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Former Kitsap Sun sports editor Chuck Stark shares insight, laughter, news, views and analysis of Kitsap sports and beyond.
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Richard Sherman, Richard Sherman, Richard Sherman …

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

Everybody’s got an opinion about Richard Sherman, who has become the face, ah, make that the voice, of the Seattle Seahawks. The Internet is full of Sherman stories. Before we get to some of them, here’s my quick thought on what transpired at the end of Sunday’s game at CenturyLink:

It’s an emotional game, and Sherman clearly got caught up in the excitement and energy of making a game-saving play in the biggest game of his life, but he’s apologized for taking the attention away from his teammates. I didn’t mind the post-game rant, I rather enjoyed it and I’m a card-carrying AARP-member. I didn’t like the choke sign. That was bush-league. Can he tone it down? Sure, but this is a supremely confident athlete. He’s a smack-talker, but he’s not a thug. He wears his bravado on his sleeve like Muhammad Ali. He’s the mouth that roars, and it’ll be interesting to see how he handles the bright lights of Super Bowl media week in New York. You’re not going to get a lot of boring, cliche-like answers from him, but I don’t think he’ll give Peyton Manning and the Broncos any bulletin board material either. Richard Sherman’s too smart for that, and I think he’ll learn from how he reacted following the Seahawks’ NFC Championship game.

The most disturbing part of the Richard Sherman saga? Reading some of the ignorant and racially-implied online comments directed toward Sherman on the Internet. That tells me more about their character than his.

He talks about that and more in this revealing interview with Rachel Nichols of CNN.com.

Love him or hate him, Peter King of mmqbSI.com says everybody is fascinated about the Seahawks’ cornerback.

“I think this story has really caught on because everyone loves a villain,’’ said Dr. Annemarie Farrell, a professor of sports management and media at Ithaca College. She is an expert in fan behavior. “There’s not a ton of villains on either of these teams that people can talk about. We can’t all talk about Peyton Manning every day all the time. That’s boring. Sherman, on the other hand, put himself out there, and America really latched on. That’s why it became a bigger story than the game.

“There’s a lot of different storylines with Richard and reasons for why this blew up, but I think a really important one here is race. This seethes into this narrative of race in America and race logic. Think about who Richard Sherman is. He’s a kid from Compton who graduated second in his class and went to Stanford to earn a degree in Communications. He’s at a critical point in his football career, makes a huge play, then a reporter sticks a mike in his face. What does he do? He not only speaks, he shouts. And now you have an angry, almost violent black man, in a very passionate moment, yelling on national television.’’

Stanford coach David Shaw was the defensive coordinator when Sherman played for the Cardinal. Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News asked him about Sherman.

“Bill Walsh said you want guys with high character who are great players and great people,” Shaw said.  “But every once in a while, you have to line up and defend Jerry Rice. And the guy who does that has to be on the edge. That’s where Richard is.”

Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports writes:

There is nothing wrong with not liking Sherman. As sure as he is free to act as he chooses, fans are free to judge him on that and react accordingly. That’s part of the deal. The only mistake is to assume that everyone in the NFL should act the same way – or more specifically act like you think you would act if it were you who was playing the game.

Jamie Fritz, who manages Sherman’s marketing deals, told ESPN.com: “We live in a world where so many are politically correct, so many are all about media training. There’s one thing that you can count on from Richard, and that is that he’s always going to speak his mind.”

Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times defends Sherman. He writes:

“… he is the example of everything that is wrong with some modern professional football fans. A guy fights for three hours and winds up throwing the punch of his life in the most important professional moment of his life, and America expects him to immediately start blowing kisses?”

Steve Rosenbloom of the Chicago Tribune is among those who finds Sherman refreshing:

“You want classy? Go to the opera. Sherman sounded like football. Good for him. Good for our entertainment.

“Admit it, you loved it, too. Stop lying to yourselves. It’s a bad habit, it’s patently phony, and people are already pointing at you and talking about you.

“Sherman was himself. He was a thing, and it was hysterical. He was funny, colorful, entertaining. This is not a G-8 meeting, people. It’s entertainment.

