Archive for the ‘Milestones’ Category

Just another day at Coupeville Sports world headquarters. (David Svien photo)

Double digits.

Today — Aug. 15, 2022 — marks the 10th birthday of Coupeville Sports, a blog born in anger that transformed over time into something else.

Most days, at least.

Along the way, I’ve been kicked out of my local press box at least once (I deserved it), been banned from attending games at another school (later rescinded) and tried to quit several times.

My most recent aborted departure was derailed when a worldwide pandemic surfaced, pulling me back in to write … just as prep sports went away for a year plus.

Through big wins and tough losses, a couple of track and field state championship titles for Danny Conlisk, and a lot of self-righteous blathering on a varied series of topics, I’ve churned out 9,391 articles and counting.

It would be more, but, that whole “no live sports for a year-plus” thing did sort of put a crimp in things.

There are those who love what I do, and those who hear my name and make a face like they’re sucking on one lemon while trying to jam another three up their tush.

Thankfully, there’s enough of the former that I continue to dodge the odds and survive financially thanks to the kindness of donations.

There’s never been a paywall on the blog, something which remains as true on day #3,653 as it did back on day #1.

They said it wouldn’t work, and yet, most of “them” are long gone, and I’m still chugging along, with the occasional hiccup.

Ultimately, Coupeville Sports is all about the words — though I am eternally grateful to all those who have let me, a non-photographer, use their pics.

From John Fisken and Shelli Trumbull to Morgan White and Jackie Saia and everyone else who has said “yes” to sharing their images with my readers, thank you. It wouldn’t be the same without you.

But, while the blog itself is the core, it has also allowed me to accomplish some things in the real world which stand out.

My two biggest achievements in the last decade were being able to, with the help of many others, celebrate the 101st anniversary of CHS boys basketball, and the creation of the Wall of Fame in the high school gym.

So, where do we go from here?

Well, prep sports return this week, with high school football set to start practice Wednesday, and all other fall teams kicking off new seasons next Monday. The first game is Sept. 2.

My pursuit of 10,000 stories is ongoing, my quest to find every last point scored in a CHS varsity basketball game endures, and I still think the school’s stadium should be named in honor of longtime Wolf coach Ron Bagby.

If nothing else, I’m likely to annoy some folks — a couple of days ago I was called sexist for using the term “man benches” — and, hopefully, find the right balance to keep Coupeville Sports relevant.

We shall see. Keep your lemons at the ready.

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“I am not amused with your shenanigans, sir.” (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

I’ve been called snarky.


Childish and immature.

Or in the immortal words of one badly failing local builder who resembles a sentient oil slick, I’m “a sick human being, a punk, and an asshole.”

So, I got that going for me, which is nice.

Coupeville Sports hits its 10th birthday this coming Monday, Aug. 15, and this is the 9,381st article I’ve published.

Apparently, not all of them have been universally beloved…

Now, overall, my stats trend towards the positive. Otherwise, I likely wouldn’t still be doing this gig.

But, over the years, I have torqued off a few folks, especially those whose addresses fall inside the King’s, ATM, Klahowya, and South Whidbey school districts.

Sometimes, I knew it would happen. Other times I was genuinely surprised.

But getting paddled in the comments section (hopefully) keeps me on my toes, checking to see if the aggrieved have a point, or if they’re just lil’ crybabies hiding behind fake names.

Sometimes it’s the former, a lot of times it’s the latter.

Or at least that’s my story … and I’m sticking to it for today at least.

In honor of the last decade, I fished back through the comments section to collect some of the best angina thrown my way.



10 — Before posting this, you should make sure your facts are straight. It is sickening how a reporter would report this way not only on this game but other games this season very unprofessional.


9 — This article is not just “snarky” it is a piece written out of ignorance. What you call snarky has provided a snapshot of who you are and how you think.


8 — The ignorant have never spoken so confidently and so erroneously. Your career has obviously reached its zenith in Coupeville. Like those sour grapes?


