Sometimes an item comes along that is so odd, so charmingly bizarre, and so surprisingly prescient, that commentary after the fact would be superfluous. This, courtesy of Seth Kolloen, is one of those. It's also something that needs that "Washington Things" tag. With that (and my obligations as The Classical’s Pacific Northwestern-most staffer) in mind, I’ll give you some background information on context:
- The Tri-Cities, in Southeastern Washington, consist of Richland, Pasco, and Kennwick. Their combined population is about 250,000 people.
- The Tri-Cities grew out of Hanford, a massive, mostly decommissioned nuclear complex that produced most of America’s plutonium during the Cold War.
- These days, Hanford is arguably the largest environmental cleanup project in the history of the United States.
- The mascot for Richland High School is the Bombers. Their logo is, amazingly, a mushroom cloud. (My girlfriend's father is a Richland High alum, and proudly points out that his alma mater’s mascot is so offensive that a Bombers t-shirt hangs in the Smithsonian).
Now that you know something about the Tri-Cities, to the point of this Clog: The Tri-City Herald, circulation 40,000-ish, did something amazing for its week-long high school football preview section this fall. Something amazing, and odd. They made it campaign themed, which meant that 16-year-old quarterbacks become candidates and beefy teenage linemen pose like purposeful Senatorial hopefuls. Despite its subjects—high school football and presidential politics in the time of concussions and Paul Ryan—there isn’t a hint of cynicism to be found.
The profiles themselves are only semi-political. Instead, the theme really comes through in the photography, which ranges from standard pseudo-political cheeseball portraiture to surprisingly esoteric shots of football players kissing babies and pretending to work at small-town (Iowa?) diners. Because this is newspaper work, and because the legality of embedding the Tri-City Herald's photography onto our website is admittedly fuzzy, I'll only embed a few below. But I will urge you, football fans, and citizens of all political stripe, to click through to the actual previews. You will be glad, and probably a little baffled, that you did.
All photos by Kay-Huei-Yau.
Walla Walla running back Jonah Hoe is ready to serve up some touchdowns for the Blue Devils. Photographed at Taqueria Yungapeti in Walla Walla with cook Jorge Frutis and Blue Devils center Jon Blanc as photographer. While the presidential candidates are traveling the road to the White House, local football players are campaigning for a trip to the Tacoma Dome and the state championships.