Charlie Pierce writes about the Deflatriots

Charlie Pierce might be my favorite writer.

He writes about politics and other issues for Esquire.com.

He also writes for Grantland.com, a popular sports and pop-culture blog.

I’m as tired as the next guy about this story about deflating footballs, but this story by Pierce is worth reading.

Here’s the ending:

And, as the sun went down on a long day’s journey into nonsense, I’m sorry, but if you can’t see the humor in this preposterous burlesque, then you’re having nowhere near enough fun in showbiz.

Quick hits from the desert: Troy Kelly, Joey Dean, Seahawks, questions & more

Some quick hits on a Tuesday night from Super Bowl country:

TROY KELLY is entered in this week’s Humana Challenge, the PGA Tour event in La Quinta,  Calif. Kelly, a Central Kitsap grad now living in Tacoma, still has PGA status because of a Major Medical Extension he received after going through knee surgery in the 2013 season.

Kelly has 10 starts and needs to make $563,133 or 353.837 FedExCup points to retain his status. I’m not positive, but I think Kelly has to use those 10 starts this season. He missed two PGA cuts earlier in the fall, and took some time off to give an aching body some rest after not playing well. Kelly cashed in just two of nine Web.com Tour starts in 2014.

Kelly, now living in Tacoma, was based out of La Quinta for a few years and is familiar with the Nicklaus and Palmer courses at PGA West.

In case you missed it, Bob Kelly (Troy’s dad) operates Hackers Bar & Grill at Madrona Links in Gig Harbor.

JOEY DEAN is MCing the Kitsap Sports Hall of Fame banquet at Kiana Lodge on Saturday (11 a.m. social hour, dinner and program at noon). The 1984 Olympic High state championship baseball team is among the teams being inducted. Dean was in the class of ’83 at Oly and played football and baseball. He’s also got some motorsports history and, of course, remains one of the most popular singer/songwriters in Kitsap County. Nice for Joey to give back to the Kitsap Athletic Roundtable, the non-profit that puts on the annual HOF shindig.

PLAYED SOME GOLF Tuesday in Gilbert, Arizona, where the weather was outstanding (76 degrees), and the company even better. The golf game? I’m not talking about mine, but Glenn Carden hit ‘em straight and far while shooting a 78 at Western Skies Golf Course.

SOME OF US DEBATED this question on Twitter Sunday night: What’s the greatest game in Seattle sports history. Was it the Seahawks unbelievable NFC Championship comeback victory over the Packers on Sunday, or the Mariners’ win over the Yankees in Game 5 of the ALCS in 1995?

For me, it’s the football game. It was stunningly, mind-blowing, coming from 12 down with 3 minutes left to win the way they won after playing so poorly on offense. I’m a baseball guy but to be in a position to win back-to-back Super Bowls trumps what Edgar, Junior, Randy and Lou’s Boys did on that magical night in the Kingdome.

What do you think?

IF YOU COULD SPEND an evening with one Seahawk, who would it be? Russell Wilson? Marshawn Lynch? Richard Sherman? Earl Thomas? Jon Ryan? Pete Carroll? Who’s your guy?

PETER KING of mmqb.si.com writes that the Seahawks need to feed the Beast if they want to win Super Bowl 49. I couldn’t agree more.

QUICK, NAME the only team to beat the Seahawks and Patriots this season? Yep, Kansas City.

BROADCASTER BILL WALTON called the Pac-12 basketball game between Utah and Arizona in Tucson on Saturday. Paola Boivin of The Arizona Republic tailed Walton at the Pac-12 Networks crew before and during the game.

At one point, Walton wished Muhammad Ali a happy 73rd birthday and shared a favorite Ali quote: “If they can make penicillin out of moldy bread, they can surely make something out of you.”

ANOTHER PAC-12 BROADCASTER, MIKE MONTGOMERY, got a call from former South Kitsap athlete and Michigan State coach Jud Heathcote recently. “He said, ‘You’ve got a face for radio’ and hung up,” said Montgomery during a recent broadcast. Heathcote and Montgomery, the former Stanford and Cal coach, are both part of the Montana coaching tree. Heathcote, 87, is still living in Spokane, and remains an avid follower of Gonzaga and college hoops.