“It’s entertainment that includes a guy suffering a torn ACL for our pleasure.

“It’s entertainment that includes players welcoming the early stages of brain damage for our pleasure.

“Wise up, folks. When you’re asking people to bring on early dementia and early death, yeah, there’s a chance they’ll be geeked up.

“And when a player makes the key play in a conference championship game and has a live mic stuck in front of him, then yeah, there’s a chance he’ll still be geeked up.”

Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News writes that Sherman has made it all about himself.

“Richard Sherman may make you root against him, against his team, root even harder for Peyton Manning to come win the big game in Eli’s house. But Sherman’s face was as much the face of his sport as Peyton’s was on championship Sunday. His voice, like it or not, drowned out everything else, even all that noise in Seattle.

“He hits town in a week. It is more likely Richard Sherman runs out of saliva before he runs out of material. Peyton may light him up in the game, it’s happened to loudmouth defensive backs in Super Bowls before. Until then, Sherman will think all the bright lights of the big city are about him.”

ALSO: According to vegasinsider.com, the favorite is just 1-5 in the last six Super Bowls and 3-9 in the last 12 against the spread. Several Vegas bookies had the Seahawks as early favorites, but the line moved in Denver’s favor and the Broncos are now 2-point favorites. That line, of course, could move as we get closer to the game.


Pemberton celebration of life service set

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

A celebration of life for former West High, Olympic College and Central Washington athlete Dave Pemberton will be held on Sunday, Jan. 12, from noon to 2 p.m. at Silverdale Community Center (9729 Silverdale Way).

Pemberton, 63, died of cancer last month at his home in Port Townsend.

In case you missed it, here’s a column I wrote about Pemberton following his death.

I can’t tell you how many people I bumped into over the holidays who had Pembo stories to share. John Sitton, who played basketball with Pem at West High, and I talked about him the other day at the YMCA. Sitton remembers Pemberton’s first day at West High. The transfer from California showed up wearing loafers and no socks. “Everybody in school was talking about this guy from California,” Sitton said.

And they’ll continue to talk about him for a long, long time.


Kitna’s gift; Edgar for HOF? Tanaka a good fit for Mariners? Knights ranked No. 9

Thursday, December 26th, 2013

Coolest story of the week: Lincoln High football coach and match teacher Jon Kitna, 41, signing with the Dallas Cowboys to be a backup quarterback. Wait, it gets better. It’s been reported that the Tacoma native is donating the $53,000 he earns this week to Lincoln High, his old school. His generosity probably doesn’t surprise those who know him. Kitna’s goal when he accepted the football job at Lincoln was to build “R.E.A.L. Men” who (R)eject passivity, (E)mpathize with others, (A)ccept responsibility and (L)ead courageously.

The case for and against Edgar Martinez when it comes to deciding if he’s a Hall of Famer or not. Since the DH has been part of the game for 30 years, it seems silly to me for voters to punish a player because he was a DH. And you can make a pretty good argument that Edgar’s the best DH in the history of the sport. What do you think?

Scott Weber of Looking Landing has some good thoughts on Masahiro Tanaka and why the Mariners would be better off spending big bucks to land the Japanese pitcher than on an outfielder like Nelson Cruz. You have to admit, a starting rotation of Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma, Tanaka, Taijuan Walker and Erasmo Ramirez or James Paxton looks pretty good on paper.

And Fangraphs.com has come up with some projections for the 2014 Seattle Mariners.

Recommended reading: Michael Bramberger of Sports Illustrated wrote a  pretty thought-provoking column about Tiger Woods in November. It all revovled around former Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee writing a piece where he questioned Tiger for being “a little cavalier with the rules.”

Tickets for the Kitsap Sports Hall of Fame banquet on Jan. 25 are on sale. They cost $30, not $35 as I wrote in a previous post. Sorry about that.

Bremerton High has cracked the Seattle Times’ Class 2A boys basketball top-10 rankings. The Knights (6-0) are No. 9 this week. I watched the Knights beat Port Angeles before Christmas (look for my story on senior Deonti Dixon on Friday) and this could be a special season if they keep improving. Fundamentally, they’ve got a ways to go on defense, but their quickness makes up for a lot of that.  Keep your eye on these guys. The Associated Press state rankings should be out after the first of the year.