7 — Who cares?????


6 — I understand you are upset about losing the game but at least have some class, you don’t post the refs names that is completely childish and immature.


5 — Those who can do, those who can’t blog. I guess that’s why we south enders, do.


4 — This blog has gone too far. What you post isn’t even funny.


3 — I am horrified that this article could be written this way. You make it seem as if the Coupeville team was some great team!


2 — Poopville sucks!! South Whidbey will shit-whip you.


1 — You guys are weak as hell. Grow up you children.

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Jim Yake, a three-sport standout at Coupeville High School from 1957-1961. (Photos courtesy Sharon Franzen)

Looking back
On the memory of
The dance we shared
‘Neath the stars above
For a moment
All the world was right
How could I have known
That you’d ever say goodbye…

Garth Brooks was born a year after the Coupeville High School Class of 1961 graduated, and his song The Dance didn’t hit the radio until ’89.

But, as the Wolves of yesteryear plan for their 60th reunion at the end of July, the words carry a certain poignancy.

The Class of ’61 went 32 students deep (26 boys and six girls) — the largest class to graduate on the prairie at that point since CHS officially became CHS in 1900.

While several class members have passed in the years since, current plans call for at least half the class showing up for the reunion.

Like too much of the athletic history of Coupeville, the achievements of the young men and women who walked the hallways at CHS in those days is hard to come by.

The Whidbey News-Times, which always favored Oak Harbor in the early days (he grumbled to himself…), has long since buried their archives, packaged up and shipped off-Island by the paper’s Canadian overlords.

What we do have is the school’s yearbooks, which, depending on the year, are either incredibly rich in detail, or not so much.

The 1961 edition of the Leloo Cly sort of falls in the middle, with photos and names, but not much info on win/loss records or stats.

Of the four boys sports (Title IX was still a decade away), baseball, coached by the legendary Bob Barker, is the only one to report its results in the yearbook.

Coupeville’s diamond men, led by seniors like Vin Sherman and Jim Yake, as well as stars of the future such as Dale Sherman and Denny Clark, finished second in a six-team league in the spring of ’61.

Granite Falls topped the conference at 7-1, followed by the Wolves (5-4), La Conner (5-5), Sultan (5-5), Darrington (4-4), and Tolt (1-8).

While earlier annuals listed baseball stats — ’61 grad John Larson smacked a team-high 20 hits the season before — this time around yearbook editors went the mysterious route.

So, seniors like Ed MacDonald and Bob Dennis pop up in a team photo, but their stats? Possibly lost to time, and fading memories.

The same goes for the tennis and football squads.

From other sources, I do have complete scoring stats for the basketball team, which featured five seniors on an 11-man unit.

Yake led the Wolves in scoring, pumping in 247 points, while fellow seniors Vance Huffman (203), Noel Criscuola (162), Pat Millenbach (126), and Roy Mattox (83) all chipped in to the effort.

Setting the net on fire.

The 60-61 basketball team, led by coach Bob Boushey, might not have known it at the time, but a skinny freshman with a big grin would actually prove to be the most-accomplished player of the era.

Denny Clark rippled the nets for five points as a (presumably) wide-eyed frosh while sharing floor time with Utz Conard, Steve Smith, and Co.

Then he promptly added 864 more over the next three seasons, which is why Clark currently sits as the #9 scorer all-time across 104 seasons of CHS boys basketball.

On the tennis court, senior Ray Edwards was among the players hefting wooden rackets, while eight Class of ’61 grads led the football team.

Vin Sherman, Yake, Larson, Mattox, and Millenbach were joined by John Wofford, Frank Tinius, and Jim Engle.

And what about the girls, you ask?

Back in ’61, in the absence of female sports teams, CHS had what was known as the GAA — the Girls Athletic Association.

Bob Barker, who capped his coaching career by working with Wolf girls basketball teams in the late ’80s, remembers it being a sort of hodge-podge.

