I’ve known this tidbit for two weeks but it is just too much fun to keep to myself.

It begins with Boise State offensive coordinator Zak Hill looking to make the jump to a better gig. So he’s off to an interview while the Broncos are preparing to play Washington in the Las Vegas Bowl.

First Hill interviews with Arizona State for the offensive coordinator post. He hits it off with Sun Devils coach Herm Edwards — duh, who doesn’t? — but doesn’t agree to take the job on the spot. That’s fine with Herm. No pressure at all. Herm tells Hill that they want him but to take his time and let him know.

Then comes interview No. 2 for Hill — with Washington. You know, Boise State’s bowl opponent. The Huskies just named a new coach in Jimmy Lake and he is going to fire offensive coordinator Bush Hamdan. Of course, outgoing coach Chris Petersen is still running the team through the bowl game — with Hamdan preparing the offensive game plan.

The coaches meetings on the lakefront must have been just a bit awkward.

So Hill interviews for the Washington offensive coordinator job and that one isn’t as care-free as interviewing with Herm. Washington wants an IMMEDIATE ANSWER. Like right now. Even though they don’t have an opening. Yeah, weird. Hill tells Washington that he can’t give an immediate answer.

Sooooo, Hill ends up accepting the Arizona State gig. He informs Boise State coach Bryan Harsin and it doesn’t go well at all. Harsin is very short, very curt. Tells Hill he doesn’t want him around.

The following day, Boise State athletic director Curt Apsey calls Hill. He wants to know if there is anything they can do to keep Hill at Boise State. Hill says no and that he feels taking the Arizona State job is the right move for him.

Then comes bowl day and Boise State’s offense looks unprepared. Looks like a Pop Warner operation against a Pac-12 program and Washington rolls to a 38-7 victory.

Harsin is big-time mad. He doesn’t take responsibility for the poor offensive showing. And that comes as no surprise.

The fun continues the day after the bowl. About 16 hours after Washington pummels Boise State, Lake fires Hamdan and tight ends coach Jordan Paopao. This comes on Lake’s first official day as head coach. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out, Bush.

The only thing that would have been more fun would be if Hill had agreed to the Washington job. Would Washington have stalled for a week or 10 days so it wouldn’t look like it was a done deal before the bowl game? Would Hill have kept it quiet and run Boise State’s offense against his upcoming employer? Would Hill have told Harsin he was leaving … and leaving for Washington?

Oh man, imagine how curt Harsin would have been during that conversation. We would need secret videotaping of that back-and-forth chat.

Regardless, interviewing the offensive coordinator of your bowl opponent PRIOR to the game and PRIOR to firing your own offensive coordinator is a very peculiar way of conducting business.

Saturday might mark the first time that the Las Vegas Bowl is a highly anticipated event.

And it is all because of the two coaches.

Outgoing Washington coach Chris Petersen coaches against Boise State — his former program — in his final game as Huskies’ coach.

He’ll be pitted against Broncos coach Bryan Harsin, his replacement at Boise State. The two spent 10 seasons together at Boise State, the last five with Petersen as head coach.

They were the masterminds of the wild Fiesta Bowl trickery when then-offensive coordinator Harsin went for the all-time trifecta in crazy plays that worked in the 43-42 overtime upset of Oklahoma.

You may recall the hook-and-lateral for a touchdown on fourth-and-18 to force overtime. Or the call for a receiver to take a direct snap and throw a touchdown pass in overtime. And, of course, the famous Statue of Liberty play for the winning two-point conversion.

Pretty sure star running back Ian Johnson, who scored the decisive points, did the proposal to his cheerleader girlfriend on national TV on his own.

Both Petersen and Harsin were doing the ‘we’re not the story’ nonsense leading up to the game. Remember, these guys are major control freaks who are used to manipulating people and figured they could get their way.

But think real hard: Why else would you turn on the Las Vegas Bowl?

Not to see Petersen’s highly underachieving 7-5 squad, that’s for sure.

