Wild Bill’s Weekly Sports Roundup

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by Bill Turner

Regional baseball and softball continue through the end of this week, with the state quarterfinals and the Radford Spring Jubilee set for the latter part of next week at Radford University.

Area teams in both sports are thinning out fast as the competition gets tougher with each round. Rain played havoc with several games on Tuesday afternoon, so regional play will be compressed and team pitching strength becomes a factor.

Numerous upsets took place in the district tournaments that concluded Friday, so let’s take a look at the latest Wild Bill ‘Big-11’ Top-3.

In baseball, Lord Botetourt (18-2) retains the top spot despite losing in the Blue Ridge District tournament. Botetourt’s regional game with E.C. Glass was washed out Tuesday and rescheduled for Wednesday.

Northside (19-3), likewise a Blue Ridge casualty, stays at #2, with a matchup at Spotswood moved to Wednesday. Hidden Valley (15-6-1) and Cave Spring (15-7) tie for third after the Knights knocked off the Titans in the River Ridge championship.

Hidden Valley looked impressive in their 8-1 regional win over Patrick County Tuesday, while Cave Spring trounced Abingdon 8-1. In softball, Northside, despite falling in the Blue Ridge tournament, stays in the number one spot at 19-2. The Vikings home game with Rustburg was a downpour no-go on Tuesday. Glenvar (18-6) makes the jump to second after its 5-3 win over Radford Tuesday in the Region C Division 2 quarterfinals. Hidden Valley (12-11), grabbing its first regional win in school  history Tuesday, checks in at third.

The comments poured in this week, after further discussion of the now-famous Mill Mountain Star web-cam in last week’s column, drew inquiries as to whether this gadget actually exists.

I can assure you readers it’s all legitimate, and now offer you proof in what we call “Know Your Roanoke Star Web-Cam’.

The camera’s official, so-called name, ‘The Roanoke Star Cam’, has a no connection to The RoanokeStar.com. Similarities in the names are purely coincidental. But an easy way to access the “Star Cam” is to go to TheRoanokeStar.com and click on “Star Cam” under “Options” on the right side of the page. Immediately you will see a live picture of the goings-on at the star overlook, refreshed every 15 seconds. That means, if you’re at the star for activities you don’t want the public to know, you better do it quick, then run!

In conjunction with a subject last month in the Wild Bill column, the Roanoke Star web-cam may well be descibed as a legalized Peeping Tom.

The star itself has 2,000 feet of neon tubing, so any nighttime shenanigans are played out under lights akin to Broadway. I will admit, while the picture in the day is clear as a bell, the night shots are somewhat shadowy. You may be well-advised to wear dark clothes and a droopy hat to conceal your identity at night if you’re pursuing activities incognito.

Unless, of course, someone you know is at the overlook and sees you wearing dark clothes and a droopy hat. In that case, all bets are off.

For the record, the camera sits near the bottom right point of the star. Facing that point and making faces with your hands will make you look like a nut to most viewers.

If standing in front of the web-cam, you’ll hear a distinct humming. It’s the 17,500 watts needed to light the tubes. If you’re on the overlook, be civic-minded and make sure out-of-towners are advised and don’t think Roanoke is being invaded by locusts. (Even though some parts apparently are.)

The Mill Mountain Star is the largest free-standing, illuminated, man-made star. The operative word here is free-standing. El Paso, Texas now has a larger, illuminated, man-made star. But, their star was built flat on the ground. Wonder who came up with that splendid idea? Easy to build but tough to behold. Kind of like a 4 egg Souffle cooked in a microwave.

When our beloved star was first turned on in November, 1949, then-mayor A.R. Minton threw the ceremonal switch. That switch was a dummy, with the real switch, behind the star in the bushes, being turned on by a guy named Bob Kinsey. Thus, I suspect, the origination of “bait and switch” political flip-flopping at the local level. (Editors note: Can you say Nelson Harris and Victory Stadium?)

Next week, we hear some of our reader’s comments after their initial preview of the on-air soap opera web-cam that has become Roanoke’s own  ‘Guiding Light’.  Until then, see you on the overlook.

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