“Now, if my memory is correct, (and there is some possibility that it isn’t 100%), the interested girls would get together after school once or twice a week and indulge in some type of sport activity under the direction of a supervisor, which was usually their physical education instructor,” he said.

“I vaguely remember field hockey, and volleyball as a couple of those sports.”

Five of the six female students to graduate in ’61 participated in the GAA at some point in their high school career, with Junelle Bohnsack the lone senior in the program photo that year.

Junelle Bohnsack

She was ever-busy, a member of the school’s drill team and Girls Club, part of the newspaper and yearbook staff, and a scorekeeper for both football and basketball.

Bohnsack’s senior bio also includes a notation for playing tennis her final three years, though there’s nary a girls netter photo to be found in the ’61 Leloo Cly.

Another mystery for another time.

Piece by piece, the tapestry of Coupeville athletics comes into focus, and this time out we offer up a big thank you to Sharon Franzen, Homecoming Queen, Honor Roll stalwart, and also the owner of the yearbook from which this info spilled.

Raise a glass for the Class of ’61 — still setting the world afire six decades after they earned their diplomas.

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I write the stories, they make the magic happen. (Photos by Shelli Trumbull, JohnsPhotos.net and moms everywhere)

It’s been interesting.

Seven years ago today, sick with a mystery illness and royally, self-righteously ticked, I launched this blog in a hail of exclamation points.

Aug. 15, 2012 was the death of one thing, and the birth of another.

The Coupeville Examiner, where my movie column ran for 15 years, where hundreds upon hundreds of my freelance sports articles landed, had been sold … to its rival.

In the days right after the sale, all of the bylines on my online stories (my only “payment” for many of the articles) vanished, never to return.

I was not amused, and I wasn’t tactful about it. In print or in person.

The launch of Coupeville Sports gave me the freedom I had been seeking. Freedom to edit myself, to write about whatever I wanted, to post at 2:30 in the morning if I chose.

And yet, in the early days and months, instead of enjoying this new freedom, I lashed out a lot.

At my former editor, at the newspapers in town, at rival fan bases.

Once or twice it was justified, other times it was just a way to be an ass.

It drove readership upward, but sometimes backfired.

Though some of the biggest fires I had to put out were started for other reasons.

South Whidbey High School’s Athletic Director threatened to bar me from his school’s gym, after READER COMMENTS got out of hand on a story about the Falcon’s best basketball player walking away from the sport.

The girls basketball coach at King’s said I glorified violence for praising a Wolf player’s “lethal elbows” in a story, while Archbishop Thomas Murphy fans were content to just tell me I was a moron. Frequently.

To the first, go cash your cushy private school paycheck and lighten up.

To the second, you’re probably right.

Meanwhile, Coupeville Athletic Director Lori Stolee booted me from the CHS press box before a football game after I encouraged Wolf students to break the rules and sneak vuvuzela horns into the stadium.

She was right to do it.

We sat down a couple of days later and had a long talk, one in which I came away with a completely different perspective on her job, and the pressures she faced.

It’d be nice to say I completely transformed that day, but I didn’t.

Over time, though, as my illness faded (while never being properly diagnosed), I began to listen more to Stolee and CHS athletic jack of all trades Kim Andrews, who was my frequent press box companion.

“You can be better,” Kim would say. “You have this outlet and it’s only going to be what you make of it.

“So be better.”

Or something like that.

And so I did change, at least a bit.

I reached out and offered an olive branch to South Whidbey, wrote positive articles on some of its athletes, tried to be less flippant.

The change wasn’t 100%, as I would later bob and weave and poke fans and players at Klahowya during our time together in the Olympic League.

There too, though, I learned some lessons, as Eagle soccer star Izzy Severns and football standout James Gherna called me on the carpet, offering solid constructive criticism, and the occasional (written) kick in the rear.

