Archive for the ‘A freakin’ American hero’ Category

   Chelsea Randall, woman of 1,001 talents (and soon, some Emmy awards … or maybe a Tony. Yeah, probably a Tony). (Kelsey Simmons photo)

   Karla Crouch (center) and crew mates on the set of “The Adventures of Captain Callie.” (WhidbeyTV photo)

There are a lot of people in this world who can do one thing, and some of those have a fair amount of talent in their chosen field.

But it’s rare, truly rare, when one person can do five, six, maybe 20 different things — all at once — and excel at each and every one of them.

Chelsea Randall, who put up with me for three years back when we worked together in the restaurant biz, is flat out the most talented person I know on a personal basis.

She always deserved so much more than what she was getting, and that makes it even sweeter to see her being rewarded, finally, for her talent, her drive and her genius.

Chelsea’s new TV show, The Adventures of Captain Callie, a musical, nautical-themed children’s adventure which she created, wrote, choreographed and composed, hits the airwaves next Wednesday, Aug. 16.

Starring Karla Crouch as the titular character, the series follows Captain Callie and her young crew mates as they explore Whidbey Island, a song on their lips and adventure in their hearts.

The show will play at 8 AM and 4 PM on WhidbeyTV, channel 501, or if you’re not in their broadcast area, pop over and stream it at http://whidbeytv.com/

To get a feel of what the show will look and sound like, take a gander at the preview:

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Will “The Thrill” Butela (right) with comedy partner in crime Mike Duke.

So, apparently Videoville was a breeding ground for Hollywood all those years.

At this point, half the people who I once slung videos with — and by slung I mean we actually threw VHS tapes at each other on more than one occasion — are making it big in the entertainment biz.

Mason Hughes is Drew Barrymore’s right hand man, and an Instagram star in his own right, while Will “The Thrill” Butela continues to surface in ads every time I turn around.

Most times he’s working with his partner in crime, fellow Coupeville High School grad Mike Duke (who, for reasons unknown, shockingly did NOT work behind the video store counter), but in the ad for Peoples Bank below he’s working his sardonic magic solo.

Go. Stop reading. Watch Will, the greatest soccer goalie in CHS history (historical truth, son!), do what Will does.

It’s two-and-a-half minutes of finely-spun comedy gold, courtesy a guy who I once watched shotgun an entire batch of frozen mocha Granita drink, while Mason ran around behind us, screaming about his missing car … which Will had secretly relocated.

One of the best days ever.

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(Amy King photo)

   Tiffany Briscoe (left) and Lauren Grove both played a sport in all 12 seasons of their high school career. (Amy King photo)

The three-sport athlete is not dead.

In the five years Coupeville Sports has existed, the number of Wolves upholding the old-school tradition of playing something every season has fluctuated.

And this year, that number is trending upwards.

One week into spring sports practices, it appears 23 CHS students — 13 girls and 10 boys — will pull off the feat in 2016-2017.

That’s a nice bounce from last year, when only 17 reached the mark.

It also stops a downward spiral.

After 18 athletes hit the mark in 2012-2013, we hit a high-water mark of 23 in ’13-’14.

But then the numbers started to slip, from 20 in ’14-’15 to last year’s low of 17.

Now, we’ve rebounded to tie our best mark.

Why the increase this year?

In two words, fresh blood, as 10 freshmen (five girls, five boys) took advantage of all of their opportunities.

In fact, the frosh nipped the juniors, who fielded seven iron men/women, while the sophomores had four and the seniors just a piddly two.

But those two seniors, Lauren Grove and Tiffany Briscoe, are true believers, having played a sport in all 12 seasons of their high school careers.

That tops last year, when just one ’16 grad, Jared Helmstadter, achieved the perfecto.

Barring injury or distractions, we could have as many as four athletes pull off a 12-for-12 run in ’18, as juniors Lauren Rose, Allison Wenzel, Cameron Toomey-Stout and Hunter Smith are flawless to this point at 9-for-9.

Why does any of this matter?

For a lot of reasons, with the first being the simple fact Coupeville is a small school, even by 1A standards, and needs bodies in uniforms.

Also, the age of specialization is a crock, unless you’re in the top .001% of your sport nationally (and no one in Cow Town fits that bill these days).

College coaches repeatedly say the same thing — they want athletes who have played more than one sport. You may have a specialty, or a favorite, but try pushing yourself.

The proof is right before our eyes.

When we look at CHS grads who have gone on to successfully play college sports in recent years, whether it’s Tyler King at U-Dub, Kyle King at Oklahoma, Makana Stone at Whitman or Ben Etzell at Saint John’s, one fact remains — they all played 2-3 sports every year in high school.

Whether you want to move on to the next level or high school is the end of the road for you athletically, push yourself. Try something new.

It’s good for the school. It’s better for you.