And teams with 12-1 records — like Boise State — aren’t supposed to be found in minor bowl games played before Christmas.

So we’re tuning in to see Petersen versus Harsin. Will Coach Pete go out with a win over his former school? Or will Harsin out-do him like when the two coaches met on the blue turf of Boise in 2015?

Yes, for real, the Las Vegas Bowl is actually worth watching.

Thanks to the two coaches.

Here is the stellar preview — https://fieldlevelmedia.com/latest-stories/?storyId=56915

 

NFL

Raiders-Chargers

The Chargers are playing their final game in the miniature soccer stadium in Carson and that means it has already been three seasons since leaving the paradise of San Diego. The Raiders, of course, are departing their sewage-filled stadium (nope, not talking about the Black Hole folks) for the 115-degree temperatures of Las Vegas.

Here is the stellar preview — https://www.scoresandstats.com/previews/football/nfl/raiders-vs-chargers-preview-and-predictions/

 

Cardinals-Seahawks

The Seahawks are one of four 11-3 teams in the NFC and there is no telling whether they are a Super Bowl contender or a postseason pretender. What the Cardinals are is no secret of course and that’s not changing anytime soon.

Here is the stellar preview — https://www.scoresandstats.com/previews/football/nfl/cardinals-vs-seahawks-preview-and-predictions/

 

Packers-Vikings

The Monday night game should be a good one with the Packers one game ahead in the NFC North. The Vikings also are headed to the playoffs and they look like a dangerous team to me.

Here is the stellar preview — https://fieldlevelmedia.com/latest-stories/?storyId=57106

If you’ve ever lived in San Diego, you know the thought of someday living on the East Coast is horrifying.

And trust me, Stephen Strasburg has noticed what a nightmare it is to go from sensational San Diego to the bitter Washington D.C. area.

This matters because Strasburg, fresh off his classic World Series MVP performance in helping the Washington Nationals win their first title, can opt out of his contract by Saturday night. He has four years and $100 million remaining on the original seven-year, $175 million deal.

There are two primary reasons Strasburg should opt out:

1) Use his leverage to get a more lucrative deal from the Nationals.

2) To beat it from the East Coast and hope to play out West … you know, like in his hometown of San Diego.

Strasburg was a big fan of the San Diego Padres as a kid and Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn was his idol.

He later pitched at San Diego State with Gwynn as his head coach and developed into the No. 1 overall pick by the Nationals in 2009.

You may have noticed the Padres could use a starting pitcher, especially an ace with the arsenal of Strasburg.

Coming home would give him the opportunity to pitch for the team he loved AND make wheelbarrows full of money.

And yeah, he could wake up every morning in 70-degree weather. None of that East Coast humidity nonsense and none of that scraping ice off the car windows gibberish.

Sounds like opting out and relocating 3,000 miles away is the easy move.

Here is a stellar look at the Nationals’ upcoming decisions (it is also in the New York Times, a site where I have exceeded the story limit) — https://fieldlevelmedia.com/latest-stories/?storyId=52152

 

NFL

Ravens-Patriots

I’ve been hitting the Greenbelt for exercise and/or running errands on Sunday nights but here is finally a time to stay indoors. Lamar Jackson’s special skills have turned the Ravens into the NFL’s second-best offense and the Patriots have the league’s top defense. Here is the stellar preview — https://fieldlevelmedia.com/latest-stories/?storyId=52112

Packers-Chargers

The big question here is will Green Bay fans make up 85 percent of the attendance at the small soccer stadium in Los Angeles or will it be over 90 percent? The Chargers fired offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt and made him the scapegoat when he all know the Spanos Goofs are the problem. — https://www.scoresandstats.com/previews/football/NFL/packers-vs-chargers-preview-and-predictions-/