As I hit the seven-year anniversary of Coupeville Sports today, I would like to hope I’m in a better place.

This is article #7,123, and, while my blog isn’t going to please everyone every time, it is in a much-more positive place than it was seven years ago.

It is largely the work of one man (though the help of photographers like John Fisken and Shelli Trumbull has been invaluable), and it will always reflect that.

It can be messy, often biased, sometimes entertaining, sometimes still infuriating (I am quite sure) — many different things to many different people.

If I’m smart, I, and the blog, will continue to evolve, continue to listen to the input of others, and continue to seek that sometimes-elusive balance between being cheeky and irreverent, and just being an ass.

Coupeville Sports is unique in many ways. None of the schools the Wolves play against have anything similar in place.

Many towns have newspapers, some of which go into more depth than others.

But here on Whidbey, a rock in the middle of the water stuck way up in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest, local athletes, coaches, parents, and fans have coverage many big city rivals don’t experience.

The News-Times and Record offer Jim Waller, my high school journalism teacher, and a man who knows a billion times more about prep sports than I ever will.

He’s the voice of reason.

And then, over here in the corner, you have me doing my own thing, like a Dennis the Menace balancing precariously on top of a fence, throwing rocks at your window at 2 AM, screaming, “Guess what I just heard?????”

How long will it go on? Your guess is as good as mine.

I’ve thought about quitting twice, but am pretty locked-in these days.

So, I might make that run to article #10,000 after all, or I might go herd goats in Yugoslavia tomorrow. Never know.

I think I’ve found a pretty good groove, where the positive aspects of the blog outnumber the negatives, and there’s a steady mix of current stuff and historical stuff.

Though, if I start slipping, that’s why you, the readers, are here – to keep me in check. Positive comments are great, but never hesitate to tell me when I’ve cheesed you off.

I don’t work for the school district and they have little say over what or how I write, other than the fact current CHS Athletic Director Willie Smith can boot me off school grounds if he ever chooses.

Something he likes me to remind me of, with a big grin, every once in awhile when I send him too many emails in a single day.

Love the blog? Hate the blog? Come talk to me and don’t waste his time.

Coupeville Sports has morphed over time, and will likely continue to do so, based largely on what the readers want.

Some things won’t change.

I’ve never had a paywall, and never will.

I understand why many do, but I’ve taken a vow of semi-poverty, it appears, so, if you want to read for free, so be it.

Though, if you like what I’m doing, and want to help, you can buy an ad or make a donation. But that’s your call.

Ads are $100 and good for the lifetime of the blog, which means if you had been in back on day one, you would have already had seven years of advertising.

Donations can be given to me in person at games, mailed to 165 Sherman, Coupeville, WA, 98239, or dropped here:


And so we roll on into the great unknown of year eight.

Will it be unlimited juice boxes and gold stars, or frequent visits to detention?

Only one way to know – keep reading.

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   A small fraction of those who make Coupeville Sports what it is. (Photos by Shelli Trumbull, John Fisken, Charlotte Young, Joe Lippo and Sylvia Arnold)

Coupeville Sports is old enough to go to kindergarten.

Born on Aug. 15, 2012, this blog turns five years old Tuesday with much fanfare.

OK, maybe a little fanfare.

Um, any fanfare? Cake maybe?

Bueller? Bueller??

What a long, strange trip it’s been, from the early days, when I was scrappy and argumentative and fond of cheesing off South Whidbey and ATM and King’s and the Canuck-owned “local” newspapers to now, when I’m responsible and serene and … and … what do you mean Klahowya is still mad?!?!

Well, if nothing else, the past five years has shown that “reading” and “reading comprehension” don’t always go hand in hand.

Or that I can be a really annoying pain in the tushie…

One of the two. Probably the latter.

Anyway, having survived through 5,430 articles (“It’s not the years, it’s the mileage…”), I’m still going strong, my readership numbers continue to grow and, hopefully, I’ve found a groove.

