, the team puts in roughly seven to 10 hours a week at practice.

The team performs whenever they can, at the back-to-school fair, high school basketball games, and they did the half-time performance for a Kitsap Admirals game in February.

The dance team competes in Washington Interscholastic Activities Association competitions, and this year they took their hip hop, and jazz routines to state.

As you watch these other videos, check out what an athletic endeavor these dance routines are. If you think this looks like fun (and if you’re a student), tryouts are coming up, likely some time in early June.

This is their pom number.

This is their hip hop number.

CK grad and Kitsap 12 represents at his home in Super Bowl country

Note: When I first posted these photos earlier in the week, I left out most of the details because I wasn’t sure if I might include Ashtin Fitzwater in the story about 12s going to Arizona without game tickets. I posted it early because other news agencies were already getting the photo out there and I didn’t want to be too far behind them.

So here is an expanded version of Wednesday’s post, with more information I had then, and updates, including one that’s humongous! And I don’t use that word or exclamation points liberally.

Central Kitsap High School grad (as well as Ridgetop Junior High School and Emerald Heights Elementary School) represents the 12s at his home in Chandler, Ariz.
Central Kitsap High School grad (as well as Ridgetop Junior High School and Emerald Heights Elementary School) Ashtin Fitzwater represents the 12s at his home in Chandler, Ariz.

Ashtin Fitzwater left the Northwest in 2004 following his graduation from Central Kitsap High School, but remains a 12, representing in his new hometown of Chandler, Ariz.

We first posted this Wednesday, but a lot has happened since.

Fitzwater took about five hours on a Saturday to paint the home he and his girlfriend rent from her mother. I was skeptical, and so was one of my editors, that a house could be painted in five hours, but Fitzwater has skills. He graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in housing and community development and has worked in construction since. “I’ve painted a lot of houses,” he said.

The Seahawk logo on the lawn was done by hand. He set himself up to do it well, applying math to the Seahawk logo from his construction helmet to measure out a 20-foot-by-7-foot rectangle with corners staked with rebar. (And you kids say math won’t help you in life.) He used string to create the box for the bird and went to work, looking at his helmet and spraying the lawn.

This week, as you can imagine, there has been a crush of media in Arizona, including lots from Seattle. KING-5 TV was, I think, the first media outlet to post pictures of Fitzwater and his house. Fitzwater’s brother, Jeremy Hunt, re-Tweeted a KING-5 photo and mentioned he’s a CK alum, so I got him on the phone. Since then, other Seattle news agencies have been by and the Fox affiliate in Phoenix paid attention. A Spokane station, KXLY, has given him the most attention, which we’ll get to shortly.

Fitzwater said he’s seen lots of people driving by to get a look. A neighbor counted 30 cars one day. One family came by and the mom had a Patriots jersey on, so the 12s that were with her had fun and put duct tape over her mouth and wrapped a Hawk flag around her as they took pictures. The mom was a willing victim, so save the nasty letters.

Yesterday when Fitzwater arrived home he found someone had left him a jumbo bag of Skittles. He set up a camera to see footage of people responding to the setting. A lot of people have taken selfies, some of them looking around nervously as if a house that’s begging for attention is also demanding privacy. One day Fitzwater heard a woman yelling “We found it!” to her friends. They’d been out scouring Chandler neighborhoods looking for the Seahawk house.

As Fitzwater and I were talking Friday a mailman stopped across the street to get a selfie with the house behind him.

And so it has gone, but that’s not the biggest news yet. Hunt is, as of this writing, traveling down to Arizona to watch the game with Fitzwater, but that’s not the biggest news either.

KXLY caught the big news, Fitzwater proposing to his girlfriend, Melissa Duke, at night as both are standing on the Seahawk logo. The two have been together eight years and have been talking about marriage. They’ve been talking about it so much, in fact, that Duke kept telling Fitzwater that he couldn’t surprise her.

She was wrong.

A friend asked Duke on a scale of 1-10 how surprised she was by the proposal.

Can you guess her answer?

Hint: She’s a Seahawk fan, too.

Second hint: Look to the roof of the house, or any car with a flag waving anywhere near Seattle.

Standing behind them in the KXLY video were a pair of friends, Adam Collins (also a 2004 Central Kitsap High School grad) and Christina Adams. They’ve been engaged two years and have been having trouble figuring out where to get married and what kind of arrangements to make. According to Fitzwater they now plan to get married Sunday morning, on the Seahawk lawn.

Duke, for her part, has always dreamed of a destination wedding, so she and Fitzwater are beginning to make their plans for sometime in the future.

My suggestion: San Francisco, early February 2016. If all goes well they could be there to witness the birth of the Three-Hawks.

