Well, here we are. The first Wild Bill column in our new, state-of-the-art online-only format.
I’ve got to admit everyone in the sports department is overboard with excitement with The Chief moving us forward into the cutting edge of newspaper production, leaving behind those former concepts akin to things like the Kodak camera and Underwood typewriter.
Of course some things will remain constant. Loudmouth Golf will stay firmly in place as the official sportswear of the Wild Bill Column. Most of you know I’d be literally naked without wearing Loudmouth pants while covering games, on the bench at Cave Spring basketball games or making those great public appearances decked out in style.
But, a question came up around the water cooler last week that got the wheels turning. With all the savings from not buying newsprint and ink, plus no distribution costs of racks, rentals and delivery, where will The Chief redistribute those assets?
Everyone agreed we didn’t need a raise, so ideas came gushing forth on promoting The Star with an eye-popping, “wow-look at that” concept. Great minds starting working on an action-packed take-off of the 1970-71 ABC spy spoof, “Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp.”
For those who don’t remember, the show was a cast of chimpanzees given apparent speaking roles by overdubbing with human voices. Led by “Lancelot Link” and his female sidekick “Mata Hairi”, the two led a group who fought crime at A.P.E. (Agency to Prevent Evil), going up against devious characters with names like Dragon Woman, Baron von Butcher and Dr. Strangemind. Yes, you always learn something when you read this column.
Obviously, we switched things to a newspaper angle, with our agency called S.T.A.R. (Strategic Team for Accurate Reporting). The starring role was a no-brainer and goes to our leader, “Lancelot Chief, Investigative Reporter”, and I think I’ve got my photography intern Piper ready to step in as “Mata Hairi”, although I had to convince her the name referred to a chimp being hairy and nothing to do with not shaving one’s legs.
Other roles fell naturally into place. I’ll play “Wang Fu” which loosely translates from Chinese to English as Wild Bill. The original “Commander Darwin” will change to “Commander Gene”, honoring another of our original-4 at The Star, Gene Marrano, who has the perfect radio and TV voice for this gig. And, Dick Baynton, our political and economic guru, hopefully takes on the original role of “Creto”. This cast could be unmatched in television history.
Now, while the producers and script writers are at work, we”ll return to the local sports scene where we take a look at the final month of Salem Red Sox baseball, announce an exceptional sports club meeting, get you set for high school football and ice hockey, plus visit the mail bag where one reader has questions about last month’s final print edition.
The Salem Red Sox wind down the 2018 campaign at Haley Toyota Field with a stellar lineup of games. The Sox get have four straight versus Carolina on August 10th-13th. Down East visits Salem on August 17-19, and after a night off, Frederick comes to town for a 3-game set August 21-23. Salem closes the season with a 4-game homestand against Rt. 460 rival Lynchburg August 31-September 3, with the Labor Day finale set to begin at 1:05 pm.
The Roanoke Valley Sports Club kicks off its new year with an exceptional program for the Thursday, August 16th meeting at the Salem Civic Center. Carla Williams, Director of Athletics at The University of Virginia will be on hand as the guest speaker to enlighten everyone on sports at UVA. Also, state championship teams from Cave Spring tennis and North Cross lacrosse will be recognized. Things kick off with a 5:45 social followed by dinner at 6:15 and the program at 7. Interested guests and prospective new members are invited to join the fun at the RVSC.To purchase tickets contact Maggie Drewry at 540-353-1103 or visit the new RVSC website at www.roanokevalleysportsclub.com.
The dog days of August mean high school football Friday night lights are ready to go, and this year most teams have two August games with the openers set for August 24th. We’ll have The Star sports team on hand for many games and hope to see fans fill the stadiums to support their favorite squads.
It may be in the mid-90s outside, but the ice goes down in just over two months for the Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs season opener on October 20th at the Berglund Center. Get on board with season tickets by calling the Rail Yard Dawgs office for a variety of ticket packages.
Finally, to the mail bag.
Dear Wild Bill: Was it emotional and quiet after the last Star print edition rolled off the presses? (Violet Mae/Roanoke)
Au contraire, Violet Mae. Everyone was excited to move forward to the digital age. And, it was far from quiet hearing The Chief shout “Lights, camera, action !!” from the executive office. The ole boy obviously likes the idea of “Lancelot Chief, Investigative Reporter.” Red carpet, here we come.