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Cougar Basketball goes up the mountain one more time

One last time?

NCAA Basketball: Washington State at Utah Christopher Creveling-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, and Happy amateur night New Year’s Eve. If 2023 was bad, we hope 2024 will turn things around. If 2023 was good, we hope 2024 is better! As far as the Washington State Cougars, 2024 will be a venture into the great wide open, as WSU begins a new era of athletic competition.

The new year, specifically the new academic year, will see everything we’ve ever known in the rearview mirror, and a (mostly) whole new slate of schools on the opponent side of the ledger. I write mostly new because the jerkoffs in purple will still be there, unfortunately.

But before WSU’s conference affiliation goes from 12 teams to two, there’s the matter of closing out 2023-24, and on Sunday, that means a men’s basketball date with Colorado in Boulder. Pretty sure I’m not alone in my sentiment that this trip will not be missed. Since Colorado entered the conference, WSU has visited Boulder 11 times. In those 11 games, WSU has 11 losses, four of which are by more than 20 points. Is that bad? Seems bad.

Sunday’s matchup is likely to be more of the same, as Colorado comes in with a 10-2 record, having beaten Washington on Friday, and sports a #24 KenPom ranking. For reference, that’s one spot higher than the Utah team which embarrassed WSU on Friday evening.

You can watch Sunday’s game on what remains of the Pac-12 Networks at 11:00 PST. The Buffaloes are currently an eight-point favorite, and the total is currently 142.5. Go Cougs

Football

The Cougs continue to try and supplement the 2024 roster, subsequent to the December signing day. In this case, Jake Dickert addressed the hole Josh Kelly left when he transferred by signing Austin Peay transfer Tre Shackleford.

Trivia: I’ve actually been to that campus! Located in Clarksville, Tennessee, Austin Peay was named after the Tennessee governor who served from 1923 until his death in 1927. Hence the team nickname, the Governors.

Back to Shackleford. The wideout led the Governors in catches (52), and yards (799), scoring six touchdowns. Once he entered his name into the transfer portal, the Decatur, Alabama native reported offers from several FCS and Group-of-Five schools, but chose to fly way north and west for at least one of his final two eligible seasons.

Tre also made the Dean’s list in 2021 and 2022, so he’s a rather diligent student as well. Welcome to Pullman, Tre. We hope you tear things up in 2024!

Non-Sports

Has Gratuity Culture Reached a Tipping Point? | The New Yorker
Zach Helfand writes about the history and changing etiquette of tipping employees in restaurants, coffee shops, bars, hotels, and other businesses.

This Week in Parenting

Man, I am here to tell ya, it was a week. Team Kendall loaded into the rented minivan and headed to Indiana, as I mentioned previously. And although we headed north geographically, things headed south in every sense of the metaphorical term. But I’ll get to that. Things started well enough, as the family headed downtown for an evening, dining at The Rathskeller, a great German restaurant. We all dressed semi-well, including the teenager, who outgrows every pair of pants 7-10 days after we buy them. On this night, he had a pair of dress pants and a black turtleneck. He looked handsome, but this was all I could think of (minus the glasses):

Shortly before the meal, the 12 year-old reported that he didn’t feel well, but he soldiered on and went with us. Since he was clearly uncomfortable, the old man here volunteered to sleep on the hotel foldout with the teenager, so the sick kiddo could sleep in the bed with mom (who was also amid a battle with a virus). I think the part I missed most about hotel foldouts is the fact that you get to try and sleep and a -30 degree angle while multiple springs jab you in the kidneys. Good stuff.

The next day was Christmas Eve, and the kiddo was getting worse, so Mrs. Kendall took him to the ER. After multiple hours, he came home with a positive test for the Flu. Yippee skippey. We gave him a dose of Tamiflu, and he seemed to do ok as he and brother watched Chernobyl on HBO Max. Because what better way for a pre-teen to pass the time? We then had some grilled steaks and sent him and the older brother to bed. Christmas morning was more of a descent, as he reported feeling “terrible.” Now, if a kid is talking about feeling terrible on Christmas, you know shit is bad. So we gave him his Tamiflu pill, which he promptly threw up on the floor. MEEEEEEEERRRRRRRYYYYY CHRISTMAAAAAAS!!! 10 minutes later, here he was:

Going well! Once he woke up, we got him some ibuprofen, and he perked up. The fact that he got a new phone for Christmas certainly didn’t hurt. Before we knew it, he was prank calling me and asking for cookies. It’s been nearly a week and he’s still coughing up multiple lungs.

When we went to get the boys on Christmas morning, the teenager was laughing uproariously while watching his phone. “Dad, I found this comedian Larry on Netflix. He’s hilarious!” “You mean Larry the Cable Guy?” “Yeah, it’s great!” So yeah, my kid discovered a pretend southerner who’s actually from Nebraska who also was popular like 25 years ago.

Later in the day, he adjourned to the bathroom for another of his marathon sessions on the can. Afterward, he was nice enough to light a match. Then, for reasons I will never comprehend, he decided to put out the match with his thumbs, resulting in burns. I asked him what happened, and he said he didn’t know how else to put it out. “Why didn’t you just put it in the toilet, Mr. Boy Scout?” He had no answer.

The 12 year-old spent the rest of his waking hours messing with his new phone, downloading apps and loading his Chick-fil-A gifts cards onto the phone, which I didn’t know was possible. He also found time to call up some wallpaper.

I’m sorry. Did somebody just start cutting onions in here? It’s suddenly dusty! If that weren’t enough, I asked the kids if they had any idea where they’d like to go for spring break, and the 12 year-old’s first question was, “Is that during opening day? Where can we go to watch baseball?” Let’s just move on because I’m getting emotional.

I pulled a little trick with the phone for the presentation, which was truncated due to the kid’s illness. I hid the phone under the Christmas tree skirt, planning to call it after all the other presents had been opened. I then put my contact number into his phone, labeled it “Santa Claus” and inserted a photo of Santa as the avi. Since he was sick, it didn’t play as well as it should have. But later on, he decided to show me the avi he selected for my contact.

Yep, that’s my kid.

A couple days after Christmas, we departed Indiana for the trip home, stopping in Birmingham for the night. When we were at dinner, the teenager was intent on his phone, claiming he was texting a friend. The 12 year-old then declared that he’d figured out the older brother was in fact talking to a girl. WSU’s home jerseys may be crimson, but they’re pale white in comparison the the hue the teenager’s cheeks turned upon being discovered.

The teenager had also received a projector for Christmas (I’m still not sure why he wanted one), and once we got back, he decided to hook it up in his room. He then asked me for one of our Fire Sticks, and before I knew it, he was laying on his back, watching television on the ceiling. I’m pretty sure we’re never going to see him again, except for at meal time, of course.

Finally, we were watching Thursday Night Football when the camera panned to some Cleveland Browns fan wearing a sizable object on his head. I remarked that it looked like a huge wiener, and Mrs. Kendall said, “No, dummy, it’s a bone,” to which I replied, “It’s a bone alright.” This generated some major laughter.

And so, with that...