I WROTE ABOUT ASHLI PAYNE, sophomore guard at Umpqua CC, last month. I’m glad to see I didn’t jinx the Olympic High grad. She’s eighth in the 32-team Northwest Athletic Conference in scoring (17.28 points), sixth in rebounding (8.83), ninth in assists (4.28), 10th in free-throw shooting (82.3%) and 20th in steals (2.13). You can see why her coach, Dave Stricklin, thinks she’s the best player in the NWAC.

 

 

 

 

Some Super Bowl storylines

Coming to you live from Arizona (no, I’m not staying for the Super Bowl), where the locals seem pretty pumped up about XLIX.

This is Cardinals country, and a lot of Arizona football fans don’t like the Seattle Seahawks, but judging by the comments I heard on Monday and the tone of the reports I’m hearing on the local television stations, there seems to be a lot of respect for the Hawks.

That said here are a few storylines you’ll be reading and hearing about in the days leading up to the Feb. 1 game against New England at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale:

Tom Brady vs. Russell Wilson: The Patriots quarterback will play in a record sixth Super Bowl and will be going for his fourth ring. That’s Joe Montana (and Terry Bradshaw) territory. Wilson, meanwhile, is back for this second straight Super Bowl and has a shot to do something no quarterback has ever done: Win two Super Bowls in his first three seasons. It’s the classic drop back passer (Brady) against the elusive play-maker (Wilson) who can beat you with his arm and his legs. A story in USA Today bills it as old-school vs. new-age QBs.

Richard Sherman vs. Tom Brady: Sherman will get more than his share of news, and not all of it will revolve around the elbow injury he played with over the final minutes of Seattle’s OT win against Green Bay. Remember the “You Mad Bro” moment following Seattle’s regular-season upset victory over the Patriots in October of 2012 at CenturyLink? It was, more or less, Sherman’s coming out party as a big-time trash-talker who has shown that he can back up all of that talk.

Former Legion of Boom member Brandon Browner vs. his old team: Browner’s now a cornerback with the Patriot. He was a big part of the LOB, but had to sit out the big game a year ago because of violating the NFL’s substance abuse violation. After Sunday’s games, Browner said he felt all along that a New England-Seattle matchup in Arizona was inevitable. 

Pete Carroll vs. Bill Belichick: Carroll was fired by Patriots owner Robert Kraft in 1999 after an 8-8 record in his third season.  Kraft then hired Bill Belichick and we all know how that worked out: six Super Bowls in 14 seasons. Carroll went on to turn USC into a powerhouse and now has the Seahawks knocking on dynasty’s door. Carroll’s youthful appearance and emotional coaching style seems the opposite of the dour-looking Patriots’ boss. There’s a mutual respect between the two. “I like Pete. I like him a lot,” Belichick told ESPN.com.

Tight end Rob Gronkowski vs. Seattle safety Kam Chancellor: Everybody’s waiting for The Collision in the Desert between those two hombres. If it happens, you might feel it back in Seattle.

Finally, Marshawn Lynch vs. the media: Will he talk? You remember Lynch’s memorable Super Bowl Media Day interview with Deion Sanders a year ago in New Jersey? “I’m just about that actin boss?” Can he top that one? Here’ s what I wrote a year ago after listening to that exchange:

Marshawn Lynch lasted 6 minutes, 20 seconds at Super Bowl Media Day before escaping the big stage.

Deion “Prime Time” Sanders of NFL Network hunted Beast Mode down, and the interview with the Seattle Seahawks star was priceless. Here’s a portion of it.

“You look good,” Sanders told Lynch, who was wearing sunglasses and had the hood of his Seahawks’ jacket pulled up.

“(Bleep), so do you,” said Lynch, fingering Prime Time’s suit coat.

Sanders told Lynch it looked like he was ready to play.

Lynch: “Yep, that’s what time it is.”

Sanders then asked if Lynch was a little shy.