Steve Sarkisian talks about why he left Washington and about winning a national championship at USC.

Don’t know how I missed this one, but I’ve got to share it. You’re a mean one, Marshawn Lynch. This is Dave Ross’ musical tribute to the Seahawks’ running back.

Are you having a tough time getting excited about the Washington Huskies and the Fight Hunger Bowl? Me too.  With the coaching change and the Tosh Lupoi situation and the UW losing out on prize recruit Budda Baker, the bowl game itself seems pretty meaningless. It’ll be interesting to see how Marques Tuiasosopo does as an interim head coach — you can’t help but pull for that guy — and the possibility of a nine-win season, I guess, is a big deal. But the opponent, BYU, doesn’t do it for me. The UW and Cougars, now an independent,  have never met in a bowl game, but they’ve played eight times, six since 1996 (the series is tied 4-4) with BYU winning the last three, including a 23-17 victory the last time the met in 2010.

 


Four finalists for Central Washington football job

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

The four finalists for the Central Washington football coaching job includes Skyline High coach Matt Taylor, former Husky assistant and UW/Nevada head coach Chris Tormey, former CWU player and current Eastern Washington associate head coach John Graham and Ian Shoemaker, a top assistant from St. Cloud State in Minnesota. Roger Underwood, a former Kitsap Sun staffer, wrote this story.


Happy Thanksgiving, even to the whiners

Thursday, November 28th, 2013

Hope everyone has something to be thankful for today. Enjoy your family and friends.

And to those of you whining about companies making people work on Thanksgiving Day, get over it.

I don’t hear any of our military guys and gals complaining.

I worked more Thanksgiving Days than not when I was in the workforce.

C’mon, most of the people working today are making time-and-a-half. Most of them are probably happy they have a job.

OK, had to get that off my chest.

Happy Thanksgiving.


Breakout game for ex-Bremerton star Jarell Flora

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

Ex-Bremerton star Jarell “Juice” Flora scored 25 points, 21 of them in the second half to lead Seattle University to a 75-71 come-from-behind win over Cal State Fullerton in the Elgin Baylor Classic at KeyArena.

Juice bombed in five 3-pointers in the second as the Redhawks (1-1) rallied from 18 points back. His three with 2:39 left tied the game at 69. He was 8-of-17 from the field, including 5-of-9 from beyond the three-point line.

Flora’s performance doesn’t surprise me. He’s super athletic, a gifted shooter and he plays bigger than his 6-3 size. I was bit puzzled why coach Cameron Dollar didn’t use him more last season. The redshirt junior has started both games this season, but that’s because highly-touted Cal transfer Emerson Murray has been out with a stress fracture in his right foot.

It’s gonna be hard to keep Flora off the floor if he keeps making shots.

His previous career high was 18. He got that against Texas-Arlington last year. He averaged 5.9 points, playing just under 17 minutes a game last season. He scored seven points against the Huskies in a loss on Sunday.

Side note: Give former Bremerton coach Casey Lindberg credit for Flora getting his scholarship to Seattle U. Dollar was a Husky assistant when Marvin Williams was playing at Bremerton and Lindberg developed a relationship with Dollar, who was recruiting Williams. Anyway, Flora was relatively unknown until his senior year, when he earned Olympic League MVP and all-state honors while leading Bremerton to the state tournament.

Lindberg called Dollar, who checked Flora out at a district-tournament game. Flora put on a show and Dollar called the following week with a scholarship offer.

 

 

 


2013 Kitsap Sports Hall of Fame class a diverse bunch

Saturday, October 5th, 2013

This is a story about the Kitsap Sports Hall of Fame’s 2013 Hall of Fame inductees. You’ll be reading more about these folks as the event draws closer. And in the interests of full disclosure, I am on the Kitsap Athletic Roundtable’s Hall of Fame selection committed. My opinions and suggestions have been sought in the past, but this is the first year I’ve actually had a vote in the process. If you would like to nominate someone for consideration, email me at chuckstark00@gmail.com and I’ll make sure that we discuss it at a future meeting.

