BELLINGHAM — Sleepless nights from sports were a thing for Eric Pettigrew back in the early 1980s while playing college football as an Oregon State left tackle.

Those Beavers won only six times his four seasons, and Pettigrew was hoarse from yelling “Look out, Eddie!’’ as defenders blitzed quarterback Ed Singler. Stress from that is one reason Pettigrew eschewed professional football tryouts for a political career and is now in his second decade as a representative in the Washington state legislature.

But last weekend, Pettigrew, 58, again was tossing and turning at night because of a pivotal sports moment from his past. This time it was driven by excitement rather than dread; he’d be meeting Alton White, a former pro hockey player he’d long idolized and without whom he feels the politics, football and escaping his gang-plagued South Central Los Angeles neighborhood might never have happened.
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