Lynch: “I’m just about that action boss. … I ain’t never seen no talk win ya nothing. Been like that since I was a little kid. I was raised like that.”

Asked if he was excited about the game, Lynch, wearing sunglasses, said, “Hell, yeah. … yeaaahh!”

Sanders then said some think the Seahawks will be in trouble if Lynch doesn’t get untracked.

Lynch: “They gonna have to stop all of us. I’m a beast, but we got some dogs.”

Sanders: You don’t like podiums do you? What is your thing?

Lynch: “Lay back, kick back, mind my business, stay in my own lane.”

Sanders: He told Lynch that NFL Network and former star back Marshall Faust loved him.

Lynch: “That’s huge. He’s a great.”

Sanders: “We all love you.”

Lynch then went third-person on us.

“That’s big time. Beast Mode love and appreciate that.”

 

 

Kitsap Sports Hall of Fame information

There’s been some confusion about the Kitsap Sports Hall of Fame. A wrong date was published (probably my fault) and the correction that appeared in The Sun (again, my fault) had wrong info about where to buy tickets. Sorry for the bad info, but I’m here to set it straight. If you have any questions after reading the information below, contact me at chuckstark00@gmail.com.

Here’s the skinny:

27TH KITSAP SPORTS HALL OF FAME BANQUET

When: Jan. 24, 2015; 11 a.m. social hour, noon dinner and program
Where: Kiana Lodge, Poulsbo
Tickets: $30 in advance ($35 at the door). Send check or money order to Kitsap Athletic Roundtable; P.O. Box 5707, Bremerton, WA, 98312. Tickets also available at Kitsap Tennis & Athletic Center (1909 NE John Carlson Rd, East Bremerton) and Baymont Inn & Suites (5640 Kitsap Way, West Bremerton).
Sponsor: Kitsap Athletic Roundtable.
Presented by: The Suquamish Tribe and Port Madison Enterprises.
More information: Email Jodee.Strickland@aol.com.

WHO IS BEING HONORED?

Rex Brown Distinguished Service Award: Chuck Bullard, who died of cancer in March, and his wife, Sherry, will be honored for their years of service to the sport of wrestling. The award recognizes individuals or organization that have made an impact on the Kitsap sporting community. The Bullards were active leaders of USA Wrestling and Chuck co-founded the Silverdale-based Northwest Washington Wrestling Club, which made an impact not only locally, but throughout the state, and country.

Dick Todd Officials Award: Harold Conway, who has officiated volleyball and basketball for 39 years, is the recipient of this year’s award.

TEAMS:

1965 East High football team: First team in school history to beat rival West High, the Knights posted six shutouts in nine games and allowed just 26 points while winning the Olympic League championship and finishing as the No. 4-ranked team in the state.

1956-57 Olympic College basketball team: The Rangers won the 10-team Washington State Junior College Athletic Conference with a 13-1 record (20-3 overall). It was Phil Pescoe’s fifth championship team.

1984 Olympic High baseball team: Coached by Robin Campbell, the Trojans won the Class 2A state baseball championship 30 years ago, culminating a dream postseason run with a 6-5 victory over Eastmont in the championship game at the Kingdome.

 INDIVIDUALS:

Ken Anderson: A multi-talented athlete (football, basketball, baseball), the 1980 Bremerton grad played baseball and football at Olympic College (All-NWAACC safety), and football at Central Washington, where he was the Wildcats Defensive Player of the Year. Anderson also starred on the softball diamond, first in slowpitch, later in fastpitch, at shortstop. He also coached Central Kitsap Junior High’s football team for 20 years, compiling a 102-21 record while winning 11 league titles and posting eight unbeaten seasons.

Seabury Blair Jr.: The Spokane native covered the outdoors, among other things, and he’s still writing columns and stories for The Sun, in addition to writing outdoor books and hiking guides.

Ted Brose: The 1980 South Kitsap grad, now living in Yakima, was among the first high-profile players that coach Ed Fisher sent to Washington. Brose was a Scholastic Coach Magazine High School All-American and all-state offensive lineman. He played on two Pac-10 championship teams (1980, ’81) at Washington, where he was a three-year letterman.