In the meantime, here’s the Class of 2013 (which won’t be honored until 2014):

 The Kitsap Sports Hall of Fame’s latest class includes the winningest unlimited hydroplane driver in the history of the sport, the first athlete from Kitsap County to compete in the Olympics, an outdoorsman who is a noted mountain climber, author and artist, the voice of the Kitsap Stampede and a highly-successful men’s soccer team that paved the way for so many others to enjoy the sport in our area.

The Kitsap Athletic Roundtable’s induction banquet will take place on Jan. 25, 2014, at Kiana Lodge in Poulsbo. The event will start at 11 a.m. Ticket information will be released at a later date.

This will be the 26th Hall of Fame ceremony, but only the ninth year that it has been staged in its present form. Before the Kitsap Oldtimers had been inducting deserving baseball and softball players, coaches, sponsors and umpires. When the Oldtimers disbanded and merged with the KAR, the Hall of fame was expanded to include all sports.

This year’s class is among the most diverse in history.

The hydroplane driver is Dave Villwock, the South Kitsap grad who announced his retirement in May after a legendary career that included 67 victories, 10 of them Gold Cup wins.

Ed Eliason grew up in Poulsbo and became one of the nation’s top archers. He won seven national titles and placed fifth at the Munich Olympics in 1972.

Burley’s Dee Molenaar, 95, is the author of The Challenge of Rainier, considered the definite work on the climbing history of Mount Rainier, where he worked as a park ranger and mountain guide. He climbed Rainier over 50 times and was involved in several other mountaineering expeditions. He was inducted into the American Alpine Club’s Hall of Mountaineering Excellence in 2012.

Randy Corley, who moved to Silverdale from North Platte, Neb., 12 years ago, has been voted the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s Announcer of the year 11 times and he has been a fixture at the Kitsap Stampede for over 30 years.

The Bremerton Chuggers — a men’s soccer team — formed in 1974 and played at a very high level until 2000. They made a major impact on the local soccer scene, and Lance McCoy, one of the founding players and primary coach over those years, said the Chuggers are thrilled to be going into Kitsap’s Hall of Fame.

“We’re the first soccer group to ever go in,” McCoy said. “It’s a sport we all cherish and love, and you can’t know what an honor it is to be inducted into this group of incredible athletes. For us, it’s kind of a culmination of 27 years of work.

“… There wasn’t a lot of soccer in this area when we started and to see where it is now, it’s rewarding. So many of our players have given back and are now in the coaching ranks.”

In addition to the Chuggers, two other teams will be inducted: the 1951 Bremerton High football team, which was unbeaten and ranked No. 1 in the state before losing 14-13 to Ballard in the annual Thanksgiving Day game in Seattle and the 1984 Suquamish slowpitch team that won a national championship.

Other athletes and coaches voted in include:

Mark Rill: Former South Kitsap star played on Ed Fisher’s first state playoff team in 1980 and helped the Wolves reach the semifinals in his senior year in 1981. He went on to have a standout career at Pacific Lutheran as an offensive tackle (brother David, already in the Kitsap HOF, was a linebacker at Washington).

Gary Rouse: The Bremerton drag racer made a name for himself in the National Hod Rod Association as one of the top competitors in super stock class, competing in four decades. He was a seven-time world record holder and two-time NHRA Division 6 champion who won the 1987 California Nationals.

Allison Eoff: One of the top competitive female bowlers in Kitsap County history, she’s also been a good ambassador for the sport and handled various administrative roles over the years.

Kerry Keefe: The former Bainbridge basketball star — she averaged 18.6 points her senior year and is the career leader in rebounds for the Spartans — started two  years at Georgetown University.

Chris Thorsen: The Central Kitsap grad was one of the best athletes to come out of the area in the mid-1960s, starring in football, basketball and track and field, where he ran a sub-two-minute half-mile.Thorsen earned All-Evergreen Conference honors as a  wide receiver at Central Washington, where he was also recruited to play basketball. He was also part of Olympic High’s football coaching staff that helped the Trojans to a 35-1 record and four league titles from 1983-86.

