HARMELING: Ditch the grilled cheese

THIS IS MY third attempt at an article I won't actually have to eat after the next game. Just when I start to believe this team has figured it out, the loss to Oregon. Then Stanford. And Arizona State. But this article isn't about looking back and thinking about what could have been. And I refuse to believe that the season is lost -- we just have to get rid of the grilled cheese and tomato soup.

What the heck am I talking about? Hey, don't worry. I'll tie it all together by the end.

As fans, we can be frustrated, upset, disappointed. But the one thing we can't do is quit.

As fans we must not become apathetic. That is not what the Cougar Nation is about, and no matter how frustrating it has been thus far, us Cougar fans have to push the chips all in. Folding can never be an option for us. We've got a beautiful house and we'd be nuts to sell it when the market is down. Let's stay invested and see what happens when the market swings north. We'll be happy we kept it.

I understand the temptation to withdraw our emotional investment from the team this year. Without question, we have lost to teams when we are working with the superior talent. I have heard, "Well, maybe we're just not as talented as we thought". I do not believe that.

Imagine Reggie Moore at his best, insistent on getting into the lane, creating for others, while also casting in three pointers and playing with an edge. Now picture Klay Thompson going on an insane scoring binge. Marcus Capers scrapping the roof with the top of his head. DeAngelo Casto patrolling the paint, rebounding, and finishing strong. Faisal Aden letting the game come to him -- not forcing, not taking bad shots, just scoring within the normal flow of a game.

We're playing with a stacked deck, folks. And that is probably at the root of our frustration. Because we know how good WSU can be!

But the reality is, in watching these crucial games down the stretch, many times it has appeared as if they might be disinterested in the outcome of the game. Thankfully, I came up with the solution last night as I took my chicken nuggets out of the oven.

Okay, well it's not a solution but it's a metaphor to explain the frustration. My entrée of choice was everything I wanted it to be. Why? Because that's all I'm capable of. But what if I was married to Rachel Ray? I sit down to the table-and Voila!, my wife displays her masterpiece. Grilled cheese and tomato soup.

Am I disappointed? Yeah, and I'm a little ticked off. Because this is Rachel Ray-Harmeling and I know she's capable of far more. I'm probably going to begin wondering why she didn't use her talents in the kitchen to her advantage. Sure, she may try to throw together a dessert to smooth things over, but it will be too little too late, the same way we've found out in many of WSU's losses when we've spent most of the game on cruise control.

But the irony of this scenario is that this team is cooking the meal for themselves. As fans, we assume they want the 7-course meal for themselves. We sure do.

Maybe they'll just have to taste it first before they crave it. I'm not sure. People are still trying to figure out the whole chicken or the egg thing, after all.

As for that game on Sunday, my only thought is that we better have a plan for Matthew Bryan-Amaning.

And I sure hope we're sick of tomato soup.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Daven Harmeling was a mainstay on the Washington State basketball team – and a fixture on the Pac-10 All-Academic team – during the most successful three-year stretch in Cougar history. Part of Dick Bennett's stellar recruiting class of 2004, this Grand Junction, Colo., product completed his eligibility in 2009 and now is in Vancouver, Wash., running clinics for Dan Dickau Basketball, coaching high school and AAU ball, and working as a substitute teacher. He writes a periodic column for Cougfan.com during the hoops season.

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