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Archive for the ‘Everything changes’ Category

A fraction of the athletes who have powered Coupeville Sports over the past six years.

Best part of a blog anniversary? Getting a giant cookie from your supporters.

It’s still the middle of the summer.

That was the first sentence to be published here on Coupeville Sports, way back in the Mesozoic Era, or Aug. 15, 2012, if we’re being precise.

And now, here we are, six years and 6,258 articles later.

I’ve survived being temporarily banned from the CHS press box, attacked by a South Whidbey blog which belly-flopped and floated away after publishing two whole articles, and twice flirting with bringing this whole endeavor to a premature end.

Fueled by countless tasty goodies offered up from faithful fans, transported by “the car that wouldn’t die” (until it did last week…), I endure.

And fight on, from world headquarters on the shores of Penn Cove, publishing random articles at 2 AM, while using a computer powered by three imaginary hamsters on a treadmill (Thaddeus, Leopold and Lil’ Skippy).

If you look back at the history of Coupeville Sports, it began in anger, but has (hopefully) morphed into something bigger and better over time.

I was cheesed off in Aug. 2012.

The Coupeville Examiner, where my words appeared for 15 years, through thousands of movie columns and sports stories, had just sold itself to a Canadian behemoth which already owned the Whidbey News-Times and South Whidbey Record.

Shortly after that lil’ bit of journalistic seppuku, all of my Examiner articles forever disappeared off the internet.

Having been paid very little for my freelance work (which was fine and my choice, because at the time I bought fully into the idea we were fighting the “Evil Empire”), my by-lined stories were all I had.

And then poof. They were gone, short of tracking down and buying a print copy of every back issue of The Examiner.

Whether it was a truly accidental data entry error, or an intentional, thought-out middle finger from a giant corporation, doesn’t really matter.

It was enough to goad me into launching my own news outlet, and, at least in the early days, keep me hammering away at my keyboard.

I was much chippier in the earlier days of Coupeville Sports, starting tiffs with athletes, coaches and supporters from South Whidbey, ATM and King’s, to name but a few.

Some of it was entertaining, much of it was good for fueling readership growth, but ultimately, it wasn’t the path I needed to be on.

There’s a reason other local blogs like Island Politics have vanished from the scene. If all you pump out is bile, eventually you’ll choke to death on it.

And, while Coupeville Sports was, at worst, .02% of an equal to the slimy cesspool the IP morons created in their basement/dungeon, I’ve tried to go in more of a positive, constructive direction as I (slowly) mature.

Most days, anyway…

Now we’re heading into year #7, and league #3. From the Cascade Conference to the Olympic League and now on to the North Sound Conference, at least for a bit.

Coupeville is among the smallest 1A schools in the state and there is a solid chance the Wolves will be on the move again shortly, most likely down to 2B.

For at least one year, though, it’s reunion time, as CHS links back up with former rivals South Whidbey, King’s, Granite Falls, Sultan and new foe Cedar Park Christian.

Football practice kicks off today, with all the other fall sports set to open this coming Monday. Middle school sports start soon after.

A new school year brings with it the possibility of new stars, new story-lines, new surprises.

Having gotten past a slight bump in the road recently, I am recommitted and re-energized, and, as always, deeply appreciative of my readers.

Your support, both financially and emotionally, is what drives me to keep going, documenting the ever-unfolding story of athletics on the prairie.

Coupeville Sports, from day one to wherever that finish line may be, will remain free to read. No pay wall, ever.

And while I may be the one writing the blog, it remains very much a community effort.

The more info you pass on to me, the more complete my coverage can be. If there is ever a question, “Should I tell him about…” the answer is always “Yes, you should.”

When it comes to what appears on Coupeville Sports, if you like something, say something. Maybe just as importantly, if you don’t like something, say something.

Praise or criticism, free food or angry glares, it all provides me with a compass to use as I chart our journey.

Where the path we’re blazing is going to end up, none of us know. But it should be interesting getting there.

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Gaze upon the logo for Coupeville’s new league. (Photo courtesy Scott Sifferman)

We’re going home again. In a way.

After four years in the 1A Olympic League, Coupeville High School is reuniting with four old rivals (and one new one) to launch the 1A North Sound Conference when the 2018-2019 school year begins this fall.

The new league is comprised of refugees from the imploded 1A/2A Cascade Conference, where the Wolves spent eight years from 2006-2007 to 2013-2014.

Gone are the 2A schools (Archbishop Thomas Murphy, Lakewood and Cedarcrest), so on with the (slightly) more-balanced party.

Coupeville reunites with South Whidbey, King’s, Sultan and Granite Falls, while coming face-to-face with the school which replaced it in the Cascade Conference, Cedar Park Christian-Bothell.