Buccaneers-Seahawks

Jameis Winston has thrown seven interceptions the past two games as it becomes clearer Tampa Bay needs to go in a new direction at quarterback next year. Russell Wilson has 17 touchdowns against one interception — and he entered the league with a loss less hype than Winston but is about 300 times better. — https://www.scoresandstats.com/previews/football/nfl/buccaneers-vs-seahawks-preview-and-predictions/

 

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Boise State-San Jose State

Boise State has never lost to the Spartans and that won’t change this time. San Jose State is forever famous in my mind from the time we did the postgame interviews there in a pop-up tent behind the end zone stands. For real. Here is the stellar longform preview — https://fieldlevelmedia.com/latest-stories/?storyId=52027 … or if you prefer, the stellar shorter preview — https://www.scoresandstats.com/previews/football/ncaaf/boise-state-broncos-vs-san-jose-state-spartans-preview-and-predictions/

Utah-Washington

Chris Petersen is on his way to a five-loss season — and getting paid a lot of money to deliver a record that many less-publicized coaches could deliver. Utah typically has troubles beating the Huskies but its defense has been incredible lately so this year might be different. Here is the stellar preview — https://www.scoresandstats.com/previews/football/NCAAF/utah-utes-vs-washington-huskies-preview-and-predictions-/

NBA

Jazz-Kings

Mike Conley made more baskets (11) in his fifth game with the Utah Jazz in his first four games combined (nine). Sacramento is horrible under first-year coach Luke Walton and I’m pretty sure their defense couldn’t stop you and four of your neighbors from scoring. Here is the stellar preview — https://fieldlevelmedia.com/latest-stories/?storyId=52179

 

This reveals how ridiculous scheduling is in the SEC: Alabama and South Carolina play Saturday for the first time since 2010. Since Alabama lost that game, perhaps there is a reason.

Oh yeah, the next meeting isn’t until 2024.

So two teams in the same conference will play each other just once during a 13-season stretch. That is embarrassing.

But these same jokers don’t mind playing teams like Charleston Southern and Wofford every November.

The best part is that Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban – who hasn’t experienced a happy day since he was age 7 – loves to complain about the schedule.

Good thing he coaches in a conference that is just as backward as he happens to be.

Time to be a grown man Nick and tell your conference that the league’s scheduling policies are asinine.

If a conference can’t figure out how to make some of its members play each other more than once in a 13-year stretch, it is time to boot some teams out, pump up the number of conference games or cut out the November body-bag games.

Or perhaps do all three.

Here is the stellar preview — https://www.scoresandstats.com/previews/football/ncaaf/alabama-crimson-tide-vs-south-carolina-gamecocks-preview-and-predictions/

 

OTHER COLLEGE FOOTBALL 

PORTLAND STATE at BOISE STATE

This game involves an FCS team and is on ESPN2. LOL. Perhaps ESPN’s schedule maker got his or her start in the SEC. Here is the stellar long form preview — https://fieldlevelmedia.com/latest-stories/?storyId=47945 — and the stellar capsule-like preview — https://www.scoresandstats.com/previews/football/ncaaf/portland-state-vikings-vs-boise-state-broncos-preview-and-predictions/

HAWAII at WASHINGTON

Hawaii is 2-0 against Pac-12 teams hoping to make it three straight. Either Hawaii is kinda good or the Pac-12 is once-again bad. Probably the latter. Here is the stellar preview — https://www.scoresandstats.com/previews/football/ncaaf/hawaii-rainbow-warriors-vs-washington-huskies-preview-and-predictions/

 

NFL

49ERS at BENGALS

Some columnist ordered the Bengals to get rid of Andy Dalton a few weeks ago. Cincinnati ignored the advice. Interesting to see Dalton pass for a career-high 418 yards in his first game in coach Zac Taylor’s progressive system. Here is the stellar preview — https://sports.yahoo.com/bengals-ponder-passing-attack-against-061052114.html 

BROWNS at JETS

Sam Darnold of the Jets has mononucleosis and most of us don’t want to know how he got it. Then there’s Baker Mayfield of the Browns doing a lot of yapping and his team loses its opener by 30. Here is the stellar preview — https://fieldlevelmedia.com/latest-stories/?storyId=48112

