If you’re looking to take your family on a day trip in the greater Puget Sound metroplex, you could do worse than a destination a mere 20 miles from T-Town.
Kent, Washington — whose unofficial city motto is “You could do worse than here.”
Where else can a person put on a trucker cap, strap on a shoulder holster, visit a hydroplane museum and go watch the nitro-burning funny cars race, all in one high-octane day?
Where else can you tour the Oberto Sausage Factory Outlet and have your meat smoked at the Caveman Kitchen diner, all in one carnivorous afternoon?
Kent is a pretty swell city, really. If nothing else, it has the advantage of not being Federal Way.
But there’s a new attraction in Kent that makes our nostrils twitch with barely contained nausea.
The Tacoma Stars.
The same Tacoma Stars who were the earliest tenants of the Tacoma Dome and for 10 years the closest thing to a pro sports franchise this city has ever seen (until their league folded in 1992).
The same Tacoma Stars who were blessed with all-time great players including Preki and Steve “The Lord of All Indoors” Zungul, and coached by Northwest soccer legend Alan Hinton.
The same Tacoma Stars who were cheered on by a rabid pack of Bleacher Bums wearing Hawaiian shirts, set a national indoor soccer attendance record during their playoff finale in 1987, and enjoyed a downtown parade held in their honor after they lost that game in overtime.
The same Tacoma Stars who, by all decency and common sense, should play in Tacoma if they’re gonna play anywhere.
But now they play in Kent, at the ShoWare Center — a fine place for minor-league hockey and women’s lingerie football, but not for this … betrayal.
Kent, you remind us of Oklahoma City. And it’s not just because of the rednecks anymore.
Sweet revenge?: For the folks up there, winning the Stars probably smells awfully sweet. They still haven’t gotten over the day we snatched Kent-born professional bowler Earl Anthony from them.
Kind of like how we feel about Spokane stealing Bing Crosby from us.
Just don’t call them the Kent Stars, please: The good news is that the Tacoma Stars are owned by Lane Smith, a dyed-in-the-wool Stars fanboy dating to the team’s glory days. He bought the franchise and brand out of bankruptcy last year, including the name, colors, logo and classic argyle jerseys.
When the Seattle Impact soccer club imploded recently, Smith pounced on the chance to take its place in the Major Arena Soccer League — and grab its remaining home dates at ShoWare. He’s skimming the best players from his amateur-league Stars, who still play at Tacoma Soccer Center.
“I’m all about Tacoma; I’m a Tacoma guy,” the 1980 Lincoln High School graduate told the Schnoz, “but there’s just not a place where I can flip a switch and make it happen now.”
Apparently, moving up the freeway to Kent is not downsizing; it’s rightsizing. The T-Dome is just too cavernous for professional indoor futbol matches that typically draw 3,000 to 8,000 people.
Might he move back? Maybe, but it would take a major investment in soccer infrastructure under the argyle clamshell.
“Never say never,” Smith said. “My dream would be to have the Tacoma Stars playing in front of 15,000 fans in the Tacoma Dome.”
Meantime, we wish him godspeed. And beg him not to venture even deeper into the northlands next time he relocates.
K-Town will never be mistaken for T-Town, but at least both belong to the ragtag clan of the 253.
Dark Tuesdays: That’s what the Washington State Fair/Fair Formerly Known as Puyallup is calling its new plan to close down the September fair one day a week starting in 2016.
Or, as we plan to call it: Carny Laundry Day.
Weird displays of Seahawk spirit: We’ve seen it in courtrooms. We’ve heard about it at funerals. We’ve seen folks so consumed by it, they dress up/torture their pets with 12th Cat regalia.
Guess we shouldn’t be surprised that a couple of pols would burn with Seahawk fever at a Department of Defense forum held in Lakewood this week for folks trying to save jobs at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
“We’re winners here in the Northwest and our Seahawks proved that on Sunday,” Clover Park School Board member Paul Wagemann said.
“We hope the DOD understands the true patriots are here in the Pacific Northwest,” Lakewood City Councilman Jason Whalen said.
Translation: Our team is better than every other team, and our base is better than every other base. Hoo-ah and Go Hawks!
At least they weren’t wearing face paint.