3-sport athletes in 2016-2017:

Tiffany Briscoe – senior (volleyball, basketball, softball)
Hunter Downes – junior (football, basketball, track)
Mikayla Elfrank – junior (volleyball, basketball, softball)
Lauren Grove – senior (soccer, basketball, track)
Mason Grove – freshman (tennis, basketball, soccer)
Elliott Johnson – freshman (tennis, basketball, baseball)
Gavin Knoblich – freshman (football, basketball, baseball)
Nicole Lester – sophomore (volleyball, basketball, softball)
Joey Lippo – junior (tennis, basketball, baseball)
Emma Mathusek  – freshman (volleyball, basketball, softball)
Avalon Renninger – freshman (soccer, basketball, tennis)
Lindsey Roberts – sophomore (soccer, basketball, track)
Lauren Rose – junior (volleyball, basketball, softball)
Ema Smith – sophomore (soccer, basketball, track)
Hunter Smith – junior (football, basketball, baseball)
Scout Smith – freshman (volleyball, basketball, softball)
Cameron Toomey-Stout – junior (football, basketball, track)
Maya Toomey-Stout – freshman (volleyball, basketball, track)
Sean Toomey-Stout – freshman (football, basketball, track)
Ulrik Wells – freshman (football, basketball, baseball)
Allison Wenzel – junior (volleyball, basketball, track)
Sarah Wright – sophomore (volleyball, basketball, softball)
Tia Wurzrainer – freshman (soccer, basketball, tennis)

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So much beardly goodness, so much value for your entertainment buck. (Photo property of Esurance)

   Will Butela and Mike Duke — so much beardly goodness, so much value for your entertainment buck. (Photo property of Esurance)

You know, I’ve seen Will Butela drink his body weight in frozen coffee, in 12 seconds flat.

So, basically, if nothing else, our time together at Videoville let me fully realize he would be a star — or end up on the FBI’s Most Wanted list. One of the two.

Mr. Butela and fellow Coupeville High School grad/shenanigans-causer Mike Duke continue to carve out their niche in the world of sports entertainment.

If you haven’t listened to all 41 of their Fun Brothers podcasts, well, your world is a dank, gray Hellscape, now isn’t it?

Here’s the latest episode:


Or, if you have less time and demand to see them in their full visual glory, check out the dynamic duo in another ad for Esurance:

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Tiffany Briscoe is one of two Wolf seniors who have a shot at playing a full 12 sports during their high school career. (John Fisken photo)

   Tiffany Briscoe is one of two Wolf seniors who have a shot at playing a full 12 sports during their high school career. (John Fisken photos)

Lauren Grove

Lauren Grove is the other one.

It is the most exclusive club in Wolf sports.

Over the past four years (which is the run of Coupeville Sports, from Aug. 16, 2012 to today) 48 Coupeville High School athletes have made the ultimate commitment and played three sports in the same school year.

At smaller schools like CHS, where bodies on the bench mean so much, that’s invaluable.

Those young men and women have had to balance schoolwork, staying healthy and a life lived on buses and ferries.

Plus, they had to embrace basketball, since that’s the only sport the Wolves play in the winter.

Why do I bring this up now?

Because, as we prepare to head into a new school year, I’m challenging athletes, from green freshmen to grizzled seniors, to join the movement.

We live in an age of specialization, even while nearly every study proves most athletes getting college attention are the ones who are NOT limiting themselves to one sport.

If you’re 15 and already on a national-level team (which is NO ONE in Coupeville), maybe it makes sense to hone your skills in your chosen sport.

Otherwise, the benefits of playing multiple sports are numerous, both for the individual and their teams.

Last year, though, only 17 Wolves were three-sport athletes, the lowest total in the history of this blog.

The numbers were down from a high of 23 two years before, and not headed in the right direction.

Jared Helmstadter was the only Class of 2016 athlete who played a full 12 sports in his high school career, but there are two Wolves (Tiffany Briscoe and Lauren Grove) who are 9-for-9 entering their senior campaigns this year.

High school is your chance to dabble in multiple sports, to find which ones you like, to build as many memories as possible.

Tyler and Kyle King are the only CHS grads to receive D-1 athletic scholarships in recent memory, and while running was obviously their claim to fame, they didn’t limit themselves.

Stints as basketball and football players meshed with cross country and track and made them more complete athletes, more complete teammates.

Take a chance.

If you’re a freshman, now is a golden opportunity, especially for guys, where the number of projected returning basketball players (varsity and JV combined) can be counted on less than two full hands.

Seize the moment. Embrace the dream. Suck it up, butter cup, and add your name to the list below.

CHS athletes who played three sports in one school year between 2012-2016, with the number of times they achieved the feat:

McKayla Bailey – 2
McKenzie Bailey – 3
Kyla Briscoe – 2
Tiffany Briscoe – 3
Aura Corredor – 1
Emily Coulter – 1
Aaron Curtin – 2
Beauman Davis – 1
Hunter Downes – 1
Gabe Eck – 1
Ty Eck – 1
Miranda Engle – 1
Ben Etzell – 2
Jordan Ford – 1
Lauren Grove – 3
Hailey Hammer – 3
Jared Helmstadter – 4
Lindsey Laxton – 1
Nicole Lester – 1
Joey Lippo – 1
Oscar Liquidano – 2
Dalton Martin – 2
Samantha Martin – 1
Breeanna Messner – 2
Mattea Miller – 1
Grey Rische – 1
Carson Risner – 1
Lindsey Roberts – 1
Lauren Rose – 2
Carlie Rosenkrance – 1
Brian Shank – 1
Matt Shank – 1
CJ Smith – 1
Hunter Smith – 2
Ethan Spark – 1
Makana Stone – 2
Madeline Strasburg – 2
Nick Streubel – 2
Cameron Toomey-Stout – 2
Caleb Valko – 1
Isaac Vargas – 1
James Vidoni – 2
Monica Vidoni – 3
Bessie Walstad – 1
Joel Walstad – 2
Allison Wenzel – 2
Sarah Wright – 1
Gabe Wynn – 2

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