Mike Cheney: The standout athlete from South Kitsap was part of the 1984 Suquamish softball team that was inducted in 2013; this year he goes in on his own merits. Cheney was one of the best power hitters to come out of the region. Teammates called him “launch” and said he was a home-run hitting machine.

Darell Davis: Bremertons Davis was a three-time national junior American Motorcycle Champion by the time he was 15, and was racing a factory-backed Harley Davidson the following year. He won six motocross races in six days at Sturgis, North Dakota, and was leading the AMA world championship series when he was tragically killed while competing in Erie, New York, in 1987. He was 16 when he died.

Carol Dodd: She was among the dominant bowlers in the state during her era, averaging 192 during the 1980s when the conditions weren’t nearly as conducive to scoring as they are now. The Kitsap Bowling Association Hall of Famer and a 13-time KWBA all-star was a tough tournament bowler and has always given back to the sport, providing free lessons for juniors, seniors and anybody who asked.

Don Dow: The 1978 Bainbridge grad played in two Rose Bowls, a Sun Bowl and an Aloha Bowl and was drafted in the 12th round by the Seattle Seahawks in 1983. The offensive tackle landed with the 49ers, and didn’t play, but was on the team that won the 1985 Super Bowl. Based in Medford, Oregon, he has operated DowEvents, a corporate hospitality provider for events like the Masters, World Cup, Super Bowl and Olympics, for 20 years.

Gordon Farrar: The 1946 graduate of Bremerton High broke the Washington State record in the high jump, clearing 6 feet, 4 inches his sophomore year. Farrar, who was 5-foot-8, tore up his knee playing American Legion baseball in the summer and thought his track and field career was over, but he was talked into turning out again while returning to school while studying for his masters in Mechanical Engineering. Farrar won the long jump at the Pacific Coast Conference Track and Field Championships. His winning jump (24 feet, 4 inches) was the second longest by a college athlete that year. He was invited to the U.S. Olympic Trials, but declined because he’d previously committed to completing his plumbing apprenticeship in Alaska.

Paula Grande: The 1990 North Mason grad guided her alma mater’s softball team to a 311-69 record and a state championship and six district titles during her 15 seasons with the Bulldogs. She was inducted into the Washington State Softball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2013.

Cindy Guy: She’s coached gymnastics for 33 years at Bainbridge, leading the Spartans to a state championship and three other top-four finishes. She’s coached three state all-around champions. The Spartans won 115 straight Metro League meets at one point.

The Hansen Brothers: They (Jim and Dave) ran Pro Competition and Top Alcohol dragstars from 1960 to the ‘80s. They own the 1972 Northwest NHRA championship and were world record holders at one time and won multi-time NHRA Division 6 races.

Bruce Larson: The 1969 West High grad held the school scoring record (40 points). He played on a state championship junior college team at Tacoma and powerhouse teams at the University of Puget Sound before setting into a 40-year teaching career in the Central Kitsap School District. He’s coached 36 of those years. He’s currently the athletic director and varsity boys and girls basketball coach at Central Kitsap Junior High. His girls teams have won 56 games in a row and are 183-29 under his guidance.

The Raines family: Belfair’s Raines Gang (father Dave and sons Darrell and Doug, and Doug’s son Jason) have won everything from regional to state to national titles on motorcycles.

Joe Sherk: Sherk was the sports editor at The Sun in the 1960s before moving on to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and Tacoma News Tribune. After 18 years as a sports writer, the South Kitsap grad worked as a media/public relations professional for over 30 years in NHRA drag racing. He represented many of the greatest drag racers in the history of the sport.

Paul Stoffel: The former all-state center from West High earned a scholarship to Washington State, but ended his college career as a starting linebacker at Central Washington. Stoffel returned to Bremerton in 1969 and assisted his former coach, Chuck Semancik, before taking the head job at Central Kitsap. He coached the Cougars from 1971-75, going 35-13-1 and reached the state playoffs twice. His father, Vaughn Stoffel, a four-sport letterman at the University of Puget Sound, is already in Kitsap’s Hall of Fame.