But, since no current Wolf athlete ever played in a Cascade Conference game, it might be a good idea to offer a refresher on just who Coupeville’s new league mates will be.

The new league:

http://www.nscathletics.com/index.php?pid=0.60.0.0.200

 

Cedar Park Christian-Bothell

Location: Um … Bothell

Public or private: Private

Student body count (2016 WIAA counts): 249.38

Established: 1982

Mascot: Eagles

Colors: Blue and gold, purple, yellow

Team state titles: Girls Soccer – 2001, 2002, 2003; Softball – 2003

Fast facts: The main campus for a private Christian school (preschool-12th grade) which also has sites in Everett, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood and Mill Creek; affiliated with the Assembly of God church; one-year tuition for high school student – $9,992; hired former Bellevue football coach Butch Goncharoff, who won 11 state titles before a Seattle Times investigation forced WIAA to (very briefly) punish Bellevue for numerous alleged improprieties.

 

King’s:

Location: Shoreline

Public or private: Private

Student body count (2016 WIAA counts): 354.38

Established: 1950

Mascot: Knights

Colors: White, red

Team state titles: 51 spread across multiple sports. I’m not listing them all.

Fast facts: Before turning to education, site housed a tuberculosis sanitarium; rumors abound that “some of the damp tunnels connecting buildings are still haunted by the ghosts of TB victims;” was known as King’s Garden until ’79; one-year tuition for high school student – $15,950; 98% of its students go on to higher education, while other 2% are no longer welcome home for Thanksgiving.

 

Granite Falls:

Location: Um … Granite Falls

Public or private: Public

Student body count (2018 WIAA appeal): 367.25

Established: 1896

Mascot: Tigers

Colors: Black, orange

Team state titles: Baseball – 2006

Fast facts: Known as “The Gateway to the Mountain Loop;” originally used by Native Americans to portage their canoes between fishing grounds; had a gold rush in 1889; had runs as both a mining and logging town; celebrates Railroad Days first Saturday in Oct.; former Coupeville assistant Alex Heilig coached GF football for one season in 2015, went 1-9.

 

South Whidbey:

Location: Langley

Public or private: Public

Student body count (2016 WIAA counts): 358.38

Established: 1981 (*previously Langley High School)

Mascot: Falcons

Colors: Blue and white

Team state titles: Boys Cross Country – 2000; Girls Golf – 2016

Fast facts: Has lost four of last six football games to Coupeville, with one former Falcon coach (a two-time loser) purposefully denting The Bucket, the trophy which is held by the winner; the snarky chant “Drive home safely,” directed at rival fans after South Whidbey wins, is both kind of annoying and kind of funny; the part of the Island where all the weird murders happen (seriously, go do a Google search); admittedly, a pretty nice school, with several athletes and coaches who have been very generous to me — Maia Sparkman, Oliana Stange, Kody and Hayley Newman, Tom Fallon, Mark Hodson, Mary Zisette and Lewis Pope to name a few.

 

Sultan:

Location: Um … Sultan

Public or private: Public

Student body count (2016 WIAA counts): 347.13

Established: 1888

Mascot: Turks

Colors: Navy, white, Columbia blue

Team state titles: Girls Soccer – 2002

Fast facts: Town named (sorta) for Snohomish Indian chief Tseultd, whose name was changed to Sultan John by white settlers; hosted the Sky River Rock Fest and Lighter Than Air Fair in 1968, which brought Richard Pryor, The Grateful Dead, Santana and “20,000-plus hippies” to town; former Turk basketball player Cooper Beucherie, he of the white boy dreadlocks, once kicked a chair into about the 12th row of the stands after being ejected from a basketball game at Coupeville. I miss the dude – he was entertaining.

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If I keep the blog going, the nephews still have incentive to one day ditch the South Whidbey gear for proper Coupeville gear. (Sarah Kirkconnell photo)

It didn’t work.

I’ve been writing Coupeville Sports for almost six years and 6,200 articles, and twice I hit momentary bumps in the road where I thought about doing something else.

The first time, I held out for 10 days.

This time I went (almost) a month.

And both times I reached a point where I came to a realization that by not writing every day, I am fighting against my very nature.

I’ve had a lot of jobs.

Loved some (video store life 4EVER), hated some, and yet the one that is most me is the one where I’m pretty sure I’ll never, ever make any money.

And that doesn’t matter.

The one thing which has always come easily to me is writing. It’s what I should be doing every day.

When I’m not, I get grumpy, I get listless, I seriously drift and I freak out the cats by spending too much time yelling at my computer about the depressing realities of the real world.

And, truth be told, my boss in the video store biz for 12+ years, Miriam Meyer, was right —  I’m like an old church lady who can’t live without their daily gossip.

Running a blog keeps me in the ever-churning world of high school and middle school sports rumors, and, without that, is life truly life???

