GRIZ GRIT: Where Credit is Due

By Beacon Staff

It was an interesting scenario when another Big Sky Conference team, namely the Eagles of Eastern Washington University, was vying for the Football Championship Subdivision National Championship.

I can perhaps understand that line fans draw in the sand when the Bobcats have success and the Grizzlies fail, and I even have a hard time with that when it comes to the postseason. But I can’t comprehend why a Griz fan would not root for another Big Sky Conference team as it enjoys success in the postseason.

The way that the Eagles kept focus and rebounded from a 19-point halftime deficit to claim the title and keep the Colonial League from claiming superiority for the third consecutive year, in my mind, was just awesome.

And to do it without one of the league’s finest players after the injury to Taiwan Jones just goes to show that no one player makes or breaks a team effort. Kudos to head coach Beau Baldwin for convincing his players that they were good enough to compete, then win, on the national stage.

The television announcers gave EWU no chance. They even disregarded them to such an extent during the time they were interviewing Vice President Joe Biden that they barely went back to play-by-play to explain that the Eagles had just gained a first down.

While I have announced just a few games where I didn’t have a home team, I can tell you I always believe in giving credit where credit is due. By all means, you should respect all your opponents, even when the score is out of hand, especially if it’s not even halftime yet.

I have seen that happen pretty much in all seven Montana championship appearances, so I don’t find that surprising. But what bothers me more is die hard Griz fans who not only refuse root for the Eagles on their championship run, but who actually said to me, “I don’t want those guys to get anything.”

Are Griz fans so spoiled that they can’t enjoy another league team’s success?

Get over it. Eastern Washington beat Montana, shared the league championship, and then ran off four consecutive wins to claim the chipper.

They indeed were the cardiac kids, winning at least six games late, and, whether you like it or not, the red EWU turf brought publicity to the Big Sky Conference. Be it good or bad, I have always believed there is no such thing as bad publicity.

Now there will be those who say, “yes, but Mick is an Eastern alum and he always roots for the Eagles.”

For clarification, I did go to Eastern for two years. I am not an alum, have never rooted for the Eagles unless the Grizzlies were out of it and have been a Washington State fan since the days of Bobby Newman. Now, if you know who that is, I’m impressed and you will know that has been a long time.

I have also followed Gonzaga University since before Stew Morrill played there.

Let’s give credit for what Eastern has accomplished, celebrate the publicity the championship has meant for the Big Sky Conference, and then beat the pants off of the Eagles next season.

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