Canzano: A connection worth making
Some Tuesday thoughts...
I received a message from a reader who was concerned that she’d paid for a full subscription to this writing endeavor but still found herself encountering a paywall.
Linda Watson needed help.
So I called her.
Turns out she’s 81 and loves sports. Linda told me she signed up for a “free” subscription months ago and enjoyed that for a while but decided to upgrade to a “paid” subscription so she wouldn’t miss anything.
“I like to keep up on sports and you’re my go-to,” she told me.
I’m also her customer-service representative. Her tech person happens to be one of her grandsons, who took a look at what was happening and rectified the issue before I called. Linda received a refund for the period where she couldn’t read. We’re good and I told her to call me if she has any further issues.
I love this endeavor.
I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who is reading, sharing and subscribing. You’re not just helping support my family, you’re fueling my professional mission to bring you sourced, in-depth reporting and commentary. Your support allows me to hire photographers and travel to places such as Lubbock, Tex. and Salt Lake City to chase the best stories and do this job the way it should be done.
I’m enjoying the 1-on-1 connection it’s given me with readers. It’s a terrific and unexpected byproduct. And more people are reading my column now than at any point of my writing career. That’s wild because it includes six newspaper stops.
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I’ve spent a lot of time covering the business of college football in the last 14 months. Some of it has been a real drag. But realignment is important stuff with all sorts of interesting tentacles. I have some fun things planned this month.
The saga of the Pac-12 Conference took us this week to a small courthouse in Whitman County, where the presiding judge talked about funnel cake at the county fair and told the lawyers that he had a 12:30 p.m. doctor’s appointment.
Judge Gary Libey not only made his appointment, he made the legal proceedings a joy.
In the first two weeks of the college football season, I’ve sat on press row at college stadiums in three states (Utah, California and Texas) where I saw Pac-12 teams go 3-0 on the field. The photo galleries of those games (Utah vs. Florida, Oregon State at San Jose State, Oregon at Texas Tech) were brilliant. And I’m eager to see where the rest of this season takes us together. If you have suggestions on where I need to be this season, drop me a note in the comment section below.
I find readers such as Linda inspiring. She told me she plays bridge with a few groups, has three children and five grandchildren, spends time with friends, goes to lunches and likes to hit a tribal casino once in a while.
Between all that, she reads my work.
I’m grateful to be a small part of her day.
Linda was born in New Jersey, met her husband in California and they moved to Oregon in 1975. They raised three children, one of whom was drafted by the San Francisco Giants. Also, one of her grandkids, Kevin Watson Jr. (Beaverton High) currently plays in the Angels minor-league system.
I gave her a heads-up that I might mention her in today’s column. Not because she messaged me with a technical issue, but because I’m so blasted happy that she’s out there reading me.
I’m happy you’re here too.
ACHILLES HEEL: Lots of people are making jokes about New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who suffered a season-ending Achilles injury in Week 1 of the NFL season. Football can be a cruel game, but social media is an especially mean street.
My wife pointed out that the New York quarterback complained about the Jets’ offensive line in the preseason. Maybe that had something to do with it. Or maybe the injury was bound to happen regardless.
Rodgers has a compete tear of his left achilles tendon. He’s out for the season. I don’t blame Jets fans for slapping their foreheads and wondering why things never seem to go right. Answer: It’s the Jets. But the injury to Rodgers is also a reminder about the fragility of the football season. The best teams win games, sure. But the healthiest teams often win big.
MY PAC-12 PICKS: I got off to a very rough start with my Week 2 picks last Saturday. I was 0-3 against the spread in the morning football games, misfiring on the Colorado-Nebraska game, the Utah-Baylor contest and Washington vs. Tulsa.
It should be noted that I missed two of those games by a half-point each, but as gamblers like to say: “The safest way to double your money is to fold it and put it in your pocket.”
I rebounded nicely with the afternoon and evening games and finished the day a very respectable 6-4 against the spread. I was also 10-1 in picking games straight up (I missed by picking Cal to upset Auburn).
My 2023 season win percentage vs. the spread is now 64 percent (12-7) and my straight-up picks have been correct 91 percent (21-2) of the time. I’ll post my Week 3 picks on Thursday.
IT REALLY HAPPENED: Remember the movie “Little Big League”? In 1994, actress Ashley Crow played the mother of a 12-year-old kid who became the owner and manager of the Minnesota Twins.
Well, the story got a fun twist this week.
Pete Crow-Armstrong is her son in real life. He happens to be a professional baseball player and was called up by the Cubs for this week’s three-game road series against the Rockies. He’s a 21-year-old outfielder who was drafted in the first round in 2020.
Maybe they’ll make a movie about it.
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