IMG_4447
IMG_4446
IMG_4449
IMG_4448

Gorst auto dealer diverts $10,000 in advertising dollars for Seahawks-themed raffle

In mid-December, as the Seattle Seahawks pumped their regular season record to 12-2 in a shutout against the New York Giants, Kenneth Bayne and Kasey Osborne, owners of Kitsap Auto Mall in Gorst, decided to gamble with their advertising budget.

No, they didn’t hit the casinos. They dedicated $10,000 — the amount they would have spent for print, TV and online ads between then and the Super Bowl — to a raffle.

Anyone could enter. The tickets were free for the asking. People who bought cars got 100 raffle tickets. They checked with their lawyers, and as long as no purchase was required, they were on the good side of the state’s gambling commission.

Had the Seahawks fallen out of the running for the Super Bowl at any time, the raffle would have been called off. But we all know how that turned out.

The drawing is at 5 p.m. this Friday at the dealership.

“We’re going to have a huge party,” said General Manager Phillip Olson. “We’re going to celebrate the Seahawks being the world champs.”

Bayne and Osborne are big Seahawks fans, Olson said. Bayne attended the Super Bowl game in New Jersey.

Were they crazy to give away $10,000? Crazy like a fox.

The dealership sold 124 vehicles between Dec. 15 and Feb. 1; last year during the same period, they sold 81. That was an all-time record for the dealership, Olson said.

The dealership gave away 621 tickets via Facebook; 91 people came in to get theirs. And the 124 car buyers each got 100. That makes the odds of winning 1:13,112.

One more little piece of trivia, the dealership was open the day of the Super Bowl, and they sold three cars. But none during game time.

The auto mall is located at 3555 W State Hwy 16, Port Orchard, WA 98367.

Some unseemly bragging about how I predicted a Super Bowl rout

Here's your proof. I called it.
Here’s your proof. I called it.
I am bragging. That’s not an admirable quality. I can accept that.

Yesterday, and I have to post this when “yesterday” is still yesterday, I responded to my cousin’s Facebook post about the game. It was more than two hours before kickoff. Maybe it was because I was sitting in church that I felt so accurately inspired, but it was accurate nonetheless. I said something few outside the Seahawks’ locker room were willing to say, that Super Bowl XLVIII would be a rout.

The picture here is your proof. “Hawks will win and it won’t be close,” I wrote. In reality it was just a feeling, but I had thought about the game like everyone else had for the two weeks leading up to it and there was some logic to it. And even though I can profess some prescience, I didn’t think it be as brutal as it was.

Here were my three reasons my feeling was supported by evidence.

1. As highly regarded as the Denver Broncos offense was, it only put up 26 points on the Patriots and 24 on the Chargers. The top four scoring defenses were in the NFC (Seattle, San Francisco, Carolina and New Orleans.) New England ranked 10th and San Diego was 11th. Those are good, but not elite like Seattle and San Francisco. Seattle had given up 14.4 points per game. New England and San Diego both averaged around 21.

2. I thought the difference would be the Seahawk offense. I figured Russell Wilson would play well, that Denver would have little answer for his ability to escape and find opportunities, and that Percy Harvin might play an even bigger role in the offense than he did. Denver’s defense gave up almost 25 points per game this year. That might be a little misleading, because when your offense is explosive as much as Denver’s had been, you’re on the field a lot longer and many points come in garbage time. But I thought Seattle’s offense would fare well, because it put up 23 on San Francisco and New Orleans, two vastly superior defenses.

3. In 2006 the Seahawks should have beaten the Steelers. Seattle was better than Pittsburgh, but played poorly. Yes, I know the refs didn’t perform so well either, but that loss was clearly on the Seahawk players. They played awful, awful, awful in key moments. I trusted the psychological make-up of this team to not implode like that one did. Perhaps what convinced me of this team’s mettle was the way it battled back against San Francisco in the NFC championship game. Wilson fumbles and the defense holds for just a field goal. Then the D figures out how to contain Kaepernick. This team was tested in a way that 2006 team was not before the Super Bowl, and it answered. I figured it would again, if necessary, but that it probably wouldn’t be to near the degree the test the 49ers presented.

Despite all that, I did not envision this kind of blowout. Another cousin was in a pool and had the number “3” for the Seahawks and “4” for the Broncos. I wrote to him, 33-14 Seahawks. That’s what I figured, that the Seahawks would clearly be better than the Broncos, but that they would have to preserve a lead, not start sending in backups for mop-up duty.

In the end, though, they did everything right, the refs were a non-factor and the Broncos contributed with a few mistakes. The Seahawk defense stopped the yards after catch. Manning couldn’t run like Kaepernick. The defensive line altered throws and one turned into a pick six. Harvin broke a kickoff return, something you could realistically imagine but not predict. And Seattle’s offense kept converting on third down and breaking tackles.

Even I had no idea how right I would be.

What to do while we wait? Make chili!

