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The View From Section 40

With many thanks to primary writer, publisher, and UW Dawg owner John "JB" Berkowitz, I make my debut as a (hopefully) regular columnist on this blog.  Some of you are familiar with my previous contributions as JB’s on-again, off-again (depending on my heinous work and travel schedule) editor, while others just know me simply for my oft-sarcastic posts in this site’s comments section.

I’m a lifelong Seattle-area resident who graduated from Mercer Island High School during our "glory days" of basketball; I watched courtside as the Mark Rypien-led Shadle Park Highlanders, er, "beat" my beloved Islanders in 1981 for the state championship (by the way, the shot was late), was courtside again as future Husky Gary Gardner played the game of his life in beating MI in 1982's state title game, who were lead in their own right by future Husky (and Pac 10 sixth man of the year) Al Moscatel and all-everything point guard Kyle Pepple, and witnessed the emergence of future three-year Duke starting point guard Quin Snyder and four-year Northwestern starting power forward Brian Schwabe in 1983.  Good times.  I was a local schoolteacher (language arts and social studies are my primary areas of expertise) and athletics director for many years and now build safety-net after-school programs for at-risk students in the region’s school systems.  I moonlighted umpiring Division One and Pac 10 baseball until my children were born a decade ago, have officiated high school football for many years, have two highly energetic kids, a wonderful wife of nearly 16 years who exudes patience and refers to me as our house’s oldest kid, and an obsessive-compulsive yellow lab who believes tennis balls are the center of the universe.  I turned 45 years-old last weekend (thanks for the birthday present Saturday night, Sark), I’m a tennis junkie, compete in triathlons when my perpetually-torn right hamstring allows, and have only missed a handful of home games since purchasing my first season tickets in 1983.

So what is "The View From Section 40" all about?  My foremost goal is providing John a break from his tireless efforts publishing as many as 10 entries weekly.  JB has both a demanding job and a very understanding wife beyond the world of UW Dawg Pound; if I can give him a day off from his writing, so much the better…the man has MORE than earned it!  More specificly, however, is providing an off-beat perspective on Husky athletics, primarily football and basketball, though I hope to examine the athletics program and Pac 10 as a whole.  While I’ve been fortunate over the years in developing a few quality contacts inside the program, both John and basketball-contributor Cassino do a fantastic job getting out the latest on news, developments, recruiting, and hot rumors.  I intend to shy away from the daily updates; rather, spend time looking at the issues on a general, higher-level perspective…hence the title "The View From Section 40", not coincidentally where my season tickets are located on the South-side Upper Deck, thankfully just behind the roof’s drip line.

Thank you for allowing me to contribute to this blog.  Inevitably, some will disagree with my views and I never mind anyone telling me as much; however, I do hope to provoke respectful debate on the comments board…I daresay any discussion keeping Husky Athletics at the front of people’s thoughts is good discussion.