Ernie Hahn: Longtime junior high coach — baseball, football and wrestling — in Port Orchard impacted a lot of lives during his career. He also worked as an assistant football coach at South Kitsap when Ed Fisher was the head man.

Mike Welch: Bainbridge girls’ basketball coach was guy who started the winning tradition for the Spartans. In his first three seasons, Bainbridge placed second, sixth and third at the state tournament.

John Ross: Smart, quick and aggressive, “Rocket” Ross was the leading rusher at West Bremerton High, Olympic College, where he earned honorable mention All-American honors, and at Central Washington, where he rushed for 1,119 yards in two seasons.

Jerome Walker: A state sprint champion in the 100 and 200, the 1978 Bremerton High grad went on to a successful career at one of the elite track and field programs in the country — the University of Oregon. His all-area record in the 200 (21.6 second hand-timed which converts to 21.9) lasted for 35 years.

Bonnie Burmaster: The respected former Olympic Aquatic Club coached worked with youth swimmers in the area for 27 years before retiring in 2009. Among her students: Olympians Tara and Dana Kirk, and Nathan Adrian.

Frankie Lee: One of the top roller hockey players and coaches in U.S. history, Lee was on the U.S. National team from 1984-99, and still coaches the USA Ladies National team that usually includes a handful of players from his Bremerton Hurricanes team.

The Rex Brown Distinguished Service Award will be awarded to the Carlson family, which has owned and operated Minder Meats for 70 years and been huge contributors to the community. The KAR, Special Olympics and Kitsap Stampede are among the organizations they’ve supported for years. Jim Carlson Sr. was among the founding members of the roundtable and is past president. He was an all-state lineman and was a sophomore on the ’51 Bremerton High football team. He played basketball for legendary Hall of Fame coaches Ken Wills (Bremerton) and Phil Pesco (Olympic College). His wife, Maryln (Minder) Carlson was among the first females to join the KAR and remains one of the biggest sports boosters around. Siblings are Jim Carlson, Jr., a past president of the roundtable, Kris (Carlson) Tweten and Steve Carlson.

The Dick Todd Award goes to a sports official and this year’s honoree is Jim Lamont, who got into officiating basketball because of Todd.

 

 


East High’s magical 1965 football season

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

Terry Mosher wrote a story in the sportspaper.org about the 1965 East High football team, the first one in school history to beat rival West High.

The Knights, coached by Dave Enslow, ended the season ranked No. 4 in the state.

If you’re a Bremerton guy, it’s an interesting look back at one of those teams that nobody ever talks about.


‘Cool’ Seahawks getting some national love; Willie B rips Dodgers

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

Coolest teams in the NFL? The Seahawks, according to this Grantland.com story by Robert Mays, who took in the Hawks-Niners game on Sunday.

Mays writes:

Ever since the Patriots won their first Super Bowl in 2001, even the NFL’s best have never been particularly cool. When New England rejected the individual pregame introductions before that win, it rejected a decade of personality-driven identity in the NFL. The league’s premier franchises were led by a pair of quarterback robots and a couple of coaches who seemed locked in a competition for who could be most benign. In football, every champion was the San Antonio Spurs.

Consciously or not, the Seahawks have spent much of the past three seasons deviating from that model. Everything about the team — from their coach, to their quarterback, to where they play, to what they wear — somehow seems different. In a league where teams often seem interchangeable, the Seahawks have made people take notice. And in doing so, they’ve become the coolest team in the NFL.

 

Art Thiel of Sportspressnw.com writes that Seattle’s fans are doing their part to see that their town won’t be considered the most miserable sports city in America, as ranked by Forbes Magazine earlier in the year. His column was sparked by a letter to the editor from San Francisco fans who think the NFL should do something about the Seahawks’ home-field advantage. Thiel ended his column with these thoughts:

“Nothing has been won, of course, except a Guinness decibel award and some hearts. But it cannot be said that lack of support is any factor in a subsequent failure to reward constituencies with some long-overdue hardware. No wonder Chris Hansen is willing to roll with a billion dollars — and break a few laws — to make the NBA and NHL happen here.

