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April 24, 2009

The Pres' Palouse Park Bench - H Is For Hope



It's a feeling Cougar fans aren't very used to feeling. I'm not talking about sorrow or anger; those emotions should be all to familiar to all of you. Rather, I'm speaking of something that comes along every so often at Washington State, a feeling Cougar fans should value more than anything in the world.

The feeling of hope. Hope is defined as the following: the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best - and as I sit and watch spring football and learn more and more about the new hire in the men's basketball department, this strange and somewhat unknown feeling of hope keeps flooding through me.

Still not quite smelling what I am cooking in Pullman? Why don't you let me in on a little bit of my recipe? Besides, it's the weekend and you could use something brand new to cook up at your weekend barbecue to go along with your "World's Best Dad" apron.


On the gridiron, it's admittedly tough to not look up from a two-win season. I mean, the theory is, it really can't get any worse. That's the theory anyway. I mean, you could always go winless but whose football program is in that pathetic of a state? Oh, that's right.

Coming into spring practice though, it's difficult not to be encouraged. The injuries are fewer and further between (the exception being with the linebackers, they are the walking wounded right now) and those who are hurt should be back in time for the fall practices. Marshall Lobbestael's knee should be fully healed and ready to go, Kenny Alfred will be good and ready and all other minor injuries of any kind should be fully healed.

But beyond just the physical problems the team is getting through and fixing, it seems the mental aspect is being fixed as well. A touchdown for the scout team offense in practice brings the rush of the entire offense on the field. An interception brings the hollering of the entire defense as well as some well-timed smack talk from the secondary. Perhaps more important than any of that though is the sighting of a rare phenomenon that has been seen by nary a few individuals: a smile on the face of head coach Paul Wulff. After practice, the second-year head man can, on some days, be seen with a smile a mile wide.

In the fall, things only get better with the edition of many talented freshman including the incredible athlete in Gino Simone from Sammamish, Washington and a national weightlifting champion in Darren Markle from Eagle, Idaho. These new editions could go a long way to give this team the boost they need to win more than just a couple of games this coming season. Plus the fact, the game against Southern Methodist should be a win as they had even less wins than the Cougars last year.

Which brings us to the hardwood. Tony Bennett left completely unexpected a few weeks back. Not a sole saw the move coming and there was nary a person in all of Cougarland would had a bright outlook on things for the men's basketball team.

The Cougars then went on to hire the then-head coach at Portland State Ken Bone. Bone said much about how coaching the Pac-10 was a dream for him and a job at Washington State would be where he would like to finish his career, a guarantee no one ever got from Tony Bennett.

The woe-is-me Cougar fans everywhere then had to wonder about the fate of Cougar freshman Klay Thompson and DeAngelo Casto and incoming recruit Xavier Thames. To assuage those fears, Bone went to work quickly. He made sure Thompson (with a little help from Klay's father) and DeAngelo would remain in Pullman and flew down to Sacramento to personally met with Thames and his family after they had publicly asked the school for a release. And by retaining assistant coach Ben Johnson, it helped convince Thames to reaffirm his commitment to Washington State. And with all the young talent arriving amongst the rolling hills of the Palouse, the future of this team until the guidance of Bone looks to have turned from dim to as bright as ever.

See everyone, its not all doom and gloom. I realize the horizon is far away, but that little glimmer you see is one that represents hope.

The feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best. I don't know if I could agree more with that statement.


Who Cares Pick of the Week: Rangers over the Capitals in the NHL Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. It's been a while since anyone cared about hockey.


Dunderhead of the Week: WSU freshman of all kind. LOOK BEFORE YOU CROSS THE STREET! Don't just walk into the street without looking. Even if you are at a crosswalk. One of these times, I will hit you and the only people who will feel sympathy is your fellow freshman. Even the cops will be on my side.




+++++++sponsored by Clark's Restaurant+++++++++

Attention COUGAR fans and well-wishers! Spring is here! How can you afford to go one day further without some tasty morsels from Clark's Restaurant in Grays Harbor - home of the Best Hamburger in Twin Harbors for nine consecutive years? Come in for the burger, fresh homemade fries and milkshakes concocted from homemade ice cream. Go ahead, we dare you to try and pass up more than 12 varieties of hamburgers to choose from, full dinners, lunch and full breakfast served daily. Clark's Restaurant 360.538.1487. Seven miles south of Aberdeen, Washington on Highway 101. Proud supporter of CougZone. Mention this ad for a free small hot chocolate.


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