CHARGERS at LIONS

Melvin who? Holdout running backs can be forgotten quickly. Austin Ekeler made it harder for Gordon to get his cash. And hey, the Lions, the team that blew an 18-point lead in their opener and needed an overtime field goal to attain a tie. Here is the stellar preview — https://www.scoresandstats.com/previews/football/nfl/chargers-vs-lions-preview-and-predictions/ 

SEAHAWKS at STEELERS

Pittsburgh sure won’t miss helmet-head Antonio Brown in the locker room but it remains to be seen if the offense will click without him. Seattle’s Russell Wilson tossed five touchdown passes against the Steelers in 2015. Here is the stellar preview –https://www.scoresandstats.com/previews/football/nfl/seahawks-vs-steelers-preview-and-predictions/

Weekly links is back …

Something is seriously wrong with Antonio Brown’s head.

Perhaps that outdated helmet caused him to get his bell rung a little too often because the thinking part of his brain is severely damaged.

The stellar receiver has been nothing but a headache for the Oakland Raiders after wearing out his welcome with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

And it appears Brown will be suspended for Oakland’s season opener on Monday against the Denver Broncos.

Brown must have majored in drama in college because that is all he is producing thus far. The Raiders might be forced to part ways with a guy who might have trouble finding another team to put up with his nonsense.

Of course, it couldn’t happen to a more deserving organization.

The stellar preview can be found here — https://fieldlevelmedia.com/latest-stories/?storyId=47481

 

BILLS at JETS

Le’Veon Bell wants to carry the ball 50 times but who knows how stubborn Jets’ play caller Adam Gase sees things. Buffalo sent LeSean McCoy packing and is ready to rely on three backs to carry the load. … Here is the stellar preview — https://fieldlevelmedia.com/latest-stories/?storyId=47406

COLTS at CHARGERS

Andrew Luck’s stunning retirement leaves Jacoby Brissett in control of the Colts. The Chargers still have Philip Rivers behind center while Melvin Gordon is holding out and nobody seems to miss him. … Here is the stellar preview — https://www.scoresandstats.com/previews/football/nfl/colts-vs-chargers-preview-and-predictions/

BENGALS at SEAHAWKS

Seattle robbed Jadeveon Clowney from the Houston Texans while Russell Wilson is carving out a legendary career. The Bengals typically don’t know what they’re doing and new coach Zac Taylor is praising Andy Dalton, a tune that may be different at the end of the season. … Here is the stellar preview — https://www.scoresandstats.com/previews/football/nfl/bengals-vs-seahawks-preview-and-predictions/

 

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

MARSHALL at BOISE STATE

Freshman quarterback Hank Bachmeier looks like he might be the real deal based on a strong debut against Florida State. Marshall doesn’t figure to enjoy its view of the blue turf — or the scoreboard. … Here is the stellar preview — https://fieldlevelmedia.com/latest-stories/?storyId=47304

RUTGERS at IOWA

Nate Stanley will finish his career as Iowa’s leader in career touchdown passes and he figures to throw a few against hapless Rutgers. The fact the Scarlet Knights are in the Big Ten continues to be one of college football’s biggest jokes. … Here is the stellar preview — https://fieldlevelmedia.com/latest-stories/?storyId=47260

NEW MEXICO STATE at ALABAMA

Remember this contest when Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban whines about how tough his team’s schedule is this season. The 55-point underdog Aggies are there just to collect a check — and hope none of their players get paralyzed. … Here is the stellar preview — https://www.scoresandstats.com/previews/football/ncaaf/new-mexico-state-aggies-vs-alabama-crimson-tide-preview-and-predictions/

