Columnists Michael Elliott Sports

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Gettin’ Crabby- With Major League Baseball lumbering along through August, and with LeBron James not criticizing the Cleveland Cavaliers’ organization as of late, and with Ronaldo and Neymar just kickin’ it and with the NFL on the cusp of the regular season, I was wondering if it might be okay to indulge the five of you with back-to-back columns dealing with the great outdoors and some of what it has to offer. Not meaning to go all Marlin Perkins on you but here we go.

Coming directly to you from the northern coast of Oregon. Debra and I have set up camp here on the banks of the Siletz River where the word “pristine” defines this spectacular setting. We have met up with Deb’s dad Bob and her mom Nancy. We are here to get the crabs! And we’ve been successful.

Yesterday Bob and I hopped his 12’ aluminum watercraft and headed up the Siletz to Siletz Bay, which conjoins the Pacific Ocean. We are in possession of six crab nets in which stinky, skinned mink carcasses are attached to each. The crabs go absolutely ape-shot for the mink. Stinkier the better!

Once in the bay we cast the nets out, which are attached to 30’ of rope. The idea is for the nets to settle on the bottom of the bay and for the crabs to detect the mink scent and crawl inside the netted contraptions. The tide ebbs in and out and we are looking for the perfect storm, whereby for approximately 15 minutes the tide has reached its equilibrium and has balanced and is neither going in or going out. The crabs dig the lull and become quite active.

It’s all a crab shoot! After the nets have been underwater for, say, twenty minutes we feverishly start pulling the ropes in with hopes of plentiful bounty aboard. If the nets seem to be heavy as they are hoisted we know we have a chance at some legal crabs, which have to be a minimum of 5 ¾” across the backs of the shells. And they must be of the male gender.

You are limited to 12 crabs per person and we netted 13 total that morning and are quite satisfied. It’s a lot of work in a short amount of time. Bob was the captain and I was the deckhand. Guess who’s arms and back needed therapy that evening?

What a delightful experience it was. Nothing better than fresh crab boiled to perfection and either swathed in melted butter while warm, dipped in mayo while chilled or munched on as crab cakes. It’s quite the dichotomy but the consummation leaves you delightfully crabby!

Uh, Bandon- I wanted to! Prior to the crabfest Deb and I spent a couple of nights in Bandon, Oregon as I wanted to be tested by the world-renowned Bandon Dunes golf course. Good intent, bad idea!

There happens to be five awesome golf courses at this exquisite setting on the southern coast of Oregon. The Dunes course is the most talked about so I had to play it. There are no riding carts allowed and caddies are suggested. There are no trees and no water, save for the majestic Pacific Ocean, which is reveled on every hole.

The elevation changes are extreme, the fairways are mounded and cut tight and the greens undulate like the Colossus roller coaster at Six Flags Magic Mountain. The course is a sight to behold!

Never stood a chance! That big, fat nine on the first hole set the tone and there was no recovering. After the sixth hole I even stopped cursing. If you have ever been in a round of golf where you just can’t wait for it to end then you are catching my drift. I wanted to abandon Bandon, but I stuck it out just to prove that I could not say a bad word for 12 holes. *#@+*%#*@&+#*

The Beard- If a man’s going adventure-hunting in Oregon then he’s gotta grow a beard to appear hip! And now, I present to you, the pros and cons of growing a beard:

Cons- Eight days in you are mistaken for a homeless person. Two weeks in you are prone in bed trying to go to sleep and it feels like a thousand fire ants are crawling all over your face. You just get to sleep and one singular lip hair pops up just below your nose and tickles you awake. You constantly tell yourself that you look cool and manly as you look into the mirror four times a day as the growth agonizingly creeps along, knowing that in reality you probably look ridiculous. Your purported mustache portion constantly holds curds and whey and other yucky things that you, and only you, are unaware of.

Pros- Shavin’ that sucker off!


-By Michael Elliott