This five-years-and-counting journey began because I was mad the Coupeville Examiner was sold and all my (hundreds upon hundreds of) stories were erased from its web site.

Today, that matters far less (or at least I say so in public) and it’s much more about throwing a spotlight on others, uncovering history and documenting day-to-day life in Cow Town.

If you look back at the beginnings of Coupeville Sports, some things were in place from the word go, while others took time to develop.

My first story — “Hark! Fall Sports approach!!!” — was a scintillating look at CHS sports schedules. Scintillating, I say.

Way to come out of the gate, guns blazing, David.

The double exclamation point in the headline, which drives some bonkers, was already present, though, for reasons, unknown, I actually went for a triple hit that first time out.

Four, if you count the exclamation point after “hark.”

What wasn’t present was a photo, as it took me until the third story before I realized how much pics would elevate even the most mundane piece.

My habit of putting people’s names in bold also wasn’t present at the start, not appearing until article #7 and not becoming standard until article #20.

There are those who will shake their head wisely, regard you like you’re a small child, and tell you exclamation points in the headlines and bold face names is a crime against journalism.

Those people need to loosen up. It’s easier to sit comfortably when the stick ain’t crammed up where it’s not supposed to go.

From the start, I have always regarded newspapers as the father sitting in his leather reading chair, puffing on a pipe as he slowly turns the pages.

Every once in a while, he lowers the paper, arches an eyebrow and tells you the scores.

Meanwhile, Coupeville Sports is the kid who’s crawled up to the top of the fence outside your window, and, as he’s tottering back and forth, screams, “Hey, guess what I heard?!?!?!?”

Then, seconds, after dispensing all the juicy gossip and wildly overblown hyperbole, he falls and lands on his head, before bouncing back up and staggering away, waving his arms over his head, “Rocky“-style.

I’m still on my feet, even if my head is pretty lumpy at this point, able to gaze back at where I came from, and look forward to the future.

The first person whose name appeared on this blog? Tony Maggio, who was entering his first season as CHS football coach.

First person to appear in a photo? Caleb Valko, who would quickly become my first breakout star.

First person to get a feature story? Little League state champ turned Wolf football star Wade Schaef.

First game to be covered in Coupeville Sports? A 23-18 loss on the gridiron to Bellevue Christian, five days before the 2012-2013 school year began.

Brett Arnold ran for 166 yards on 19 carries, while Bryce Fleming scored all three of Coupeville’s touchdowns. Gunnar Langvold was the QB, Nick Streubel recovered a fumble and Josh Bayne made off with a pick.

First time I ticked someone off? Chastising ATM for firing former OHHS coach Dave Ward.

The richer and more smugly self-satisfied they are, the thinner skin they have.

First time Coupeville Sports was ejected from the local press box?

I blame Brian Norris and his love of sweet, sweet vuvuzela horns. Or my own lack of self control.

One of the two. Probably the latter.

First (and only) time I had to shut down the comments on a story? Hayley Newman walking away from the South Whidbey girls basketball team two games before the playoffs.

Of course, telling Falcon fans I was “taking away their crayons” probably didn’t do much to calm the situation.

Live and learn.

Averaging more than 1,000 articles a year for five years, I’ve had some strong articles and a few that … maybe should have been thought out more carefully.

I’ve survived a short-lived, whiny attack from another “blog” — https://southwhidbeysportsblog.wordpress.com/ — the final death of The Coupeville Examiner (a sad day) and the agony of those rare times where I had absolutely nothing of substance to write about.

Which didn’t stop me from nattering on.

Where do we go from here?

It would be nice to say I’ll stay on a responsible, mature path, but we all know, at some point, I’m likely to say the wrong thing and inflame a rival fan base.

Especially if it snows anywhere around the grounds of Klahowya High School…

So strap in, hold on and keep your wits about you as we head into year six.

It’s going to be a bumpy ride, and I would have it no other way.

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