This doesn’t mean that I’m not going to write “A Year on the Prairie” over this next year. That’s still happening.

But I’ve also come to realize if I don’t write on a regular basis, I might as well be back washing dishes.

And none of my fingers want that…

There is no reason I can’t blog AND write a book at the same time, as opposed to watching 17 straight YouTube videos of celebrities clashing with paparazzi.

Anyway, I’ve already published two books during my blogging days, and my sister has pumped out like 202, and she has three kids. Probably time for me to pick up my writing game, and not look for a break.

Plus, I just realized it was only four months ago I paid WordPress for another year of hosting Coupeville Sports.

Throwing away eight (sorta) free months makes the Ebeneezer Scrooge inside me break out in a cold sweat.

So, basically, a love of gossip, an effort to short-circuit a crippling YouTube addiction and penny-pinching thumbs has morphed me into mid-career Al Pacino.

“Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.”

Hooah, indeed.

 

PS — No pay walls, ever.

Coupeville Sports has been free to read since its inception in 2012 and will remain that way. If you like what I do, and want to support independent journalism, you can always pop over to:

paypal.me/DavidSvien

If you do, you’re a saint. If not, keep reading, you lil’ socialist, you.

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   Coupeville Sports is changing, but the mission remains the same — to tell stories about prairie athletes. (David Stern photo)

Less USA Today and more Sports Illustrated.

After six years of writing my blog, running it in 24-7-365 mode, I’m changing things up.

I want to step back from cranking out 3-5 articles a day, every day, and approach things in a new way.

I’m shutting down Coupeville Sports after this article.

After three days of allowing readers to vent, my Twitter and Facebook accounts vanish June 1.

I’m not deleting the blog, just not adding any more stories.

All 6,200 articles will still be here and can be accessed at any time.

This is not the end, though.

Instead of a daily crush of game stories, stats, photo essays, half-assed instant analysis, injury updates and driving people batty as I harass them for scoops on hirings and the like, I want to step back and take the long view.

After taking the summer off, to spend time with my nephews and help my sister start her farm, I’ll return to cover Coupeville High School sports during the 2018-2019 school year.

But, instead of blogging, I’ll be working on a book, tentatively titled “A Year on the Prairie.”

Unlike my previous two books, “Memoirs of an Idiot” and “Bow Down to Cow Town,” which were collections of essays and columns (and can be found on Amazon and in Sno-Isle libraries, nudge, nudge), this will be a traditional book.

Freed from focusing on wins, losses and who scored, freed from spending hours mind-numblingly transcribing stats, freed from all the side stuff, I can go deeper.

To tell stories about what happens behind the scenes and in the smaller moments of a season, to focus more on the experience of small town sports instead of just the result.

Doing this will change how and when I write, something I have wanted to address since my nephews moved to Whidbey this spring.

This coming school year could, and should, be a pivotal moment in CHS sports history.

A new league beckons, and, with the change, a return of old rivals and the debate between public and private schools playing on the same field.

The football program is about to hire its fifth coach in nine years, cross country returns after a two-decade absence and volleyball continues to grow at an amazing rate under a young, charismatic coach.

Several athletes at CHS are chasing career records and hoping to land college gigs as their prep careers wind down.

Beyond that, there are questions I have always had, and would now have time to pursue in greater depth.

What is life really like for an athletic director?

What do soccer fans find so enticing about a sport which drives me batty?

What drives track moms, the most die-hard of fans, to travel hundreds of miles to watch their child compete for 10 seconds?

That just the tip of the iceberg, and every sports year offers its own surprises and unexpected story-lines.

Freed from having to pound out stories on a daily basis, I will be able to travel to more road games, to track down stars of the past, to reflect on the history of sports in Coupeville.

To tell a more complete story, to craft an epic tale instead of just pounding out small chapters and then immediately moving on to the next “breaking news” nugget.

After six years and 6,200 articles, it’s time to take my reporting and writing in a different direction.

Hopefully you, my readers, will be waiting for me at the end of my detour. And not with pitchforks…

 

A message for my supporters:

I have lived, survived, and generally thrived, thanks to my readers.

Whether you bought an ad, purchased a book, or donated to the cause, you made it possible for me to keep blogging.

For those who want to continue to help keep my fingers typing as we move from blog to book, it is greatly appreciated.

The PayPal link at the top of the blog remains fully functional, my mailing address is 165 N. Sherman, Coupeville, WA 98239, my email is davidsvien@hotmail.com and you can find me at pretty much every home game.

The style may change, but the mission remains the same.

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   Hannah Davidson and other CHS sophomores will spend the next two years in the 1A North Sound Conference. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

No and, once again, no.

That was the response from the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association, as it denied Coupeville High School’s request to reclassify from 1A down to 2B.

