Bill Turner
The month of June.
Summer sports should be in full swing. Fall sports just around the corner. But, we’ve hit a speed bump that everyone knows about, so we won’t beat that dead horse like the national media is so accomplished.
Instead we’ll give you some local updates and stay positive with a trio of great June events.
For openers, here’s your first notice of an upcoming celebration. This column has always been one of the first to give you the reminder. Think Thursday, June 25th. It’s just 6 months until Christmas. Hopefully, we’ll get a long break from COVID-19 statistics, gloom and doom on the economy, arguing and hearing every TV newscast open with “we have stunning breaking news.” Yes, it gets old in a hurry.
Christmas should bring smiles on your face, a time for family celebration, snow on the ground and a true meaning of what is important. Six months…….it can’t arrive too soon this year.
Next, Sunday, June 21st., Father’s Day is here. We’re giving you just enough notice to get that special Dad something special he deserves. Although most sons and daughters don’t need a specific date to celebrate the most important man in their life, every dad does get his special day on the calendar.
Here’s the Wild Bill “Know Your Father’s Day” trivia. If you’re ever concerned about forgetting Father’s Day, just remember it always falls on the third Sunday in June, then check the calendar accordingly.
Father’s Day has relatively light roots and was actually created by a woman, Sonora Smart Dodd. She tried to establish an official equivalent to Mother’s Day  for male parents, and went around to local businesses to gather support for her idea. On June 19, 1910, the state of Washington celebrated the first-ever Father’s Day.
Presidents Woodrow Wilson and Calvin Coolidge kept urging Americans to acknowledge a day for dads, although it still wasn’t an official holiday. Unfortunately, in the 20’s and 30’s people tried to do away with both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, hoping to replace them with Parent’s Day instead. During the Great Depression, retailers made a push to keep both intact, and World War II gave people a way to use Father’s Day as a way to pay respect to American troops.
Finally, on May 1, 1972, President Richard Nixon signed Proclamation 4127 which declared Father’s Day as a national holiday. “Let each American make Father’s Day an occasion for renewal of the love and gratitude we bear to our fathers, increasing and enduring through all the years,” Nixon wrote in the document. The first official celebration of Father’s Day followed on June 18, 1972.
Yes, you always learn something when you read this column.
Finally, to our recent red letter day of June. I’d be remiss to not tell all readers that June 9th was The Chief’s birthday. Last year I used my famous Ouija Board to conger up the exact day, which the Chief admitted was correct. This year, with no sports predictions on the horizon, and no clues from the ole boy, I decided to tune up the Ouija Board to see if I could come up with the year.
The planchette was on the move right out of the gate to figure this one out, but after roaming for over 20 minutes came up with an abstract answer. The Chief’s year number equates to 17, a zodiac number indicating authority and good looks in the Ouija sphere of influence. This is where we’ll hope for a “publisher’s comment” to see if it makes sense to him. Until then, you’ll have to wait to see if I’m on target.
(Publisher’s Note: Sometime’s you learn things in this column that fall somewhere between suspect and highly questionable . . . :))
On to local sports news. The Salem Red Sox remain in a holding pattern to hopefully salvage at least part of their 140-game season. News is expected within the next 30 days. And, if you’re craving for Roanoker Rail Yard Dawgs ice hockey, the typical opening night is less than 4 months away.
High school football has begun the reinstatement of out-of-season practice activities, and suspended the Summer “dead period” for all athletic teams during the week of June 29-July 4. All schools must submit health plans to the Virginia Department of Education, outlining compliance with Virginia Department of Health and CDC mitigation strategies. Any decisions moving forward will be made in compliance with the Governor’s orders and will continue to be made with the best interest of student-athletes. Safety will be the number one priority.
“Allowing students and coaches the opportunity to begin out-of-season extracurricular activities and athletics will allow school communities the ability to begin moving in a positive direction,” VHSL Executive Director Dr, John W. “Billy” Haun noted on June 11. “Our student-athletes have been out for over three months. Conditioning and acclimation will be critical as coaches and athletes prepare for the upcoming fall season.”
Fall sports include football, volleyball, cross country, golf, competitive cheer and dance. Specifics on each sport and activity, along with spectator attendance is still pending.
Next, the Roanoke Valley Sports Club is looking to restart its monthly meeting schedule with the second annual high school football coaches night set for Monday, July 20th at the Salem Civic Center. Six of the top high school coaches will talk about their upcoming season and give a better understanding of what to expect. Check the club’s website at www.roanokevalleysportsclub.com to keep abreast of the July meeting and to make reservations.
Congratulations go out to former Cave Spring High School assistant basketball coach Ethan Humphries for being named the new head coach at James River. Humphries was part of the Cave Spring staff that recently won the VHSL Class 3 State Championship. That staff included yours truly under the leadership of head coach Jacob Gruse.
Finally, to the mailbag where one reader inquires about the sports department at The Star.
Dear Wild Bill: Love your recent sports coverage under trying conditions. Has your Chief been easy on the sports department’s work load? (Hazel/ Smith Mountain Lake)
Well, Hazel, The Chief is always fair and cooperative, giving a lot of leash to the sports director. Honestly, he’s been secluded at his mountaintop retreat, assumedly getting the knack of flying the Pilatus PC6 Porter corporate plane. We’re waiting anxiously for his return and hoping to figure out how to promote social distancing in a wigwam.
Until next month, it’s about time to let the games return.
Bill Turner