BY Art Thiel 07:27AM 02/03/2011

Water Cooler Cool: The weekend scene

The gist of what you need to know when you turn the tube to sports


The Huskies and Portland native Terrence Ross draw a rematch Saturday with Oregon in the Ducks' new $227 million pond / Drew Sellers, Sportspress Northwest

Each Thursday, Art Thiel checks out the weekend sports scene locally and offers more casual sports fans some observations that can get them in and out of conversations without anyone catching on to your, ahem, casualness.

Whether at the water cooler, bus, lunchroom, frat kegger or cocktail party, you can drop in a riposte, bon mot or bit o’ wit to start a conversational conflagration, or put Ione out.  Then walk away.


Huskies basketball: Thursday, UW (15-5, 7-2) at Oregon State (8-12, 3-6), 6 p.m. (FSN/ROOT) / Saturday,  UW at Oregon (10-11, 3-6), 1 p.m. (FSN/ROOT):

Washington has already clocked these two teams in Hec Ed, beating Oregon 87-69 on Jan. 6 and Oregon State 103-72 on Jan. 8. Since then, things have gotten little better for either team, languishing near the bottom of the Pac-10 Conference standings.

UW has, in fact,  beaten OSU eight consecutive times, two shy of the team-record win streak against the Beavers.  So the chance for a road sweep is decent, providing that the Huskies have behind them their “Fear Factor” episode in that knee-knocker of a defeat in Pullman Sunday.

About the only thing different on this trip is that Saturday, the Huskies will play for the first time in Oregon’s new, $227 million, 12,541-seat Matthew Knight Court, the replacement gym for decrepit McArthur Court that was a horror for visiting teams and public health officials. The new joint was funded by the school’s athletic benefactor, Phil Knight, whom you may know as the inventor/Voldemort of Nike.

Washington fans strongly dislike Knight, mostly because the Ducks have him and the Huskies do not. If Hosni Mubarak showed up with $227 million for sports facilities at Montlake, Washington fans would learn to bow to Mecca five times a day, happily. Nevertheless, UW fans have to cut Knight some slack, at least the first time, because the court is named for Knight’s late son, killed in a scuba diving accident in 2004,  and because the UW athletic department contracts with Nike for all their uniforms and sports apparel. If fans really had integrity, they would demand the contract be voided, then outfit the sports team in banana leaves and Birkenstocks.

The way around this problem is for Washington fans to recall the semi-immortal words of Scott Woodward, who this fall before the Oregon-Washington football game in Eugene told KJR radio on the pre-game show that it was an “embarrassment” that the superb, Knight-purchased athletic facilities came at the expense of the school’s academic standing.

After the Ducks thrashed the Huskies, Woodward was forced by the UW president to publicly apologize to the university and basically the entire Judeo-Christian world. When he didn’t get it right the first time, he was made to do it again.

If the Huskies beat the Ducks Saturday, you can tell your Huskies friends, “No apologies were necessary, Scottie. Ducks fans ARE dumber than Dan Fouts’ beard.”

If the Huskies lose, go buy a pair of Adidas shoes. Hit Knight where he lives.


Super Bowl in Dallas: NFC champion Green Bay Packers vs. AFC Champion  Whose Name Shall Not Be Spoken in Seattle, 3:30 p.m. (FOX, Ch. 13): What it is with these guys? Third Super Bowl in six years, while the Seahawks languish (okay, two weeks of fun in the last five years). Outside of Wisconsin, there is no greater collection of cheeseheads (the favored chapeau of Packers fans) than in Seattle.

Should you encounter anyone who tells you to get over the loss of Super Bowl XL, you simply shriek in capital letters: “DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD IT IS TO GET TO THE SUPER BOWL, THEN HAVE THE GAME TAKEN AWAY BY THE REFS, WHO NOW ADMIT THEY SCREWED UP?! GET OVER IT?! GET OVER THIS!!

Then strike the vile miscreant with a hard object. At worst, it’s a gross misdemeanor within the city limits. You’ll be out on your own recognizance in time for the second half.

Water Cooler Cool” is published every Thursday as part of Sportspress Northwest’s package of home-page features collectively titled, “The Rotation.”

The Rotation’s weekly schedule:

  • Monday: That Was The Week That Was — A snarky, day-by-day review of the week just ended.
  • Tuesday: Wayback Machine — Sports historian David Eskenazi’s deep dive into local sports history, replete with photo eye candy.
  • Wednesday: Nobody Asks But Us — We ask, and answer, fun and quirky questions nobody else is asking.
  • Thursday: Water Cooler Cool — Art Thiel takes on the weekend for the benefit of the more casual fan.
  • Friday: Top 5 List — The alpha and omega of Northwest sports, at least as far as we’re concerned.


  • Romarmat

    why does Seattle have a fascination with former players?  I’ve never seen another city do this, is it because of the completely crappy sports here that they follow the guys who escaped?  the sports knowledge here is the lowest in the US