NORTHERN COLORADO at WASHINGTON STATE

Someone named Anthony Gordon passed for 420 yards and five touchdowns in his first career start last weekend, which further proves that anyone can be a star in Mike Leach’s high-powered Washington State offense. Northern Colorado’s chances of slowing down the Cougars start at slim and will probably drop to none. … Here is the stellar preview — https://www.scoresandstats.com/previews/football/ncaaf/northern-colorado-bears-vs-washington-state-cougars-preview-and-predictions/

CALIFORNIA at WASHINGTON

The Golden Bears beat the Huskies 12-10 last season, making it clear Chris Petersen’s team were complete pretenders. Hard to see another upset on the horizon with Washington looking for its 16th straight home win. … Here is the stellar preview — https://www.scoresandstats.com/previews/football/NCAAF/california-golden-bears-vs-washington-huskies-preview-and-predictions-/

#SeaPort #WithoutTheVillage was a tremendous vacation.

But it is now over and will be forever remembered by Tweets.

I learned I could never live in cities like Seattle and Portland and that Eastern Oregon is a complete wasteland of nothingness. I found out Seaside is the best place on the Oregon Coast and that the Haystack Rock is pretty impressive in real life as well as pictures.

I learned the Seattle Mariners aren’t very good. Oh wait, I already knew that.

And I anointed Fernando Tatis Jr. as the second-best player in San Diego Padres’ history. Behind some guy called Gwynn.

There was lots of driving as I put nearly 1,800 miles on the car after putting up just 1,700 over the first seven months of the year. That is one of the perks of being talented enough to be your own entity and work from home.

Five hotels in seven nights and there is nothing like that situation to make you appreciate the bed at home.

And my pillows! Why are all the hotel pillows so soft? You pile up four on top of each other and you still sink to the bed. Had to put a blanket in a pillowcase to get sleep at one of the hotels.

And casino smoke … it is still the worst.

What a great vacation … let’s enjoy the latest version of Vacation by Tweets:

August 1

 

August 2

 August 3

August 4

 

August 5

August 6

 

August 7

August 8

August 9

The least popular United States women’s national soccer team has deservedly been called a lot of names.

Add this one: World Cup champions.

Megan Rapinoe and Rose Lavelle scored the goals as the United States posted a 2-0 win over the Netherlands on Sunday in the World Cup final in Lyon, France.

Rapinoe scored on a penalty kick in the 61st minute and Lavelle added a conventional goal eight minutes later to lead the Americans to their fourth World Cup title.

“It’s surreal,” Rapinoe said during a postgame interview on FOX. “I don’t know how to feel right now. It’s so ridiculous.”

The 34-year-old Rapinoe, with her purple hair and feisty attitude, was named the top player of the World Cup. She also is the symbol of this team and even mixed it up with President Donald Trump over a possible White House invitation.

To sum it up: No chance in hell she’s hanging out with the reality show prez.

Hard to blame her for that stance.

Rapinoe was calm when she lined up for a penalty kick awarded after a high kick by Stefanie van der Graft of the Netherlands on Alex Morgan. She easily put the ball in the net for her sixth goal of the World Cup and 50th of her career.

Lavelle put on a show with a fantastic run to put the game away in the 69th minute. After the great run, she unleashed a stellar left-footed shot past Netherlands goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal.

The most impressive thing is Lavelle doesn’t look big enough or strong enough to kick a ball downstairs. But she sure packed a nice hard shot while scoring her third goal of the World Cup.

“For her to get that reward tonight on the biggest stage that you possibly can, I am so proud of her,” Rapinoe told FOX. “She’s a superstar, not even in the making. She is straight up superstar at this point.”

However, there was an arrogance to this team that wasn’t always so pleasant.

Other teams around the world — heck, even Americans — weren’t impressed by some of the nonsense.

Pouring it on in a record 13-0 win over Thailand was silly. And celebrating goals 11, 12 and 13 like they were game-winners was flat-out embarrassing. The dogs should have been called off when it was 10-0.

And the whining after the game by coach Jill Ellis that men’s soccer players wouldn’t have come under the same scrutiny was lame.