“Good luck, San Franciscans, with the campaign for golf-gallery applause at football games. Keep us informed by letter, email and text, but please don’t call. We can’t hear you.”

Port Orchard’s Willie Bloomquist didn’t like the way the Dodgers celebrated after clinching the NL West title with a victory over the Diamondbacks at Chase Field in Phoenix. The Dodgers took over the Diamondbacks swimming pool that sits outside of the right-centerfield fence.

“… There’s not much we can do about it now,” Bloomquist said. “They’ve clinched the division this year, but if that’s how they’re going to act and be classless, that’s their gig, that’s their clubhouse. I just think it’s disrespectful and classless.”

Bloomquist, by the way, is hitting .336 in 40 games for the Diamondbacks.

Seattle reliever Charlie Furbush got the loss in relief and Detroit starter Doug Fister, who was traded to the Tigers for Furbush and a three other players (outfielder Casper Wells, closer Doug Ruffin and third baseman Francisco Martinez) who never panned out, got his 13th win of the season. Boy, that was a lousy trade. Fister was 8-1 for the Tigers with a 1.79 ERA in 2011, was 10-10 with a 3.45 ERA while battling some injuries and is 13-9 with a 3.71 ERA. The M’s also gave up reliever David Pauley in that trade. Pauley didn’t work for Detroit. Wells, Ruffin and Martinez (the M’s traded him back to Detroit) never worked out for the Mariners.

Furbush struggled as a starter, but has been pretty good out of the bullpen the last two years. He appeared in 48 games with a 2.72 ERA a year ago, and he’s worked in 67 games this year and has a 3.48 ERA. The trade never made sense when it was made because Fister, despite a 3-13 record at the time, was clearly a quality starter and he didn’t command a lot of money (he’s making $4 million this year after being eligible for salary arbitration). He won’t be eligible for free agency until 2015. It made sense to hang on to Fister at least two more years, or until prospects like Taijuan Walker and James Paxton were ready to make the leap to the majors.

 


Semancik golf tournament: Chucks and a whole lot of fun

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

The weather is supposed to be glorious.

And it’s not too late to enter the 11th annual Semancik Bremerton Alumni Golf Tournament, which will be held Saturday, Sept. 14 at Rolling Hills Golf Course.

It’s a fun day. You can buy mulligans AND Chucks (it’s like a mulligan, but you throw the golf ball and there’s a lot of strategy involved while considering the best time to use your Chuck). There’s class competitions between West, East and Bremerton grads. But it’s not limited to Bremerton grads by any means.

It’s a good cause. No, it’s a great cause. Proceeds go to the Semancik Foundation, which was founded in memory of the late Hall of Fame football coach Chuck Semancik. The foundation has awarded 51 scholarships worth more than $70,000 since 2000.

Check-in is 7 a.m. with the four-man scramble to start at 8 a.m. with a shotgun start.

Cost is $300 per team, $75 per person. It includes a cart and lunch at the Fifth Quarter awards banquet, where items will be raffled off.

You’ll be off the course in plenty of time to watch the Cougars vs. Southern Utah (3 p.m., Pac-12 Network) or Huskies vs. Illinois (3 p.m., Big Ten Network/check you cable, dish listings or contact your favorite sports bar to see if they will have the game on).

Chuck Semancik, by the way, was a Cougar, but he was also a big Husky fan. During my senior year, I remember traveling to UW games with Chuck on Saturday mornings. We’d ride in his Buick Wildcat (it was the blue-and-gold West High Wildcats and black-and-white East High Knights before the schools merged to become the blue-and-gold Bremerton Knights). I remember the UW assistant coaches greeting Semancik and you could tell how much respect they had for the burly man from across the water. Semancik, naturally, never hesitated to give them his opinions on what the Huskies should or should not be doing.

Chuck taught me the “bowling ball” pass during his P.E. class. You’d take the basketball and roll it full-c0urt to someone at the other end. I never had the pleasure of seeing Chuck out on the golf course, but I’ve been told he used to hit that little while ball around once in a while. That, my friends, would have been a treat.

For more information on the golf tournament, go to Semancik.org or email semancikfoundation@gmail.com


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