Well, here we are. The dog days of summer. The time of year where many at The Star look to dodge The Chief by laying low and staying cool.
Everyone except the sports department, where sweat and hard work are always the status quo. (I’ve gotta stop—even I can’t keep a straight face on that one.)
August is noted for National Watermelon Day (Aug. 3) and National Smile Week (Aug. 5-11). August was named after Augustus Caesar, founder and the first emperor of the Roman Empire, who was posthumously adopted by his maternal great-uncle Julius Caesar. August originally had 30 days, but when Augustus realized July and Julius had 31, he got ticked off and demanded another day. Shows that even in those early BC days, the bigwigs quarreled.
August was formally known as Sextilus, probably the reason it was such a popular month.
But, this August 21st will bring a rare spectacle. A total eclipse of the sun will arc across the U.S. in mid-afternoon. I’m not sure if The Chief will send me to South Carolina or Kentucky to photograph the 100% totality version, but Roanoke will get about 90%. It will be eerie: birds and animals will react, the temperature will fall about 10 degrees and the moon will cover a big portion of the sun, albeit at 10%, the sun still packs plenty of punch. The longest possible duration of totality during a total eclipse is 7 minutes and 32 seconds; this one will last 2 minutes, 40 seconds (note that we’re precise at The Star). If you miss it, no worries, the next total eclipse here will hit on Sept. 14, 2099.
Yes, you do always learn something in this column.
Being a month away from high school football, we’ll visit a potpourri of subjects, from the worst occurrences in professional sports to a look at the best dressed athletes in sports, where the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition has nothing on this column. We’ll also hit the mail bag for advice on eclipse photography and reunion rendezvous spots.
We first visited the worst things from pro sports about three years ago. Readers have asked for an update. Several rear their head again, while there’s a trio of newcomers.
Pro football: The 2-minute warning: With scoreboard numbers as tall as a three-story house, why does anyone need a warning that two minutes remain? Can’t pro football players tell time? Just an excuse for another boring commercial.
Pro-basketball: Advance the ball with a timeout: Great way to award failure. Basically, Team A scores because Team B’s defense broke down. Then, Team B calls a timeout, limps off the court with their heads hanging, and low and behold, they get to inbounds the ball 3/4 way up the court. Can’t these pros dribble the ball up the court?
Pro-baseball: Pristine equipment tradition (newcomer): Ever watch a game closely? Any time a curve or slider remotely hits the ground, the ball is thrown out of the game in favor of a new one. For a game that wants to speed things up, why do we watch the bat-boy play catch with a catcher or umpire?
Pro-golf: Drunks in the gallery (newcomer): Keep your ears open when a player hits his tee shot on a par-3. As soon as there is contact, some redneck always yells, “In the hole.” Mabel, bring me another Black Label.
Women’s pro-tennis: grunting (newcomer): So bad, not even worth a comment. Ping-pong would be a better watch.
Now, to fashion, where this column rules due to it having Loudmouth as its official apparel sponsor. Accordingly, we announce our Top-3 fashion statements in sports for 2017.
- John Daly on the PGA Champions Tour: Best pants bar none. Always a kaleidoscope of color that draws plenty of Loudmouth looks.
2) Women’s Beach Volleyball: Who can argue with these outfits? As poet Omar Kayak would say, “The sea, the sand and me.”
3) Women’s tag-team wrestling: Best fashion while being hit over the head with a chair.
Finally, a quick peek at the mail bag.
Dear Wild Bill: Your recent pictures in The Star of the Pink Moon and Blue Moon were spectacular.
Any hints on taking shots of the upcoming total eclipse? (Marge/Roanoke)
Well, Marge, hope for clear skies and carefully protect your eyes. If you’re in the totality path you’re in business. A full sun with a big black moon covering most of it for 2:40 is hard to miss. Don’t try the pin hole in a shoebox trick—bad pics, plus people will think you’re nuts with your head stuck in a shoebox.
Dear Mr. Bill: Our Class of ’72 is having a reunion. To rekindle memories where would you recommend to go? (Olivia/Salem)
Olivia, I’d hit a drive-in movie, except there are none left in our area. The Mill Mountain Star would be next, but beware the star-cam at the overlook. Instead of a sightseer, you might end up a sight to be seen.
Until next time, here’s a heads-up. That next eclipse in 2099 will fall on a Monday. I’m hitting The Chief up for a long weekend.