Wow. Just wow.

Does Ellis not pay attention to men’s sports? Ever heard of the NFL or NBA or MLB? Guys in those sports are shredded all the time for their actions. Ask any NFL player who makes a huge mistake to cost his team a game what happens.

Then there was Alex Morgan’s taunting of England with the cup of tea celebration after scoring a goal. She had the nerve to say it was a double standard that she was being criticized.

Um, no Alex, you were criticized because it was a stupid maneuver. Were you going to break out the chopsticks if the opponent was China or Japan?

What is comes down to is this: These women get attention just once every four years. The rest of the time they are under very little scrutiny.

So when they are on the big stage and suddenly under the microscope, they don’t know how to handle it. They want their usual little cheerleader following but struggle to deal with the pressure that comes with the territory.

You know, the stuff male athletes deal with all the time.

So four years from now, please leave the double standard crybaby stuff at home. If you want to be treated like male athletes, then that means dealing with both good and bad developments.

So not the most likable women’s soccer team we’ve seen. But certainly a very good one as they set a record with 26 goals while winning their second straight World Cup.

And one that will be remembered for years.

“We’re crazy,” Rapinoe said. “That’s what makes us special. We just have no quit in us. We’re just so tight and we will do anything to win.”

A decade has sped by faster than Usain Bolt can run.

Shortly after 10 p.m. on Sunday night, I celebrated my 10th anniversary of living in Boise.

Doesn’t seem remotely possible that this is true. I thought NFL seasons flew by in a matter of weeks when I was covering that team that used to call San Diego home but here we are talking 10 years of living somewhere.

Ten years flying by like it’s been three.

The bridge at Celebration Park.

There were way too many challenges my first six years in the Potato state (Oh yeah, the natives can’t stand that people from the other 49 states refer to them that way). But the last four have been pretty darn good.

 

Off the top of my head, there were these bad things …

–No jobs available in my profession in 2009, and no real-person jobs for me to land until finally finding one that called for duty from 4 a.m. to 8 a.m. (Not good for someone who prefers going to sleep at 3 a.m., as opposed to waking up at that hour).

–I landed my first online writing job in 2010 but it wasn’t fitting well with the 4 a.m. job. I slept two hours here, three hours there for 17 months. I often went to the 4 a.m. job with one or zero hours of sleep. I would pound 40 ounces of Diet Coke in me before I entered the place. At the same time, I got crushed on taxes and was making monthly payments until August. I also had gigantic credit card debt from my move and not having work that I had no chance of paying it off. I finally hit the wall hard. Major anxiety disorder in June of 2011 and a super tough summer.

–All seemed well in 2012. I had reached an agreement on a financial plan the previous summer and told the person I dealt with I was so glad I wouldn’t need to buy a car for five years. Minding my own business at a stoplight in April 2012, I looked in the rear-view mirror to see a car traveling way too fast. A second later, it plowed into me, totaling my lovable red Mustang and leaving me with six months of back pain with weekly visits to a physical therapist and chiropractor. Oh yeah, and now I had car payments ahead of schedule. Idiot woman was texting while driving, something Idaho folks do all the time for some reason.

–Undergoing another skin cancer surgery in early 2013 was familiar ground but this time, the aftercare didn’t go right. The wound, on my left arm, became badly infected. About six weeks after surgery, things were finally under control.

The Mustang rests in heavy snow in 2010.

–Was trying to buy a house in early 2014 and I felt it was about 100 times more stressful than it should be. Then another hefty tax bill ensued and I finally called it off. But I still felt horrible every day and it just kept getting worse — way worse than the 2011 anxiety issue. That lost summer was the hardest time period of my entire life and I finally hit bottom in mid-August. But it got me in front of a doctor who had solutions rather than the typical guesswork. Things stabilized and I made the slow climb back to normalcy.

