WILD BILL TURNER: Beware The Ides of March!

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Bill Turner
That warning reverberated around corporate headquarters to begin the month. A little sleuthing revealed our interns had something on their minds regarding the Ides of March 15th. With the warmer temperatures now in place and the likelihood that the deep snows had melted at The Chief’s remote mountaintop retreat, would the old boy make a surprise appearance around here to check on the staff? It’s enough to get everyone on edge, not to mention making certain that his new executive bidet is looking good.
The interns suggested we should do something special to welcome¬†The Chief, and an “Ides of March” celebration was put on the table. But, I pointed out; we might have a problem.
“Beware the Ides of March” references the warning by a fortune teller to Roman statesman Julius Caesar that something bad was heading his way on March 15, 44 BC. Granted we have a tie-in here with my Ouija Board making predictions over the years, but even I can’t keep up with the crazy Roman calendar with the Ides.
In a 31-day month like March, the Kalends was day 1, with days 2-6 being counted as simply “before the Nones.” The Nones fell on day 7, with days 8-14 “before the Ides” and the 15th as the Ides. Afterward, the days were counted as “before the Kalends” of the next month. So, every month had an Ides, but this particular March was unique.
Julius Caesar was a controversial leader who had accumulated plenty of detractors during his reign. A large group of conspirators schemed to knock off Julie right in the middle of a Roman Senate meeting and also considered having the act carried out during the elections of new consuls. (At this point, like the old TV police shows, we’ll note any similarities to any real person, past or present, is totally coincidental.)
Yes, you always learn something when you read this column.
This is where having an Ides celebration for The Chief ran into swampy waters. After all, The Chief isn’t a controversial leader who attracts detractors; rather a fun-loving chap who is truly admired by his entire corporate staff. As a result, the interns, determined to stay with a Roman-themed event, came up with the perfect alternative.
To celebrate The Chief, we’d have a Toga Party. Easy to organize, corporate headquarters looks like the Roman Senate House, plus The Chief looks good wearing a sheet. I’ve turned the details over to the gang in the sports department, and we’re loading up on cheap sheets from Big Lots to hand out. Probably an area DJ for music and I’ve heard rumors that the staff will preview “Animal House” this weekend for party ideas. We may (or may not) publish pictures next month.
Now, to more conventional sports news where we take a look at the first group of “Big-11” state champions, high school football rankings, the upcoming TV schedule for Playback Game of the Week with Hall of Fame broadcaster Dave Ross, last call for tickets to see a pro football player in Salem and a quick look in the mail bag where one reader is astounded by my Super Bowl halftime prediction. Let’s get to work.
It was refreshing sports news for local “Big-11” athletes who were finally able to return to competition after the COVID-19 pause. Here’s the latest list of state champions crowned in their respective sports.
VHSL Class 3 Swimming:
Ava Muzzy (Cave Sprimg)- 200-meter individual medley and 500-meter freestyle.
Colin Murtaugh (William Byrd)- 50-meter freestyle and 100-meter butterfly.
VHSL Class 2 Girls Swimming:
Team State Champion- Glenvar Highlanders.
VHSL Class 5 Track. and Field:
Micah Jones (William Fleming)- boys 55-meter dash and 55-meter hurdles.
Megan McGinnis (Patrick Henry)- girls 500-meter.
VHSL Class 2 Girls Track and Field:
Team State Champion- Glenvar Highlanders.
VHSL Class 2 Wrestling:
Jake Cline (Glenvar)- 132-pound division.
On to “Big-11” high school football and VHSL rankings through week-3 of the abbreviated 6-game season. Rankings as of March 9th.
Region 2D: Glenvar (9th)
Region 3D: Lord Botetourt (1st), William Byrd (4th), Cave Spring (5th), Northside (7th) and Hidden Valley (9th).
Region 4D: Salem (1st).
Region 5D: Patrick Henry (2nd), William Fleming (8th).
High school football has returned to television with weekly broadcasts of Student Playback Game of the Week on CW5 (Cox Cable channel 5). Hall of Fame broadcaster Dave Ross is joined by color commentator Steve Meyers to bring viewers a top game on Saturday afternoon from the previous night’s action. Here is the remaining regular season lineup of games.
March 12: Cave Spring at Patrick Henry – broadcast time Saturday, March 13 4:30 PM.
March 19: Game TBD- broadcast time Saturday March 20 4:00 PM.
March 26: Salem at Hidden Valley- broadcast time Saturday March 27 4:00 PM.
April 2: Pulaski Co. at Salem- broadcast time Saturday April 3 4:00 PM.
The Roanoke Valley Sports Club brings former Virginia Tech quarterback and current NFL Washington Football Team player Logan Thomas as its guest speaker for the Monday, March 15 meeting at the Salem Civic Center. A 5:45 social is followed by dinner and the program. Note that as of press time, only a limited number of tickets still remained for this event. Check the club’s website at www.roanokevalleysportsclub.com¬†for more information.
Finally, to the mail bag where one reader is amazed by my Super Bowl halftime prediction and frustrated that he was shut out on laying down one prop bet.
Dear Wild Bill: How in the world did you predict that one team would lead by 15 points at halftime of Super Bowl 55? But, I got shut out on betting that if that spread happened, you and your boss would go hunting for groundhogs. I had a lock on that one; it was already dark by halftime of the game. (Eddie/New Castle).
Well, Eddie, as for the point spread, my Ouija was on target for the Super Bowl. As for your bet, be glad you didn’t get it down. The thing you didn’t factor in- The Chief and I own candles and aren’t afraid to use them. Beware the Ides of March ye ground pigs of a nocturnal nature . . .
Until next time, TOGA, TOGA, TOGA.

– Wild Bill Turner