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Nick Rolovich, Fireman?

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Nick Rolovich almost didn’t pursue a football career

American Football: NFL Europe 2003 Photo by Martin Rose/Bongarts/Getty Images

Good morning from Europe. Happy to be here, currently. One of the fun things about having a new coach in town is learning new things about him. When Mike Leach showed up, that wasn’t necessarily the case, as he’d already published an autobiography (New York Times bestseller, in case you didn’t know). We also had reams of clips from his days as head coach of the Texas Tech Red Raiders, from which we could make inferences about his coaching style and personality. Lastly, we had lots Texas Tech fans telling us what life was like with Leach. The final part lasted until about 2018 but that’s neither here nor there.

Well now we have Nick Rolovich, all shiny and new - to us Washington State Cougars fans anyway. Along with a new coach comes new information and anecdotes from his background. Some have been trod over a few times, but there are others that had gone unnoticed. Pac-12 media days may provide some good fodder for that, but the fact that it’s all virtual may hinder the back-and-forth that comes with people speaking in-person. However, Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports profiled Rolovich this week, (unbeknownst to me, Emma already included a link but whatever I’ve come too far to turn back) and some new stuff came to light, for yours truly anyway.

The whole thing is a good read, but here are a few things I found interesting:

First was the fact that Patrick Chun pitched his list of candidates to Mike Leach before Leach departed. As Dodd says, that doesn’t happen very often.

“Mike’s a good person,” Washington State athletic director Pat Chun said. “Even talking with him, we ran our candidate pool by him. When it got all said and done, he said it best: ‘Nick was the best short-term solution and the best long-term solution.’”

This makes me wonder who else was on the list, and what Leach thought of those other guys.

Next was Rolovich talking about when he went to Seattle and ended up meeting a bunch of Cougs at local establishments.

During one of his first recruiting trips to Seattle, Rolovich tweeted a request for recommendations as he searched for a decent watering hole. His first instinct was to sift through the 20-odd responses. “To figure out if it’s a Washington trap,” he said. “You’ve seen those movies where you walk into the wrong bar? I have visions of me backing out of the saloon door and knocking the motorcycles over.”

See, coach, here’s where you have a little more to learn. Unless you had stumbled into an espresso place or a martini bar, you had zero chance of running into any Washington fans.

Finally, there’s the part that was revelatory to me, and that’s the fact that Rolovich very nearly gave up football when he was saddled behind Timmy Chang at Hawaii.

With his role limited as Hawaii’s backup quarterback, he was a day away from taking the exam to become a fireman in 2001. Several of his relatives were in the profession. “Work a day, get a couple off, work another day,” Rolovich said. “Sounds cool.”

But Timmy Chang, who went on to become the NCAA’s career passing leader, was injured early in the season against Nevada. Rolovich subbed in and went on to throw for almost 3,400 yards and 34 touchdowns in the next nine games. Oh yeah, he skipped the fireman exam.

Deciding to stick it out seems to have worked out for Coach Rolo. He parlayed that opportunity into a shot at the pros (hence that photo at the top), then got into the coaching profession. I mean, he doesn’t get to slide down any fire poles or rescue cats from tall trees, but I’d guess he’s happy with how things turned out.

One more thing - The patches on those jerseys. My god, the patches on those jerseys!

Sports

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Will there ever be another Throwin’ Samoan – that is to say, not another Jack Thompson but a nickname for a player as perfect as that one?

This Week in Parenting

So when I’m at work, I’m able to chat with the kids if they’re using their tablets for schoolwork. Last week, out of the blue, the eight year-old sends me the .gif you see below. What transpired is something I can only compare to a child-adult “Who’s on first” situation.

Also, I apologize for the size of the photos. The program we use is secret garbage in several areas, photo editor (or lack thereof) being one. Either that or I am too stupid to find the editor. That’s probably the more likely scenario.

It didn’t get any better, and I still can’t figure out if I was being gaslit or not, and with him, there’s a solid chance he was doing exactly that.

Book Club

I’m only about 100 pages into The Great Influenza due to several factors (my school work, kids school work, actual work, I’m a glacially-slow reader), but it’s getting far better now that the medical history portion appears to be behind me, and it’s about to get far more compelling. One thing that shocked me is the high probability that the Spanish Flu originated in, /checks book for the fourth time, western Kansas. I did not know that!

Beer

Best beer I had this week: Thanks once again to Deutsche Post, one of the selections from the box (of which I ordered two), was Jackie O’s Carrots and Sticks. It was like eating carrot cake if said carrot cake could put you to sleep right after. Also it was great and I’m glad to have another at the ready.

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In January, the league said that Astros players near the dugout had hit garbage cans to let its batters know what pitch was coming next during the club's 2017 championship season.

Non-Sports

The Imperfect Alibi: Murder at Rising Daughter Baptist Church
A new examination of the murders at a South Georgia church in 1985 from the AJC. New DNA tests were prompted by the newspaper's reporting. The GBI opened an investigation and the man convicted in the deaths of of Harold and Thelma Swain requested a new trial.