Category Archives: Field Notes

The Angels and the Flash Boys

How reading became the silver lining to a Christmas crisis

Four years ago, we learned something weird was going on with my son’s right leg. We’d gone to a clinic thinking he might have a small break after a fall at school, but then learned it was a condition we’d never even heard of, something called osteochrondritis dissecans. A small section of bone at the bottom of Devin’s femur, at the knee, was dying from a lack of blood flow. A delicate surgery and months of re-hab followed. For a year or so we had to give up father-son outings involving hiking, football and ultimate frisbee.

Instead, we went to the movies.

Continue reading The Angels and the Flash Boys

Tracking a Jailbreak Flood

The scablands offer a succession of geologic double-takes,  and Deep Creek’s enchanting scar is one of them.

I first encountered Deep Creek the way I suspect most people do—in a car. As U.S. Highway 2 makes a bee-line west out of Spokane it passes the main gate to Fairchild Air Force Base. Then, in about the time it takes to write this sentence, your speeding vehicle takes an abrupt dip into a ravine, crosses a bridge, and takes you past a sign announcing that you’re passing through the small community of Deep Creek.

As for the creek itself, there is barely any water in Deep Creek at this crossing. This is a noteworthy riddle. The discernible headwaters for the stream are only a few miles away, in a maze of wetlands west of Four Lakes. Although the creek will sometimes flood during a rain on snow event in late winter, it’s too small and ephemeral to attract kayaks or canoes. So it is curious as to how such a trickle of water could create such an extraordinary crease in the earth. Continue reading Tracking a Jailbreak Flood

Hoopfest Forever

Mary Harvill reports from the hottest basketball tournament on the planet.

Maybe you were watching the SportsCenter Outdoors live broadcast from Spokane’s Annual Hoopfest 3 on 3 tournament on Sunday morning, June 28th.  And maybe you heard it was really hot in Spokane.

But did you know how hot it REALLY was?

How about 108 degrees on a paved city street, clinging to the one nearby tree from 7:30 a.m. until 6:00 in the evening?Street Ball

After spending my first year as Hoopfest volunteer sequestered in a tent on the edge of Riverfront Park, I thought I would up the ante a little bit and become a court monitor.  The Nike swag (a cool pair of Nike shoes, shorts, t-shirt and hat) was the deciding factor for me. Oh, what we’ll do for a little swag…. Continue reading Hoopfest Forever

With Flag in Pocket

A Mid-life Leap Across Football’s Gender Barrier

By Mary Harvill

With the radio on, I was driving toward Spokane along Highway 2 in early June when an opportunity jumped out at me.

“…We really need more football officials because we cover three hundred plus youth football games each year,” the voice said.

Such was the demand for new referees, the voice continued, that it was likely applicants would actually get to work games in the coming season.

I can imagine the audience to whom this plea for help was intended. I didn’t imagine it was an invitation aimed at a widow with a daughter just out of college.

But why couldn’t it be me? Continue reading With Flag in Pocket