Tommy Thompson: The Central Kitsap grad was a first-team all-state selection in golf at Olympic College in 1966 and ’67, helping the Rangers win state titles both years. He also played basketball at OC, and went on to earn All-Evergreen Conference honors in golf at Central Washington. His 41-year coaching highlights include 12 league championships as the head golf coach at Central Kitsap and a 288-90 record that included 14 league championships as the boys basketball coach at CK Junior High.

Gordy Wood: The 1986 Olympic High grad and tight end set records at Wyoming, catching 151 passes while helping the Cowboys win a pair of Western Athletic Conference titles and go to two Holiday Bowls. He played for Doug Smith at Olympic High, and later coached quarterback Alex Smith (Doug’s son) and future Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush at Helix High in San Diego. He’s currently coaching at West Valley H.S. in Hemet, California.

WHAT’S THE PROCESS OF BEING ELECTED TO THE HALL OF FAME?

The Kitsap Athletic Roundtable accepts nominations from the public. Mail your nomination with information supporting your nominee to the Kitsap Athletic Roundtable; P.O. Box 5707, Bremerton, WA, 98312. The KAR has a six-person HOF committee that goes over nominations. Discussion starts in the early spring. By summer, the list has been whittled down to about 25 or 30. By September, the HOF committee takes a final vote and makes final arguments for candidates. Believe me, we’ve got a long list of candidates, but if you think we’ve overlooked someone deserving, please let us know.

(Dick Thompson, Dan Haas, Jodee Strickland, Chris Horn , Tim Quimby and yours truly were on the HOF committee this year. This was my second year).

Another No. 1 seed at stake for Seahawks & links

Will the road to the Super Bowl go through Seattle?

I think it will, and we’ll find out later today when the Seahawks play the Rams at CenturyLink. It’s hard to see Seattle having a letdown in this one. There’s too much at stake and they’re coming into the game on a roll, winning their last five games while giving up just 6.6 points a game.

If Seattle wins and the Green Bay-Detroit game doesn’t end in a tie, the defending Super Bowl champs will earn a bye and the home-field advantage. The home-field advantage definitely means more when you’re talking about Seattle or Green Bay. The crowd at CenturyLink makes a difference, and the Packers are a different team at Lambeau Field. Aaron Rodgers hasn’t thrown an interception at home this season.

Here’s a look at the NFL’s playoff scenarios heading into Week 17.

Some links and some thoughts

* Here’s a pretty convincing argument for why former Mariner DH Edgar Martinez should be in the Hall of Fame. 

* ICYMI, Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune addressed a lot of questions concerning the Mariners in this story.

* Former Kentridge  High and Edmonds CC star Shaquielle McKissic has had a tougher journey than most college basketball played. McKissic’s now a senior at Arizona State.

* Olympic High has won six straight and looks like the Trojans are the team to beat in the Olympic League in boys basketball. Next game: Jan. 6 at Bremerton.

* New England’s the obvious favorite to win the AFC, but I wouldn’t sleep on the Pittsburgh Steelers, which has looked pretty good in winning their last three games. Ben Roethlisberger is getting protection, Le’Veon Bell is the best multi-purpose back in the league and the defense is starting to come together. The Steelers win the AFC North and a bye with a win over Cincinnati today. If the Steelers go into the playoffs with a four-game winning streak and a bye, watch out.

Pat Forde of Yahoo! Sports is among those who’s convinced Kentucky will be 34-0 when the NCAA Tournament begins in March. The No. 1 Wildcats dispatched No. 4 Louisville 58-50 in a battle of unbeatens on Saturday, and Forde said it should be smooth sailing for Kentucky in the SEC.

Forde writes: Too long. Too versatile. Too deep. Too relentless. Too athletic.

Louisville coach Rick Pintino says: “I know one thing. They’re one of the great defensive teams I’ve seen in my 40 years. They can switch and not cause a mismatch, they can move their feet, they can block the shot.”