After denying the original request Sunday afternoon, the WIAA also shot down an appeal Monday morning.

Despite CHS having lost 10% of its student body in the two years since the last official count in 2016 placed it as one of the smallest 1A schools in the state, the Wolves will be required to maintain the status quo until at least 2020.

That’s when the WIAA conducts its next round of state-wide student body counts and reclassification.

In the past, those counts happened every two years, but that changed when the state switched to a four-year plan in 2016.

Coupeville had 227 students in grades 9-11 then, and 1A was set at 214.5-461.24.

The parameters for 2B in 2016 were 83-214.49, and CHS, with 208 students currently in grades 9-11, falls within those guidelines.

The WIAA did not see it that way, however.

“The first decision was based on two areas: a leveling out of enrollment drop and that we would become the largest 2B school,” CHS Athletic Director Willie Smith said.

“My appeal was based on the language of the WIAA, that it was a significant drop and their placement of schools in classifications are strictly determined by enrollment numbers,” he added.

“Our numbers are below the current 2B numbers, but they didn’t feel it was significant enough of a drop and because our projected numbers showed a steady enrollment of 208 (six below the current cutoff of 214) it wasn’t enough to make the change.”

While Coupeville has been competitive in many sports in the last couple of years, it is in no shape or form a powerhouse, something Smith asked the WIAA to consider.

“In regards to being the largest 2B I argued that if we were perennial state tournament attendees or had racked up league title after league title then I would agree it wouldn’t make sense,” he said. “However, we are not that.”

If Coupeville had won approval to drop to 2B, it would have rejoined the Northwest 2B/1B League, which it played in through most of the ’70s and ’80s and part of the ’90s, competing with schools like Concrete, La Conner and Darrington.

“Traditionally, we have been in a league with the members of the NW 2B League and have never dominated,” Smith said. “In fact, they voted us in as soon as they heard we were appealing, which would strongly indicate their desire to have us back.”

While Coupeville could very likely be reclassified as a 2B school in the next state-wide counts in 2020, the WIAA decision ensures it will play at least two full school years as one of the smallest, if not the smallest, 1A school in the state.

The Wolves are leaving the 1A Olympic League at the end of the 2017-2018 school year, ending a four-year run in which they have won multiple titles in girls basketball, volleyball, baseball and girls and boys tennis.

Despite having a much-smaller student body count than Klahowya, which at 445 students in grades 9-11 was the second-biggest 1A school in the 2016 count, Coupeville has played the Eagles virtually even in varsity wins across the 11 sports in which CHS fields teams.

Both schools have been substantially ahead of league mates Port Townsend and Chimacum in titles and varsity wins.

Coupeville’s decision to leave was based on several factors, such as the unpredictability of the Port Townsend ferry, staggering travel costs and Klahowya’s desire to shave games off the league schedule starting next year.

Since they are staying in 1A for at least two years, the Wolves will join a new league, the 1A North Sound Conference, which launches this fall.

Formed out of the steaming carcass of the 1A/2A Cascade Conference, it will feature King’s, South Whidbey, Cedar Park Christian (Bothell), Sultan and Granite Falls, with Coupeville making it a six-pack.

The move reunites Coupeville with teams it played from 2006-2007 to 2013-2014.

CPC-Bothell is the only new foe for the Wolves, as the private school joined the Cascade Conference as Coupeville’s replacement when it departed in 2014.

A large selling point of the North Sound Conference is the chance for next-door neighbors Coupeville and South Whidbey to once again be aligned in the same league.

That will increase the number of times the Wolves and Falcons play in every sport, and, with the close proximity of the schools and the increased significance of the games, likely drive box office receipts upward.

With 208 students in grades 9-11, CHS will obviously be the smallest school in the league, with CPC-Bothell (249.38 in 2016) the only other school which came in under 347 students in the 2016 count.

While it might not be as ideal as returning to 2B, the new league will at least be a 1A-only league, with former 2A Cascade Conference rivals Cedarcrest, Archbishop Thomas Murphy and Lakewood not involved.

Smith, an extremely positive man who is the epitome of “whistle while you work,” sees the next two years as a chance for Coupeville to build, fight and not back down.

“It simply means that we just have to work harder, play smarter, and be more committed at every level: administrative, coaches, athletes, and community,” he said. “I’m ready for this, our coaches are ready for this and we will see if the other two can step it up.”

The decision to leave the Olympic League came before the decision to apply to drop to 2B, and it was one everyone involved in Wolf athletics openly embraced.

“Our coaches voted to move to the new league prior to finding out we could be 2B without hesitation,” Smith said. “They believe that they can take our programs to the next level and I truly believe that as well.

“No sour grapes, no feeling sorry for ourselves, just strapping up our boots and getting to work because no matter what classification we were going to end up that’s the only option we have to get better.”

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