Camp Follower: The Cheney Diaries, Part Two

Now that the Seahawks have announced their 2006 Training Camp schedule, we thought it might be fun to take a look back at the infamous Seahawks.NET Caravan to Cheney, as it rolled across our fair state in August of 2005. In the second of a three-part series, Doug Farrar continues the recollections of his lost weekend near the Palouse Prairie.

Day Two in Cheney, and the hits just keep on comin’ for Editor Doug. Hits on the golf course (“where’d my #$%^&*( ball go THIS time?”), hits at the Seahawks’ Saturday Scrimmage (“Kerry…Kerry…are you still with us?”), and hits that emanate from Karaoke machines (“”Ooooooh, it’s Cold Gin time again!”). How he was able to manage all this after imbibing a nasty beverage called “Kick-a-Poo” the night before is a mystery to just about everyone.

Note. You can read Part One of the Cheney Diaries here.

“Gunga…Gunga Galunga!”
Saturday, August 6th, 2005 (morning)

When we last left the intrepid .NET crew on Friday night in Spokane, they were on their way back to their respective hotel rooms after a fine party hosted by Les “PithyRadish” Norton, his lovely wife Darlene, and their three mini-Dobermans.

Getting to bed after midnight, with Doctor Norton’s Medicinal Madness corrupting our livers, wasn’t the source of our feeling of impending doom.

We had an 8:08 teetime at The Fairways at West Terrace in Cheney.

Surprisingly, Messrs Breda, Utz, and Yours Very Truly were at the pro shop in plenty of time. We met up with .NETHeads Joe “DrCool” and Johnny “Hawkboi” Mac, as well as Johnny’s friend, whose name escapes me.

Hey…I said we were awake. Coherent is a bit much to ask.

It’s only fair to report that the respective golf expertise levels of the .NET crew were wildly divergent. Steve Utz and I have graduated to the level of Golf Club Ownership (and not much else), while Senor Breda was carrying the rented bag (and showing admirable potential for a beginner). As we headed off in our foursome with DrCool, and Johnny and friend in the second slot, I suddenly noticed something that gave me pause. DrCool had TaylorMade clubs. He seemed to know what he was doing, and the ball actually went, more or less, where he wanted it to go.

I hate guys like that.

Actually, the good Doctor is a very pleasant (and patient) fellow. And I must admit that the eight-month gap between Saturday morning and the last time I hit that little white ball had me very worried, until I started playing out of my mind for the first six holes of our nine-hole expedition. I’m a duffer at best, and birdies are rare for me. To have two pars and a birdie after six holes was practically a revolution…so much so that it didn’t even matter when my game came crashing back to earth from the seventh hole on.

Besides, we were having an outstanding morning. Good friends, impeccable weather, and a very nice course. The Fairways is a old-school links layout, with greens fees at $16 for nine holes…on a WEEKEND. In Bellevue, 16 bones will get you two buckets of range balls and a dirty look. No doubt I’ll be bring the clubs back next year.

Clockwise from top left: DrCool, dfarrar777, Sutz12 and Aros redefine the very game of golf. Of course, that definition is unprintable.

Saturday, August 6th, 2005 (afternoon)

After our fun on the links, it was time to head back to the EWU campus for the Seahawks Extravaganza, the team’s Fan Fest. We arrived at 11:30 and found our way immediately to the lunch line, where the team had set up a good spread at a reasonable price. Appearances by the Blue Thunder Drum Corps and the SeaGals (*sigh*) added to the atmosphere. Emcee Mike Brown announced the arrival of Mike Holmgren at noon. Holmgren spoke to the fans for a few minutes, exhorting the Seahawk faithful to “hang in there” and promising “the team we deserve”.

This is as good a time as any to mention the difference I saw in the man. After the demolition of the Whitsitt regime (and the origin of Tim Ruskell’s first team presidency), Holmgren seems, from a distance, to be more balanced and focused than before. This was notable both on the practice field and during his speech. I mention this because I know that many fans (including me) are still waiting to see the Holmgren that brought Green Bay football back to life in the 1990’s…and all I can say from my vantage point is that this is the year in which you’ll have the best shot to see it if it’s still there. He now has a system in place that predicates total team success, so the onus is on him to insure that the intangibles put together by the new front office pay dividends on gameday.

Todd and I also met up with Mike Flood, the Seahawks’ Vice President/Community Relations. Mike is a very fan-centric football executive who has always been a friend to Seahawks.NET, and it was certainly a pleasure to see him.

One of the highlights of our trip was the opportunity to meet up with Rob Rang of a few minutes later. Those of you reading this who are regular visitors to the content side of Seahawks.NET know how much Rob has contributed to the site with his draft chats, personnel insight and inside perspective. It was great for myself, Todd, Steve. Mark Olsen and The Hawkstorian himself to connect with Mr. Rang for about half an hour at EWU.

The “Big Show” connects with fans at EWU’s central campus during the Seahawks Extravaganza on Saturday afternoon.

Mike Flood, the Seahawks’ Vice President/Community Relations, poses with a custom helmet created by Seahawks.NET’s Todd Breda . Mike was kind enough to provide the authentic logo decals.

Mike Flood, the Seahawks’ Vice President/Community Relations, holds up the Sea Hawkers Booster Club banner along with 2004 Fan of the Year Traci Williams. Traci founded the Military Sea Hawkers chapter, which brings the feelings of gameday excitement and fan fellowship to brave men and women deployed around the world. It was an honor to meet her.

As exciting as this all was, the highlights of the trip were still to come. In tomorrow’s conclusion to “The Cheney Diaries”, we’ll revisit the Seahawks’ scrimmage at Woodward Field, and the unmitigated horror of .NET Karaoke Night!

Doug Farrar is the Editor-in-Chief of Seahawks.NET. Feel free to e-mail him here. Top Stories