 

 

 

Collegians: Updates on Kitsap hoopers

Wondering how Kitsap’s college basketball players are faring? Of course you do.

Here’s a sampling:

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

Weber State — Jalen Carpenter (jr., Bremerton) leads the Wildcats in scoring (11.8 points) and is second in rebounding (6.6 rpg). The 6-foot-1 Carpenter is coming off a 14-point, 6-rebound effort against No. 19 Oklahoma State on Thursday, a game Weber State (4-5) lost 55-49 in Ogden, Utah. Carpenter’s making 46% of her FGs, shooting 73% from the foul line and is a defensive presence inside where she has a team-high 16 blocked shots. Weber State is off until Jan. 1, when it opens Big Sky Conference play at home against Eastern Washington.

Western Oregon — Dana Goularte (sr., South Kitsap) went over the 1,000-point career mark in scoring on Dec. 18 during a win over Dixie State in Las Vegas. Goularte, a second-team Great Northwest Athletic Conference selection a year ago, scored a career-high 27 points and had 10 rebounds. It was her sixth double double of the season for the 6-footer. Goularte averages 15.9 points and 10.9 rebounds. Western Oregon is idle until Jan. 3, when it hosts St. Martin’s at Monmouth, Oregon.

St. Martin’s — Krista Stabler (jr., Central Kitsap) averages a team-high 10.1 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.0 assists for the Saints (3-7). The 5-6 guard had a career-high on Nov. 22 vs. Cal Baptist University.

Evergreen State — Brittany Gray (sr., Bainbridge/Skagit Valley) was the Cascade Collegiate Conference Player of the Week earlier this month. She had two double-doubles and ended up one rebound away from a third as the Geoducks (6-4) went 2-1 against NCAA Division III Northwest Conference opponents. In a four-day stretch, the 5-9 Gray scored 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in a 65-62 loss at Puget Sound; had 22 points and 11 rebounds in a 75-58 home victory over Pacific (Ore.) and added 14 points and nine rebounds in an 80-53 win at Pacific Lutheran. In the three games combined Gray shot 46 percent from the field, 80 percent from the foul line and averaged 17.7 points and 10.0 rebounds per game. Gray’s averaging 15.7 points/9.7 rebounds going into Friday’s game against Northwest Christian … Sadee Jones (sr., North Mason) averages 13.6 points/9.4 rebounds for the Geoducks. She had 21 points and 12 rebounds in the win over PLU. Jones, a 5-8 post player, was named CCC Player of the Week after scoring 18 points and pulling 11 rebounds in a win over New Hope Christian in late November.

Montana Tech — Guard Sophia Baetz (sr., Kingston/Skagit Valley) averages 5.7 points. She’s played in nine of 13 games for the Orediggers (7-6), an NAIA school from Butte, Montana.

Western MontanaBreyenne Mosey (sr., Crosspoint) scored a season-high eight points and had seven rebounds in a win over Vanguard University in Las Vegas, Nevada this week. The 6-foot-1 Mosey averages 2.6 points, 3.1 rebounds and 10.4 minutes per game. She’s started two games for the  Bulldogs (7-5) of Dillon, Montana.  … Kelsey Callaghan (sr., South Kitsap) is a reserve guard, averaging 11.4 minutes a game and more than an assist a minute.

Umpqua Community College — Ashli Payne (so., Olympic) and Sawyer Kluge (fr., Bremerton) continue to light it up for the Riverhawks (9-1), who are based in Roseburg, Oregon. Payne, a 5-11 guard, is fifth in the NWAC in scoring (19.0 ppg), eighth in rebounding (9.45), fourth in assists (4.4) and fourth in free-throw shooting (26-30, 86.7%). Payne’s been in double figures all 10 games for Umpqua with a high of 35 vs. Lane on Dec. 7. She scored a career-high 45 during her freshman season …. Kluge, a 5-10 guard,  averages 16.0 points, which is 14th in the NWAC. She had a high of 31 points vs. Big Bend on Dec. 5 and ranks sixth in the NWAC in free-throw shooting (29-34, 85.3%). … For NWAC updates and statistics, go to NWACSports.org.