Ten days, 43 minutes and 2 seconds until our Seahawks meet the Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII. That is unless a snow storm “of massive proportions” plays havoc with the game.

In case you just arrived from another planet, kickoff is at 3:25 p.m. (PST) Sunday, February 2, at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

I am the epitome of a fair weather fan. I’ve watched one football game start to finish … ever. And guess which it was? Lucky me.

Now, like everyone else, I’m counting down the days until the Superbowl. So I can relate totally to fans at the End Zone Sports Pub in Port Orchard, who have a strategy to make the waiting (and a weekend without pro football) less agonizing.

“What about the Pro Bowl?” I asked Janet Wilson, who owns the pub with husband Steve. “Doesn’t that count?”

OK well, you can see I’m a newbie. The feeling of the End Zone’s customers about the Pro Bowl is a unified, “Meh.”

So what are they going to do with all that down time? Make chili.

The End Zone plans a chili cook-off at 1 p.m. Saturday. It’s a tradition started six years ago by a handful of customers just trying to kill time’ til the Super Bowl. Last year, there were close to 25 entries. Most who enter are guys. There have been some husband versus wife match ups. Last year’s winner was Lisa Gilliand.

Variety (not necessarily heat) is the name of the game in this crowd, many who are hunters.

“We’ve had elk; we’ve had salmon; we’ve had chicken,” said Janet Wilson (no relation to Russell, unless I missed something). “We’ve had some horrible ones. A lot of them were men who didn’t know what they were doing.”

But they’ve come along, learned a lot over the years. “I think the guys generally want to be the best cook,” Wilson said.

There are no rules in this “customer driven” contest. The prizes are bragging rights, your name on a plaque and the chance to wear the Chili Crown for a day.

A panel of six judges makes the call on the best batch. There’s also a people’s choice award. Once the judging is over, they break out the cornbread and cheese and the feast is on.

Speaking of chili, I will now reprise a recipe for Uncle Dan’s Habañero Hellfire Chili given to me courtesy of Dan Saul. Saul, related to the owners of Hubert’s Christmas Tree Farm, was handing out samples when I did a story on the farm in December 2012. It was the perfect thing after stomping around in the cold and rain. Warmed you right up and then some.

Uncle Dan’s chili consists of little chunks of beef and pork swimming in a fragrant, spicy broth, with grace notes of chocolate and the kick of 15, count them, 15 habañero peppers (for a recipe that serves 20). Not so secret ingredients include bittersweet chocolate, strong coffee and a quart of dark beer. Is it hot? Heck, yeah!

Uncle Dan is a colorful character. You can read all about him in my original blog post about the chili.

Here’s the recipe for Uncle Dan’s Habañero Hellfire Chili. Don’t say you weren’t warned. (If you don’t need 20 servings, hopefully you can do the math to cut it down.)

Serves 20

Ingredients:

4 onions, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
3 pounds ground beef
2 pounds ground pork
15 jalapeños, seeded and chopped
15 habañero peppers, seeded and chopped
20 Anaheim peppers, seeded and chopped
1 quart dark beer
4 cups coffee (strong brewed)
2 (28-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
2 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes
5 (16-ounce) cans chili beans
1 (six-ounce) can tomato paste
1 cup chili powder
2-ounces bittersweet chocolate, shaved into fine pieces
1/4 cup lime juice
1 tbsp. cayenne pepper
3 tbsp. cumin
3 tbsp. smoked paprika

Directions
In a stock pot brown beef and pork over medium-high heat
Season with salt and pepper
While meat is browning, stir in all ingredients except beans
Reduce heat to simmer for two hours, stirring occasionally
Add beans and continue simmering for 45 minutes.

“Bon appetite,” says Dan.

The case for killing off school sports programs

For the record, I played sports in high school and would have blown gas out my ears if anyone would have suggested taking any of it away.

Nonetheless, in the last year I’ve watched two districts negotiate funding. Music and other classes have taken hits. Not once, however, have I heard much, if any, suggestion to scale back anything in sports. In fact, in North Kitsap they’re discussing putting in a press box at Kingston High School so the football team can play its games on campus rather than at an already built stadium at North Kitsap High School. One of the arguments against it, a side that isn’t winning, is that the district is considering spending $30,000 on a press box when it’s cutting elsewhere. On the other hand I don’t know if anyone has asked how much it costs to transport Kingston players to North Kitsap, so maybe at least over time there would be a cost saving. It might take a while for that to pencil out, but I haven’t asked either.

Amanda Ripley at The Atlantic Monthly, presents a case that despite its title, The Case Against High School Sports, offers a fair conversation about what might happen if schools eliminated sports. It’s fair, because Ripley also addresses sports’ pluses.

Precisely because of people like me, this might be a tough sell. But Ripley offers as compelling a case as I’ve ever heard. My apologies to the Kitsap Sun sports staff.