–Again, I thought things were great in early 2015. Then I get the call one day that 50 percent of the work was going away at my online gig. Well, I just got hit with another high tax bill and was still rebuilding my financial life so this was a horrible development. Lost $7,000 out of the savings account in six months until I reached my turnaround point. At this point, I’m kind of like — ‘Is anything ever going to go well living here?’

 

Off the top of my head, there were these good things from that point forward …

–Talk about blessings in disguise. Turned out I knew one of the main managers at the company that was responsible for 50 percent of the work going away. So I got hired there at the start of the 2015 football seasons and that stabilized a lot of things. We worked out of a virtual database so I actually had journalistic co-workers for the first time in six years. Good for relationships. I was getting paid hourly for editing shifts and that was a boon for the income as that was the first hourly pay I had received for journalism work as my own self-employed business entity. And I was still getting paid per writing assignments and now I had two companies giving me writing work. I had so much work and not enough time that I cut out all the live local freelance game coverage I was doing.

–In 2016, my income was finally on an uphill plane. So good that it didn’t appear real. I was actually able to save money again and my awesome bank branch manager got me working with their financial planner and I got all my retirement stuff consolidated and began growing that as well. It hurt to find out Obamacare could penalize you after the fact per the amount of premiums you pay so taxes remained a problem, but after sinking for so long with very little hope, I knew I was really truly moving in the right direction.

Awesome Camel’s Back Park.

–Back to the house purchasing hunt in 2017 and boy were there hurdles. A $2,712 car service bill in January – my car literally froze to near-death in polar bear weather – and then $9,500 in taxes to pay. I was close to giving up again but the mortgage officer somehow found a plan to where my interest rate would still be the same and my down payment would be a little less but I would still get approved for the amount I was shooting for. Unbelievable. So on June 29 I closed on the three-story mansion. A better house than I ever dreamed of being able to buy. Would cost close to $1 million in San Diego. After all the years of cramped apartments, I feel like I live in a miniature village. On top of that, my income for the year was the highest of my entire life. Being my own entity was paying off big.

–Talk about more good fortune. I made the second-most money I’ve made in my life in 2018 because I had the foresight to change jobs. Had a lot of help as my favorite co-worker had made the move and he kept calling and emailing me, telling me I had to leave. The same guy who hired me in 2015 was one of the two co-owners of the company too. Funny thing is, I discussed a job but had no vision of how it would work out for me so I initially stayed put and was going to watch how things go. A week later, I knew I had to take the job. Nearly 18 months later, I can say it is the best job I’ve ever had (sorry, newspaper that no longer exists). Oh yeah, the company I left? It folded on Dec. 31, 2018. #Blessed

 

Kind of interesting to look back at 10 years off the cuff like this. I faced way too many challenges the first six years of living here. Some of it doesn’t even seem real any longer.

But things finally got going in the right direction in the latter part of 2015 and have continued to move on a good path. My current work gig is awesome. Great co-workers and all my skills are used in a proper manner. My house is outstanding. Have my own work office, have a partial view of the foothills (a true perk in Boise) and my garage is twice the size of multiple apartments that I’ve lived in.

San Diego will always be Paradise but I’m not lying when I refer to Boise as Paradise Jr. You are doing pretty good if those are the only two places you’ve lived in your life.

And nobody cares any longer that I’m from California. They did in 2009, I can tell you that. Especially that police officer that pulled me over from a half-mile ahead and ticketed me even though I did nothing wrong. (My co-workers insisted it was because he saw the CA license plates). But I fought it and the prosecutor agreed and the charge was dismissed.

Spectacular Shoshone Falls.

Somehow, I am now a local. I know this because last summer I was out getting exercise and a couple interrupted me. They flew over from Seattle for the day, and after I answered their questions, the man said ‘Sure is a nice town you have.’

As I continued my exercise, it was going through my mind — ‘Nice town I have? My town? This is my town?’

It started to sink in … if I’m able to give directions and answers at that high of a level, I guess it is my town.

So here on my 10th anniversary, I will finally say it: “Boise is my town.”