MEN’S BASKETBALL

Seattle University — Jarell Flora (sr., Bremerton) is the Redhawks second-leading scorer (13.4 ppg) and third-leading rebounder (5.11 rpg). Flora’s shooting 40% from the field, and 87.7% from the foul line. Flora (130) and senior guard Isiah Umipig (143) have combined to take a little over 45 percent of Seattle U’s shots. Flora has taken as many 3-point attempts (65) as two-point shots. Umipig has hoisted 99 threes. When opponents are successful in shutting down the backcourt duo, SU usually struggles. The Redhawks (5-6) are coming off a 92-57 loss against Minnesota (Flora had six points, and six turnovers in just 15 minutes) and play Sunday against Sacramento State (KeyArena, 7 p.m.) and Dec. 30 against UC Davis (KeyArena, 7 p.m.).

Eastern Oregon — Caulin Bakalarski (fr., South Kitsap) is using this year as his redshirt season. The 6-3 wing was an All-Narrows League player a year ago. The Mountaineers from LaGrande, Oregon, are 9-3.

Peninsula College — Ryley Callaghan (fr., South Kitsap) scored 30 points in a win over Walla Walla on Friday. The 6-foot guard has been over 25 five times with a high of 33. He’s averaging 20.4 points for the Pirates (4-5), sixth-best in the Northwest Athletic Conference (NWAC). … Deonte Dixon (fr., Bremerton) averages 18.0 points for the Pirates. The Olympic League MVP a year ago scored 22 points and pulled eight rebounds in the win over Walla Walla. Dixon’s played in just five games for Peninsula, which visits Olympic College on Feb. 18. OC travels to Peninsula on Jan. 21. Peninsula played Grays Harbor on Saturday, Dec. 20. For compete NWAC statistics, go to NWACsports.org. UPDATE: Dixon scored a career-high 34 in a 74-72 win over Peninsula on Saturday, Dec. 20.

Schaaf helped women win the fight for equality in bobsledding

Bremerton’s Bree Schaaf might be retired from bobsledding, but the 2010 Olympian helped pave the way for women to drive a four-man bobsled.

This weekend in Calgary, Elana Meyers Taylor of the United States and Kallie Humphries of Canada will become the first women to pilot four-man bobsleds in a World Cup race, smashing through the gender barrier at nearly 85 miles per hour.

Schaaf was the first woman to drive a four-man sled down a World Cup track, doing it in 2011 at Lake Placid.

“Everyone was super excited, and they were all hugging and congratulating us,” she said in a story at vicesports.com. “It was very, very cool.

Here’s more from that story written by Lindsay Gibbs:

The next season, Schaaf had hip surgery, and as she struggled to make a comeback, she found extra meaning in the push to get a four-woman bobsled event into competition. In the 2012-2013 season, Schaaf kept pushing officials to allow her to drive a four-woman sled against the men in smaller FIBT events, but she was met with resistance.

“Here we are, it’s the millennium, and we’re still asking to do the same things as the men,” she said. Schaff was given a host of reasons why she couldn’t compete with the men, such as a lack of ice time and the threat of a crash. Of course, crashing is an inherent risk for all bobsledders—male or female, two-man or four-man—so citing safety as a reason not to hand over a four-man sled to experienced pilots is an arbitrary excuse at best. And the addition of one extra bobsled to the four-man rotation would have a negligible impact on the practice and competition schedule.

“The reasons were just mind-blowing,” she said. “I worked so hard to just maintain composure and smile and say, ‘Thanks for your help.’ Then I’d go right above their heads.” More determined than ever, Schaaf was not afraid to ruffle some feathers along the way.
“In a meeting at one point, someone was once again giving me the reasons why this would be bad for women bobsledders, and I was like, ‘Yeah, just like voting was bad for us.'”

Here’s another excerpt:

When Schaaf didn’t make the U.S. team for Sochi, she decided to retire from the sport and begin working as a broadcaster. She said that when the FIBT announced that women could pilot four-man sleds this fall, it was a “bittersweet” moment for her.

