Archive for the ‘Barkley’ Category

A Tough Goodbye and Some Post-ASU Thoughts

November 16, 2008

I know the season is winding down (thankfully), and we’re officially in Apple Cup week. Sorry for the hoops-only post yesterday, but circumstances prevented much of a gameday thread. Besides, we lost 31-0 and the game wasn’t on TV. What do you want??

We’ll get to that in a moment. But I wanted to start off today by writing a few thoughts about our beloved golden retriever, Barkley.

Sadly, we had to say good-bye to the best dog ever yesterday, as he finally lost his battle with lymphoma. He was initially diagnosed in the spring, and we decided to fight for him by going the chemotherapy route. It was expensive and emotionally draining, but to us, it was worth it. He was, in our mind, just too young to let go. But the vet was very up front with us from day one, saying this is a terminal diagnosis. While we could kick it back into remission, it will return. And when it comes back, that will be it. We had, at BEST estimates, one year left with him, and that was as optimistic as it gets. Barkley was closing in on his 9th birthday, and while 8 years and 9 months might seem like a good amount of time for a dog, well, to us he was taken far, far too early.

Initially the chemo did wonders, as he bounced back quickly to at least somewhat like he used to be. Not all the way back to normal, but not too far away. We did everything we could to make this last summer his best, taking him with us everywhere we went, making sure to give him extra attention and love at every turn. But in the last few weeks, and especially this last week, we knew time was running out. The cancer had returned, making him weaker than ever. Even worse, Barkley had suddenly developed severe arthritis in his hips, making it very difficult to not only climb the stairs in our home, but just getting up from laying down became a struggle.

The one thing my wife and I pledged to do when we started the chemo treatments was that we didn’t want to simply keep him alive for OUR own reasons. If he was ever in some real pain, we would let him go. At the end, the situation became unbearable, and these last few days were beyond painful for all of us.

I know, I know. Some of you are rolling your eyes and saying “it’s just a dog, get over it.” Yes, I understand that. He was just a dog. Some of you have gone through much, much worse. But to us, he was very special. Not just his loving personality, where everyone he met instantly became his best friend, but for many other reasons, big and small. I know you all have your own pet stories, so I won’t go too far into the details that made him exceptional to us. But I will share one big thing that made him such an important part of our lives.

Back in 2000, my wife was pregnant with our first child. Anyone who has been down that road knows the overwhelming experience that can be, as a father, mother, or any other family member. The excitement and anxiety, all rolled into one, is almost indescribable. But just over halfway into the pregnancy, something went terribly wrong. We ended up losing the baby, a girl we named Megan. To say an event like that is devastating is an understatement, and if any of you have been down that dark road, you understand.

But after we lost our baby, well, we needed something. We needed a new soul to enter our home, a soul we could love and cherish and care for, something to pull us through a difficult time. That’s when Barkley, an 8-week old puppy, entered our lives. His presence helped get us through those days, and for that, Barker Boy, we will always love you. I will see you again some day. And I know you will be waiting for me at the front door, tail wagging, thinking “Finally, you’re home!”, just as you always did in life. Rest in peace.

Moving on, ASU. You know what? Even though the final score was awful, the first half was actually pretty entertaining, just a 10-0 game at the break. There were some promising moments early, offensively moving the ball through the air. They even ground out a long drive early in the game, but missed a field goal that seemed to zap any momentum they might have discovered on offense.

But defensively, they really hung in there and fought hard. Playing exclusively early in a 3-3-5 defense, per the radio broadcast, they did a good job of getting some pressure early on Rudy Carpenter. They even logged back-to-back sacks one one possession, and on the next, drew a holding penalty on what looked like another sure sack. They were even stout against the run, not anything close to the outfit allowing 279 yards rushing per game. 132 rushing yards allowed, on 35 carries? That’s pretty damn good. And as a whole, they allowed under 400 total yards, and in a year like this? MAJOR victory.

But once again, the offense let the team down. That’s now the third shutout in our last four games. Think about that. For a team that hadn’t been shut out since the early 80’s, to now roll three goose-eggs? 130 total yards? Seven rushing yards? SEVEN?? Simply awful. Unfortunately they come out of this one a little banged up as well. Chance Staden was lost to a knee injury, adding to the list of injured backs in Chris Ivory and now Logwone Mitz. Basically it’s down to Dwight Tardy….and Marcus Richmond…..that’s about it for the running game.

And of course, Kevin Lopina was lost with the concussion. I know we have openly pined for the youngster to get his chance, and now it looks like he might if the doctors don’t clear Lopina for next week. Concussions are obviously tricky, and today’s day and age they take every precaution in the world, so the odds are probably good that JT gets the ball this week. Young Levy got into the game and made a few plays, but generally struggled to a 7-for-14, 41 yard, 1 INT performance, as well as a fumble on a sack that ASU scooped up for a score. Oh yeah, the kid also injured his left wrist on the play, but HOPEFULLY he’s ok!?!? Whether he’s ready or not, with the Lopina injury, the J.T. Levenseller era might be here after all. And what a week to start it, vs. UW.

Here’s a rumor for you regarding UW. We got this from a reliable source too. But UW might unleash a surprise at QB this week. No guarantees, but let’s just say you shouldn’t be shocked if #10 is under center for UW.

