Posts Tagged ‘birthday’

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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Katrina McGranahan, a killer with a soaring spirit. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Already a star, even before she stepped into the hallways at Coupeville High School.

An athlete who enjoyed every moment she was given.

Katrina McGranahan entered as a star, and exited as a legend.

The Coupeville High School senior, who celebrates her 18th birthday today, excelled at every sport she played, even the one she didn’t really enjoy.

And, while she gave up basketball shortly into her high school career, after dominating in middle school, McGranahan embraced stardom and a role as a quiet leader in both volleyball and softball.

On the court, she broke through as a freshman, making her varsity debut late in the season and flashing signs of the big-time power hitter she would become.

For the next three seasons, McGranahan was front and center, an All-Conference pick, a league MVP, an invaluable contributor on squads which won back-to-back league titles and returned to state after a 14-year absence.

Her kills at the net were delivered with precise power, her blocks with high-flying grace and her service aces with an extra bit of zing.

As good as she was on the volleyball court, it is softball which holds her heart, and the diamond is where Killer Kat has truly soared.

A dangerous hitter who combines power, an ability to hit to all fields, speed and smarts, McGranahan has been Coupeville’s most consistent weapon since day one of her freshman campaign.

When she’s at shortstop, she displays a gun for an arm and a nose for always tracking down even the hardest-hit or weirdest-hit balls.

One of the best plays I have ever witnessed on the prairie came courtesy McGranahan, who, battling epic winds, started to retreat as a pop up corkscrewed over her head.

Then the prairie breeze slammed into the ball in mid-air like a runaway freight train, the ball came to a dead stop in mid-flight, made a little scream and pitched forward, careening towards the Earth.

McGranahan spun in mid-stride, launched herself face-first into oblivion and somehow, against all odds and most of the laws of the known universe, reached the ball with the tip of her glove.

That she touched the ball was a miracle.

That she somehow speared said ball was extraordinary.

That she held onto said ball, pulling it back into her body as she slammed into the unforgiving infield dirt, and completed the play, refusing to let the ball separate itself from her glove?

That made even the impartial umpire behind her scream like a little girl who has just gotten a pony.

And, you know, with all this talk of shortstop, McGranahan rarely played there.

Because, from day one to the final moments of her prep career, she was the young woman who reached out, game after game, took the ball and strode into the pitcher’s circle, ready to face whatever came her way.

Instead of easing into the role while being an understudy as a freshman, McGranahan was thrown into the fire right away as veteran hurler McKayla Bailey rehabbed an injury.

Katrina never blinked, never hesitated. She snapped off strikes as a 9th grader and was still snapping off strikes as a 12th grader, and all that changed was who was behind the plate to catch her pitches.

Over the past six years, in all of her sports, I have witnessed her deliver big moment after big moment, capture epic wins and fight to the final moment in agonizing losses.

I have seen her smile many times as an athlete, and I have seen her cry a few times as well, and the fact there was many more smiles than tears makes me happy.

If Katrina had never played a sport, her strength, spirit, warmth and class would have still made her stand out.

But she was an athlete, one of the best I have written about, a young woman who cared deeply for her teammates, a warrior who fought for every play but had the grace to accept the outcome, good or bad.

As she moves on to play college ball, my enduring image of Killer Kat will be of her pacing in the pitcher’s circle, her fingers kneading the ball, the game on the line, and yet, amid the tension, a huge smile on her face.

She was a killer, but one who was enjoying every moment.

So, today, we wish Miss McGranahan a happy birthday (and much cake) and we officially welcome her into the company of her fellow legends, inducting her into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame.

After this, you’ll find her name up at the top of the blog, under the Legends tab.

There was never a doubt she would end up here.

I knew it from the first time I watched her play in middle school, and the last six years have simply reinforced my first opinion.

Sometimes it’s nice to be right.

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   Fred Farris has his Central Whidbey Little League Minors softball squad rolling along. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

One run for every birthday candle.

OK, maybe not, but close.

Playing on mom Jennifer’s birthday Wednesday, Chloe Marzocca sparkled in the pitcher’s circle, while her teammates rained down runs in support.

By the time the younger Marzocca and Co. were done, the Central Whidbey Little League Minors softball squad had crushed the host North Whidbey Dragons 15-6.

Chloe Marzocca started and tossed two shut-down innings for the Hammerheads, while Mia Farris came on to close the game with two solid frames of her own.

CWLL scored the maximum five runs in each of the first two innings to roll out to a 10-1 lead and never looked back.

Taylor Brotemarkle, who “played awesome at shortstop” according to coach Fred Farris, paced the Hammerheads with two hits.

She was joined on the hit parade by Teagan Calkins, Madison McMillan, Chloe Marzocca, Mayleen Weatherford and Naosha Rose, who each added a base-knock.

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