“I’ll admit I cried for about three minutes,” she said. “Then I pictured myself in the sled, hitting my head around, and I realized, I slid for 12 years, my time’s done,” she said. “This is on these two girls. And admittedly, I’m not nearly as strong or as fast as Elana or Kallie.”

“They’re the perfect two people to bring this to the world.”

Hammel thrilled to be back in the Windy City; Dunn, Haas, Locker & more

In case you missed Jason Hammel’s press conference on Friday, the 2000 South Kitsap graduate is excited to be back with the Chicago Cubs.

The right-hander, who signed a two-year, $20 million deal, called his three months with the Cubs the best three months of his career.

Hammel will be reunited with Joe Maddon, his manager at Tampa, and Chris Bosio, the former Mariner who is the Cubs’ pitching coach.

Hammel was 4-1 with a 2.35 ERA at Wrigley Field last season before being traded to Oakland. Jon Lester, who was with Hammel in Oakland, will be a teammate in Chicago as well. Jake Arrieta had 10 wins and a 2.53 ERA.

“I can’t predict the future, but it’s going to be a very dominant rotation,” Hammel, 32, said. “And you win championships with pitching. Obviously, the offense helps. But all the teams that go (to the postseason), they all have dominant, consistent pitching.”

Also

* Congratulations are in order for Lauren Haas, Olympic High grad who will be inducted into the Southern Illinois Hall of Fame in 2015. Haas, an infielder, was a four-year standout in fastpitch for the Salukis, and  the Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year in 2008.

* Speaking of Hall of Fames, the 2015 Kitsap Sports Hall of Fame banquet will be held Jan. 24 at Kiana Lodge. Check out this link for a list of inductees. Tickets are $30 in advance; $35 at the door.

* North Kitsap grad Kasey Dunn joined the Oklahoma State coaching staff as receivers coach in February of 2011. Dunn and the Cowboys preparation for the Washington Huskies this week. OSU (6-6) and the UW (8-5) will play Jan. 2 in the Cactus Bowl in Tempe, Ariz. I talked to Dunn over the weekend. The well-traveled Dunn — he’s coached at nine colleges and had a two-year stint as running backs coach with the Seahawks — has been at OSU for four years, his second-longest tour of duty since getting into the business. He was at  Washington State for five years. The Huskies contacted him about a possible position when Rick Neuheisel took over from Keith Gilbertston, but the timing wasn’t right. Dunn  was happy at WSU, where Mike Price was the head coach.

* I always thought Jake Locker would have been an All-Pro safety if he’d played on the defensive side of the ball. He turned out to be a really good quarterback, but we’ll never know how good because of all the injuries he’s suffered. Locker dislocated his shoulder for the third time on Sunday, and his career with the Tennessee Titans is probably over.

* Jason Flora, senior form Bremerton, averages 13.0 points and 5.4 rebounds for the Seattle Redhawks (4-5), who play Northwest College on campus at Connolly Center Monday night. SU’s other home games are played at KeyArena.

* I won’t be surprised if Eastern Washington (8-2) wins the Big Sky Conference this year. I’m talking basketball, not football. The Eagles let one get away at No. 17 Washington on Sunday. They led the Huskies by 10 with 11:22 left but couldn’t hold on, losing 81-77. EWU’s not real deep, but they’ve got enough weapons to give anyone a tough time. Sophomore guard Travis Harvey (20.5 ppg) and Australian junior forward Jenky Vois (20.3 ppg) are for real. Harvey led the Big Sky in scoring a year ago. EWU beat Indiana in Bloomington earlier in the season. If the Eagles beat No. 19 California (9-1) in Berkeley on Dec. 19, they just might crack the top-25 polls.

* I still can’t get Robert Turbin’s 8-yard run out of my head. You know the one. It was 2nd-and-9 from the 12 and Turbo turned Beast Mode, running over the 49ers’ Antoine Bethea. Marshawn Lynch scored the go-ahead touchdown on the next play from the 4, and the Seahawks were in control.