Finally, the hoops team won. Hooray hoops! And the kids played well too. Baynes led with 14 points, but Marcus Capers had nine boards and six assists?? Wow. And DeAngelo Casto had four blocks?? NICE. 16% shooting, and 25 points allowed, the lowest total given up since 1948?? This is going to be a fun, interesting season of college basketball (and I KNOW from comments yesterday some of you despise basketball!).


Grades Are Bad…Except They Aren’t

May 14, 2008

I think I like the Matt Leinart beer-bong pics better than this (and you’ve all seen them so I won’t show them here, but, just in case, check it). Still, while the great academic name of Washington State gets rubbed repeatedly in the steaming pile out behind the woodshed, well, it’s actually not so bad after all.

Cougfan is running a story that states that, in reality, the football team actually has a highly-respectable 2.72 cumulative GPA. Sure, a 2.72 sounds fine, but it happens to be the best in WSU FOOTBALL HISTORY?? As the story goes:

“WSU student-athletes ranked second over the last 10 years in the Pacific-10 Conference in graduation rate with respect to seniors who have exhausted their eligibility. The football team has graduated its student-athletes at a rate four percent higher than the national Division I average, which also ranks second in the Pac-10.”

This is a program that is falling apart based on the APR stories? Hardly. It makes good copy that they lost 8 scholies, and yes, Doba and the rest failed the young men they gave full rides to when they admittedly just, gosh darn it, didn’t do their homework on some of these kids! We didn’t hesitate to throw Doba under the bus for what happened, and that won’t change. We will feel these scholarship losses, there is just no sugar-coating it. But it won’t last long. As Cougfan once again points out today in another story, it’s going to be felt but we’re moving in the right direction. After all, as we pointed out last week when all this news broke, Wulff’s track record is strong with this APR business, posting a 940 at EWU (925 is the line, but you probably knew that already).

I guess the biggest thing to take with this APR news is simply that the coaching staff has to hit at a decent percentage in terms of recruits and their ability to stay in school. Off the field is a new rage of importance through college football, but it might never be MORE important for WSU than these next few years. Not only to establish the types of players and culture that make the Wulff system go, but the APR is always going to be an issue from now on. The margin for error was swallowed up by the prior staff’s transgressions. But this isn’t the end of the world.

Moving on, damn, Lofa, you should have called a cab. I know we’ve all been in those situations, and some good people can make bad decisions. He’s reportedly a great guy, not just a great football player, and he fits the mold in what Tim Ruskell wants for his Seahawks. But this is a big mistake. Signing that fat contract and being a celebrity in a football-crazed town, you have to know that every move he makes is going to get attention. Getting a DUI isn’t good, period, end of story, but with the “great power comes great responsibility” line comes to mind here. But any way you cut it, it sucks, because the guy is the heart and soul of the team and I swear, you see more #51 jerseys at Qwest Field than any other player, period!

Obviously we are entering a real dead period with the football team. News is going to slow to a trickle. But that doesn’t mean we’re going to fully take the next few weeks or even months off (unlike the tanned and rested Grippi, who just got back from Disneyland. How sweet). No, we’re going to keep pushing forward with new content. You’ll get a weekly dose of Brinkhater Diaries, love it or hate it. We’ll take a look at each of our upcoming opponents for 2008 as they stand coming out of spring football. Look for a glimpse at Cal in the coming days. Plus we’ll finally get to our stacks of DVD’s from the past, including some of the best wins in school history, as well as highlights from the glorious 2007 campaign! Ok, that’s a dumb joke. 2007 generally sucked, except for the Apple Cup. But we will put up some 2007 stuff mainly how it pertains to next year. In other words, you won’t see a lot of Brink TD passes or Bumpus or Collins or Abdullah highlights. We’ll try to focus on highlights of who to watch for next year, stuff like that. So stay tuned and don’t give up. There’s only, let’s see, 108 days, 6 hours and 54 minutes until we have to chase Zac Robinson and the rest of the ‘Pokes around for 60 minutes! Wheeee!

Finally, some personal stuff here. I’m posting a picture of my beloved Barkley, our 8-year old Golden Retriever. Why? Because old Barker-boy is really, really sick. I started to notice a change in him about a month ago, out for a morning jog. After only about a mile in, he started to really lag behind. I thought he was just getting too fat and needed to push through it, but he lagged the entire rest of the way. I admit I was actually mad at him for holding me up. However, these last few weeks have really taken a turn for the worse. He had barely eaten any food for a few days before we took him to the vet. The hard part is that it took several different tests, x-rays, and finally, an ultrasound, before they confirmed the worst fear – cancer. Barkley has lymphoma, cancer of the lymph nodes, in his abdomen. This is, sadly, a common thing for Golden’s. After a couple of extremely emotional days, we decided we are going to do all we can for him. Not that we are going to throw thousands upon thousands of dollars at him on radical treatments, ala what is going on at WSU right now (which sounds amazing by the way). We are going to do what any young family would do for a sick family member, within reason of course. We started him on chemo-therapy today, and it’s going to be a very busy schedule for the next 6 months to try and kick this thing back into remission.

I only post this because I love my dog, like many of you can attest in your own world. Just having him out of the house these last two days has been very painful. Anyway, if the posting around here gets a little sporadic or maybe doesn’t make much sense, just know that there’s some real world stuff going on. And give your dog or cat an extra hug tonight. Don’t take them for granted, because things can change on a dime and you are suddenly faced with losing a great friend, just like that.