Now if the next 10 years can go just a little bit slower.

Remember when Kawhi Leonard was a lousy 3-point shooter in college at San Diego State?

Did you cringe when he air-balled the tying 3-point attempt as time expired in the NCAA Tournament loss to Tennessee?

As in, “Nooooooo, not him!”

Funny how a guy who couldn’t shoot — he made a porous 25 percent of his 3-point attempts in two seasons — is now the most lethal player in the NBA.

Let’s get this out of the way: The Golden State Warriors have Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant (hurt or not), Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.

But the best player in the NBA Finals suits up for the Toronto Raptors … Kawhi Leonard.

The NBA Finals start Thursday night in Toronto and Leonard has carried the franchise to the finals for the first time in franchise history.

(Stellar preview here — https://www.scoresandstats.com/previews/basketball/nba/warriors-vs-raptors-preview-and-predictions/ …)

The San Diego State product is the best player in the NBA.

Leonard is averaging 31.2 points and 8.8 rebounds in the postseason and provided the most dramatic moment with his game-winning 3-pointer to win the second-round series against the Philadelphia 76ers. His shot from the right corner bounced four times on the rim before dropping through.

The former NBA Finals MVP with the San Antonio Spurs is again being mentioned as one of the league’s best players after he evaporated from that discussion last season when he played in just nine games due to a quadriceps injury.

There are only a few players in the discussion but Leonard has no interest in participating in it.

“I’m not playing the game for that reason,” Leonard told reporters on Wednesday. “I’m playing to have fun and try to be the best player I can be. I’m happy with myself and what I have done in my career and I’m just going to keep on from there. It’s not about me being famous or want to have more fame. It’s about me playing basketball and having fun on the floor.”

Leonard is slated to become a free agent in July so this could be the Raptors’ one-and-only Finals opportunity with him on the roster. He will be a super rich man wherever he chooses to go.

Oh yeah, he is also somebody who can shoot. The outside shooting issues were a factor in why he only went 15th overall in the 2011 NBA draft.

But Leonard obsessively worked on the weakness and kept getting better and better. The weakness eventually turned into a strength and he has made more than 100 3-pointers three times during his career.

Heck, he has drained 40 so far this postseason.

The guy who couldn’t shoot in college now does it all. He’s got the inside game, the outside game, the court awareness, the competitive fire and is one of the best defensive players in the league.

Say it with me: The best player in the NBA is Kawhi Leonard.

The Raptors have a chance to win the NBA title simply because he is on the roster.

Where were you in 1984? How about 1980?

Virginia and Purdue fans know those answers and one of those schools will end a long drought on Saturday.

That’s Virginia that last reached the Final Four in 1984, several months before Tony Gwynn and the San Diego Padres reached the World Series for the first time.

Purdue’s most recent Final Four appearance was 1980, the same season in which it looked like Don Coryell was going to guide the SAN DIEGO Chargers to the Super Bowl but the Weather Gods in Cincinnati froze out that scenario.

In other words, it has been a looooong time since either Virginia or Purdue has reached the pinnacle of college basketball.

The winning coach — either Virginia’s Tony Bennett or Purdue’s Matt Painter — will no longer have to hear about falling short so often either.

Heck, how many times do you think somebody has yelled “UMBC!” at Bennett?

I can’t tell you who will win this game — Virginia can’t possibly score 60, can it? — but I can tell you I handled the national preview duties so at least you will be on top of things as you watch.

 Here is the stellar preview, courtesy of the New York Times … https://nytimes.stats.com/cbk/preview.asp?g=201903300618

 

Might as well drop my Thursday night recaps here (I love discovering Netscape still exists): 

Purdue 99, Tennessee 94 (OT)

https://isp.netscape.com/sports/story/0002/20190329/FLM5f1VQR_1347448839.htm 

Virginia 53, Oregon 49

https://isp.netscape.com/sports/story/0002/20190329/FLM9YchXh_82391173.htm