OUR CORNER: Football thrills are building up

I enjoy my summers as much as the next guy.

By John Leggett

I enjoy my summers as much as the next guy.

Do you remember the “Summer of Love,” 1969 – I do. Last week, all of us old hippies celebrated the 40th anniversary of Woodstock, the big, wonderful, outdoor, two-day love/rockfest in upstate New York that everyone older than 55 swears they attended.

Mr. Sunshine hangs around a little longer this time of year, enabling us to get a few more things done outside before we collapse into our recliners with a frosty libation in hand.

There are the picnics and family gatherings, not to mention the fireworks displays, the Buckley Log Show, various car shows, Enumclaw’s fair and sidewalk sale, Bonney Lake Days and plenty of events in downtown Sumner.

But there is just something special about these 30 days between Aug. 15 and Sept. 15.

This 30-day span so filled with the love/hate, sweet/inebriate, tantalizing anticipation of high school, college, pro and fantasy football getting under way, that always gets my blood pumping a bit faster, fills me with excitement, joy and even a little bit of healthy angst.

The very thought of the trials and tribulations about to transpire gets me fired up. Like the story of Michael Vick going to the Eagles. Oh, behave; the man has done his time in the big house, now it is time for him to get out on the turf and do his rambling, scrambling thing assuming that oft-injured Donovan McNabb gets hurt once again.

But maybe Philly skipper and John Leggett lookalike Andy Reid will stun everybody and make Vick a running back. God knows Michael Westbrook is always getting hurt as well.

Will the Enumclaw High Hornets take it to the next level this season for coach Don Bartel? Will my beloved Wazzu Cougars claim more than a tandem of victories? Will this be the year that the Minnesota Vikings finally make it to the Super Bowl and (dare to dream) actually win it?

I hate Brett Favre for not manning up and adding just one more year to his storied career. So what if he threw more interceptions than touchdowns in the 2008 campaign for the Jets. Anything beats the alternatives.

In the interest of factual and investigative journalism, this columnist once did the old George Plimpton (“Paper Lion”) thing during a one-year stint at Columbia Basin Community College in Pasco, Wash., circa 1974-75.

Kind of a running undercover detailed account of what a marvelous adventure it was to play community college football. I suited up, went on the road with the squad and even played occasionally (when they were desperate) – the whole nine yards.

Only the coach had been apprised of exactly who I was and what my mission was, until I unveiled the whole shocking and scandalous allegory at season’s end.

Now, I am just happy for the talented kids around here that aren’t quite blue-chippers, but just need a bit more seasoning.

Essentially they are being given a second chance to soul search a little deeper, work a tad harder and maybe, just maybe, become good enough to bust a move to a four-year university.

I was thrilled when I checked out the Gators’ roster and saw the likes of Wyatt Hampton (the speedy running back who graduated from EHS in June) and the gritty ex-White River receiver Billy Clinkingbeard (of Buckley Log Show lore).

Then there is Wilkeson resident (WRHS grad) Anthony Greenlee and Connor Elder, who administered one of the cleanest yet most brutal and bone-jarring hits I’ve ever witnessed on a football field when the Hornets clashed with Franklin Pierce in 2008.

Stroschein and I bantered on about local talent and where they had moved on to after their prep gridiron glory days.

It’s all part of the magic of the month.

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