CKHS principal apologizes to band for Homecoming fiasco

The principal of Central Kitsap High School apologized to the marching band Thursday for a homecoming game debacle in which the band’s performance was unceremoniously cut short.

Standing before band members on Linder Field, Stephen Coons said, “I wanted to come and express my sincere and deepest apology. It was a regrettable experience and never should have happened.”

According to Coons, the homecoming half-time show ran long. The show begins with a processional of the homecoming court, followed by the band’s carefully choreographed display. The Washington Interscholastic Athletic Association allows for an extended halftime during special events like homecoming, but the performance had run well beyond the allowed extension, Coons said.

School officials held their own football players back, Coons said, but they had no authority over the Foss High School players, who began to stream onto the field to warm up. Parent Heather McClellan said that was a safety issue, since band members were marching backward and could have tripped over the football players. He daughter Mira plays flutes in the band, made up of CKHS and Klahowya Secondary students.

The musicians were further demoralized when some of the CK coaches gestured for the band to leave the field so the game could resume, McClellan said.

As for the parents, “We were pissed,” she said.

Tyler Hunt, activities coordinator, shouldered part of the blame, saying, “It was unfortunate. Due to my part, it didn’t go as smoothly as it should. … You guys deserve as much respect as the football team.”

Coons acknowledged the band members’ hours of practice to prepare for the performance and pledged school officials were taking steps to ensure no such disrespect would ever be shown again. The band will be acknowledged at tomorrow’s game at Silverdale Stadium. Parents and friends of students will receive complimentary passes.

“I’m very glad he did that,” said McClellan, who observed the apology with several other parents. “I think it soothed the kids’ feelings. I think it was a great gesture.”

Coons said nothing like this has ever happened at CKHS in the 11 years he’s been there. But unfortunately incidents like this have happened elsewhere, he said.

“This is a great, hard-working bunch of kids. They really add to the quality of all our sporting events,’ Coons said. “It pains me to let them down.”

As band members filed out to the 50-yard line to begin their drills, one boy shook the principal’s hand and said, “It’s all good.”

Donkey basketball and other Port Orchard pastimes

We (and by “we” I mean reporter Ed Friedrich, but he handed this assignment off to me) recently received a copy of “Port Orchard” a pictorial history of the town by the same name, by the Claudia Hunt and George Willock of the Kitsap County Historical Society.

The book is part of Arcadia Publishing’s “Images of America” series. According to a press release from the company, based in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, “Our mission is to make history accessible and meaningful through the publication of books on the heritage of America’s people and places.”

Willock and Hunt, both history buffs, have deep roots in Kitsap County. Hunt’s family came to Bremerton in 1918. She serves on the historical society’s board of trustees and historical sites committee. Hunt, retired from the shipyard, recently designed the Old Town Silverdale Historic Sites Tour to benefit the Clear Creek Trail.

Willock is a fourth generation Kitsap County resident and retired state employee with a background in business writing. He serves on the board and volunteers for many museum projects.

The book features historical society photos starting with 1988, two years after the town of Sidney (now Port Orchard), was founded. In its early days, the town had a pottery works, shingle mill and saw mill, as well as a wharf for “Mosquito Fleet” boats that were the primary means of transportation.

Fast forward to the 1940s, and this picture, showing local youth diving like lemmings into the 50-degree waters of Sinclair Inlet … just ’cause. Kids still do this (so do adults during the Olalla Polar Bear Plunge on New Year’s Day … just ’cause).

 

 

 

 

 

Before Fathoms O’ Fun, the town celebrated with something calls “Days of 49,” popular from the 1940s through the 1960s. Townsfolk dressed up in wild west garb and got pretty wild and crazy from what I’ve heard. “The name actually had no connection with Port Orchard. Celebration founders chose it simply because no other town had claimed it,” the book states. … Kind of like a domain name.

My thoughts: Port Orchard, where we celebrate by default. Because “Days of 47” was taken …  Makes “Fathoms O’ Fun” sound positively brilliant.

Here’s a picture of a parade float from 1950. The antique fire truck was purported by participants to be the first fire engine in Port Orchard not powered by horses.

 

 

 

 

 

My thoughts: Looks like it could use a horse or two or three. And a suggested caption: Now you see why we need that fire levy!

Here’s my favorite, a picture of donkey basketball at the old high school.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sport was popular with everyone but the janitors. It spawned a special line of horseshoes, Air Wilburs. Also this explain why they needed a new high school.

Go ahead Bremerton, laugh. Just wait until Arcadia Publishing and the Kitsap County Historical Society get ahold of you.

“Port Orchard” is available for $21.99 at local retailers, online bookstores and through Arcadia Publishing, www.arcadiapublishing.com; (888) 313-2665.