“I need a job ASAP,” former Portland State linebacker Ian Sluss recently lamented on Twitter. After wrapping up his social science degree in winter term, Sluss is as uncertain about his future as many other graduates.
Last week, as the wind whipped down the Park Blocks, I strolled up to a white Volvo and slid into the passenger seat. Behind the wheel was Paul Raglione, a 26-year-old junior at Portland State who walked away from the life of a major league pitching prospect with the Kansas City Royals five years ago. As we cruised away from the PSU campus into the Southwest hills, Raglione opened up about his past, why he left baseball and his desire to get a second chance at the pros.
When they faced one another in the opening game of the round-robin stage of the 2013 Memorial Cup, the Halifax Mooseheads spotted the Portland Winterhawks an early 3–1 lead before responding with a five-goal onslaught in the second period, ultimately prevailing 7–4.
Every year, as Memorial Day passes and the last days of May move us closer to summer, I find myself reminiscing about the zenith of my athletic career. Sixteen years ago, a single misstep prevented me from earning national face time on ESPN as my adolescent dreams crumbled under the sobering weight of premature defeat.
A few weeks before Manchester United wrapped up another English Premier League title, Sir Alex Ferguson announced that he was resigning from his managerial duties after more than a quarter century leading the Red Devils.
Twenty-two minutes into Saturday’s Memorial Cup opener against Halifax, the Portland Winterhawks held a 3–1 lead after Ty Rattie sliced through the Moosehead defense for a power play goal. By the second intermission, however, any hope of a Winterhawks victory had evaporated as Halifax center Nathan MacKinnon’s hat trick spurred a five-goal second period that propelled the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League champions to a 7–4 win.
Watching Mac Carruth and the Portland Winterhawks finish off the Edmonton Oil Kings to become WHL champions on Sunday, I started to think about the potential professional futures of these young players. And as I considered the possibilities of the long, fruitful NHL careers ahead of the skaters who had just claimed the Ed Chynoweth Cup, I finally found something to appreciate about the most recent lockout in the NHL.
After two straight years of coming tantalizingly close to winning the WHL championship only to be thwarted at the final hurdle each time, the Portland Winterhawks reached the summit at last on Sunday. Missing out on a prime opportunity to finish off the Edmonton Oil Kings at the Rose Garden Arena in Game 5 on Friday, Portland traveled north to Rexall Place, the site of the Winterhawks’ heartbreak in Game 7 of the finals last year. This time, Portland was able to fight through the noise and a dangerous Edmonton squad to claim the Ed Chynoweth Cup in a 5–1 victory. In doing so, Portland booked its first trip to the Memorial Cup since 1998.
Everyone has that friend who takes fantasy football or fantasy baseball a little too seriously, poring over reams of data to select the perfect lineup for achieving vicarious glory. This is probably the same friend who spent summer vacations indoors as a kid, rifling through baseball cards and sifting through statistics rather than getting outside and experiencing the sport firsthand.