There aren’t very many things in this world that I’m sure of. I know if I’m in the sun for more than 20 minutes I’ll be redder than Clifford the Big Red Dog. I know that every year the Seattle Mariners are going to have a “rebuilding year.” I know that traffic in Seattle sucks ALL THE TIME. (Seriously, there’s no good time to drive through Seattle. Even at 4 a.m. on a Wednesday, there’s traffic.)
But most importantly, I know that I have the best job in the world.
I get paid to watch sports. Feel free to argue with me if you want to. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. If you think you’ve got it better, I’m all ears.
But you’re wrong.
I got to spend my Saturday night watching what I called an “instant classic,” an incredibly competitive and ridiculously fun to watch 3A district basketball game between Stanwood and Glacier Peak (you can read my story here: http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20130209/SPORTS01/702099863#Spartans-rally). The last five minutes of that game were my most exciting minutes of 2013 (minus Seahawks games).
It was one of those games where you just know you’re watching something special. Stanwood defeated Glacier Peak 62-58 (that score is important, remember that) to clinch a spot in the 3A District 1 championship against Mountlake Terrace – which defeated Oak Harbor 64-32 in the other, much less close semifinal game – and a spot in the regional round of the state tournament.
“What a game,” said Stanwood head coach Zach Ward. “I’m just so happy for the kids. That’s a game they’re going to remember forever.”
So will those people who were in attendance. The last quarter of the game was back and forth in every sense. Josh Thayer would drop a deep 3-pointer for Stanwood, and the Grizzlies’ Dreu Vader would hit a couple free throws on the other end. The Spartans’ Ian Zipp drove to the lane and was fouled on an acrobatic layup, and Trey Chambers would nail a 3-pointer for Glacier Peak.
As an unbiased reporter, it didn’t matter to me who won (although Stanwood’s victory obviously helped my #theNorthisrising theory). I just wanted to see a good game. Well, mission accomplished.
I’ve had some blowout basketball games this year (much like with football in the fall). I didn’t know there was a running clock in basketball until … my first game of the year, when I saw Glacier Peak pretty much manhandle Snohomish 64-18 on Nov. 27.
But Saturday night’s game made up for all of that. Zipp’s 16 points and a pair of free throws by Drew Sears helped seal the Spartans’ victory, which leads me to the dark side of high school basketball.
As awesome as my job is, it isn’t perfect. I’m convinced there’s no absolutely perfect job. Even my dream job, President of the United States of America, has some drawbacks.
My least favorite part of my current job is talking to a losing coach after a game like this. They’re always gracious and professional, but it’s incredibly difficult to talk to someone who just lost a game that, honestly, both teams deserved to win.
Glacier Peak head coach Brian Hunter, who is a great guy and always helpful to us at The Herald, was very kind to talk to me even though he was obviously bummed that Stanwood had just won.
“I just think they played really well,” Hunter told me. “I’m definitely proud of my kids. I’m not disappointed in them at all.”
And he shouldn’t be. Both teams played a GREAT game. It truly was a pleasure to watch. The Grizzlies are my obvious pick as the No. 3 team out of the district tournament to regionals (my bracket actually predicted that long before it happened, just saying) and I think both of these teams will be heavily featured in future Everett Heralds (as will Mountlake Terrace which looks LEGIT).
This game, as special as it was, also brought with it a personal highlight of this prep season for me. Before both semifinal games, I went on the pregame show at mltnews.com, which broadcasts every Mountlake Terrace basketball game and does a great job. If you haven’t already, make sure you check out one of their broadcasts.
They’re very nice (and knowledgeable) and have invited me to a couple pregame shows to give predictions. The first time I did it I said that Stanwood would defeat Mountlake Terrace in the teams’ meeting on Jan. 11. I said the final score would be 58-52.
Well, I was half right. The Hawks beat Stanwood by a score of 58-52.
Saturday night I made a prediction for the Mountlake Terrace-Oak Harbor game (which was wrong, but at least I picked the right team) and then they asked me to look ahead to the Grizzlies-Spartans showdown. I thought about it for a few seconds and then threw something out there.
That’s right! I nailed it! If you don’t believe me ask Steve Willits (@stevewillits on Twitter), one of the announcers for the broadcast, and he’ll confirm it. There’s actually video evidence of this happening!
Even though I predicted the score with 100 percent accuracy (which, by the way, will never happen again) there’s no way I could have guessed how exciting that Stanwood-Glacier Peak game was going to be. It was truly just an honor to be there and a pleasure to write about. Both teams played fantastic basketball and I wish everybody could have won.
I guess the only person who wins every game is me.