Well, here we are. Labor Day is upon us.
High school football is ready for kickoffs, it won’t be long until the leaves change colors and there’s only a little over 100 days until Santa Claus comes down the chimney.
Things have been changing as well around corporate headquarters here at The Star. Our Indian monument project has captivated The Chief’s imagination, adding to excitement around the building.
One report by the executive secretarial pool said The Chief strolled out of his office, pointed skyward and proclaimed before walking by, “Chief heading to great waters . . .”
We’re not quite sure if he has left for a long holiday weekend at Myrtle Beach, or was simply making a run to the executive washroom.
Another rumor from an intern noted The Chief put her on a special project to find the perfect place for our annual holiday ‘powwow’. Not exactly sure what a powwow entailed, she looked it up and discovered it was a Indian ceremony involving feasting, drinking and singing, along with being a conference for discussion among colleagues for future plans. A powwow can last from one day to up to one week. Apparently to be on the safe side, she reserved a block of rooms at Hotel Roanoke and a special section roped off in the bar.
With all this singing, drinking and powwowing going on, readers may well expect a larger than normal number of misspelled words in late-December features.
Yes, you always learn something when you read this column.
Before I head out to shop for a holiday ceremonial headdress to wear to the powwow, let’s take a look at what’s going on in area sports.
Local high school football gets into full stride on Friday, August 30 with a complete slate of “Big-11” games. Get out and support your favorite team, and watch the talented high school athletes compete.
The High School Playback Game of the Week will air each Saturday afternoon, replaying one of the top match-ups from the previous night. Hall of Fame broadcaster Dave Ross is joined by color commentator Steve Myers for play-by-play action on Channel CW5.(Cox Cable channel 5). Game times vary depending on college football each Saturday, so check your local cable listings for kickoff times. Opening week features Patrick Henry at Hidden Valley, followed in weeks 2-4 by Northside at Cave Spring, E.C. Glass at Franklin County and Salem at Northside.
The Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs are solidifying its preseason tryout roster for the upcoming 2019-2020 season. The Dawgs open on October 18 with a 3-game road trip before returning to the Berglund Center for the home opener Saturday, October 26 against Fayetteville.
At press time, the Salem Red Sox were on the verge of clinching a playoff spot for the upcoming Carolina League playoffs. Salem closes out its regular season with a 4-game home stand against the Carolina Mudcats August 30-September 2. Salem would face Wilmington in a best-of-five series if it hangs on to win the second half race or the wild card spot, with the first two games played in Salem, followed by the remaining necessary games in Wilmington. The Salem-Wilmigton winner advances to the Mills Cup Championship Series where the best-of-five series this year begins with the first two games in the Northern Division city, with the remaining necessary games in the Southern Division champion’s city.
The PGA TOUR “A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier” begins its tournament week September 9th, with the four-round tournament competition September 12-15. Many of the best golfers in the world will be in the field at The Old White TPC in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. The Roanoke Star will be on hand for coverage again this year.
Area grappling fans will want to be on hand on Monday, September 9 as Virginia Tech head wrestling coach Tony Robie is the guest speaker. Things kick off at the Salem Civic Center with a 5:45 social followed by dinner at 6:15 and the program at 7:00. Contact Maggie Drewry at 540-353-1103 or visit the club website at www.roanokevalleysportsclub.com to make reservations.
Loudmouth Golf enters its seventh year as the official sportswear of the Wild Bill column. Thanks go out to Loudmouth’s Cassie Colgan, and the many fans who love to talk about the great pants you see me wearing at games and on the sideline at Cave Spring basketball. A super gift for men and women, from pants, shorts and blazers to skirts, capris and accessories, Loudmouth makes for an unforgettable Christmas gift for that special person. Visit www.loudmouth.com to see the extraordinary collection.
Now, to the mail bag, where one question kept coming and coming after Sports Illustrated broke the story on Virginia Tech football in mid-August, while many people in Western Virginia felt left in the dark.
Dear Wild Bill: I’ve heard rumors for a couple weeks that Virginia Tech players tried to fix last season’s Marshall game and intentionally lose. What’s the deal, and why hasn’t there been more on this around this area? (Marty/Roanoke) Note-Marty was one of about 7 to pose this inquiry in some form.
Well, Marty, I can’t answer the second part, but I can provide some details on the first. Sports Illustrated writer Ross Dellenger broke the story in mid-August that may well explain the roller coaster player transfers that hit the Hokie program after last season’s 6-7 losing campaign, culminated by the loss to Cincinnati in the Military Bowl.
The Marshall game was organized late in the season after Tech’s home game against East Carolina, another egg-in-the-face episode for the Hokies, was cancelled due to a major hurricane that eventually took the lives of over 50 people, mostly in North Carolina. Tech was 5-6 and needed another ‘win’ to become bowl eligible.
According to the SI report, players on Virginia Tech;’s team were actually hoping to lose the Marshall game to avoid having to play a bowl game. Several players were encouraging teammates to throw the game. “Do not catch a touchdown,” one Hokie said, according to Tre Turner, a freshman receiver on the Tech team in 2018. “If you catch a touchdown, I’m going to have to fight you.”
The SI report goes on to quote another Tech player saying, “Well, if we lose we can go home early and don’t have to go to a bowl game.”
The SI report quotes Jarrod Hewitt, a defensive lineman, as saying there was a huge divide between the Tech offense and defense throughout the season last year. “We would turn on each other pretty often.”
So, there you have it. Dellenger apparently dug deep into this mess. I’m simply reporting his previously published findings.
Until next time, keep the questions pouring in. Sometimes, the answer reveals a lot to contemplate.