It's time to clean off the old desk and pass along some tidbits of information you will find nowhere else in the print or broadcast media. But, before we start, a happy, happy birthday to Loretta Chapman, who keeps the Chapman household going, but if you call her to wish a happy, make it after 10 a.m.
Row, row, row
Two Olympic Peninsula athletes did well at the Northwest Indoor Rowing Championships in Seattle earlier this month at the Seattle University Connelly Center.
Mari Friend, of Rat Island Rowing and Sculling Club in Port Townsend, rowed to first in the women's 2,000-meter age 70-79 event and John Halberg, of Olympic Peninsula Rowing Association, won gold in the 70-79 event for men.
The big thing, folks, is that Halberg returned with 20 ergometers to expand rowing capacity at Sequim Middle School, the Clallam County Family YMCA and the P.A. Senior Center.
The rowing association now has placed 48 indoor rowing machines at the disposal of physical education teachers in P.A., Sequim, Forks and Joyce schools, the YMCA, the Sequim Boys & Girls Club and the P.A. Senior Center.
The group also has two eight-oared boats and two singles sculls in a boathouse on Ediz Hook. On-water rowing instruction begins in April.
Kudos to Halberg and all the others who are making an excellent fitness sport available for kids, young folks, old fogies and special needs kids as well as rehab people.
Interested in rowing? Halberg can be reached at halberg @olypen.com.
Another successful Disco Bay Salmon Derby is in the books and next up for salt-water anglers is the ninth-annual Halibut Derby sponsored by the Port Angeles Salmon Club, which takes place Memorial Day weekend, May 23-24.
The sponsors are going out on a huge limb to offer $20,000 in cash prizes knowing that the Hood Canal bridge probably won't be open by time the big weekend arrives. They are counting on hundreds of Olympic Peninsula fishers to swell the registration books enough to pay for the event.
The Salmon Club also sponsors a salmon and halibut monthly derby from February through October in area 6 when the season is open for both species of fish.
Tickets are $40 - that includes the Halibut Derby and the monthly prizes total $250. Register at Swain's in Port Angeles at www.swainsinc.com.
Wait, there's more
The Apple Cup between Washington and Washington State used to be the last game of the football season, but the Huskies revamped their schedule and will play another game after the big one on Thanksgiving weekend in Seattle.
Washington will host Cal on Dec. 5 to close the season and that will be the first December home game since 1932. The Huskies open Sept. 5 with LSU, then Idaho and then USC. Washington State opens with three at home: Sept. 5 against Stanford, then Hawaii at Quest Field in Seattle on Sept. 12 and then Southern Methodist on Sept. 19.
Plan to dress warm for the Husky game Dec. 5, fans.
Although live horse racing at Emerald Downs isn't until April 17, it takes a couple of months to get thoroughbreds ready to run and horses began showing up at the track Feb. 2.
According to longtime trainer Tom Wenzel, preparing a horse for the season is like baseball's spring training. There is a lot of preparation with gallops, jogs and intermittent timed work to gradually build up stamina and fitness.
Two older horses are back, the last two Longacres Mile winners included. Wasserman and The Great Face have had the winter off but both geldings turned 7 on Jan. 1. Both can run sprints or distance and both will be featured in the stakes races this summer leading up to The Mile.
The high school basketball season is winding down and now spring sports athletes are ready to go, with first turnouts March 2. Baseball, fast pitch, track and field, boys and girls golf, girls tennis and boys soccer will keep fields and tracks busy until the end of May.
Let's hope for a better and drier March, April and May in 2009.
As I pen this prose, Ken Griffey Jr. is scheduled to report to spring training after being signed for a season at $2 million plus incentives. This is the designated hitter the Mariners have wanted. Now they have to hope that Griffey adjusts too, as he still wants to play in the outfield. Maybe Edgar Martinez can help Griffey adjust to being a full-time hitter.
I'll have more on this next week.
Columns by KONP 1450 AM sports announcer Scooter Chapman appear weekly in the Sequim Gazette. He can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.