Well, here we are with the excitement of Turkey Day weekend right on the doorstep.

Speaking of excitement, that was the definitive mood around corporate headquarters this fall after The Chief made his ceremonial voyage across the Atlantic to visit the British Isles. From hanging out at the coronation of King Charles III in London to leading a fishing expedition hoping to bag the Loch Ness Monster in Scotland, The Chief obviously left his mark across the pond.

Likewise, the old boy brought a lot of the traditions of the old country back to corporate headquarters where our staff is trying to adjust. We’ve been conducive to the Beefeater bear fur hats for the lobby personnel, and were initially learning to enjoy bagpipe music The Chief now plays daily on the intercom, but surprises have ruled the roost in the last thirty days.

For instance, you can imagine the reaction by our interns when senior intern Babs, looking for a clue on the history of a couple popular bagpipe serenades playing daily, determined they were actually titled “Don’t Peek Under Me Kilters, Lassie” and “Bouncing Baggie Bagpipers.” Despite all the laughter in the break room, I feel fairly confident that the first time The Chief turns his back, we’ll be back to Burl Ives, Gene Autry and Bing Crosby for our holiday music.

But, the coup de gras came when The Chief showed up one day with a box of three dart boards. Apparently, after he was shut out on his quest for Nessie at Loch Ness, he and the ultra-attractive Captain Caro returned on the 156-mile drive from Inverness to Edinburgh to drown his sorrows with a few pints of lager at a local pub, The Mousetrap. The local blokes, looking to get a little closer look at Caro, distracted The Chief by getting him into the game du jour of Scottish pubs, darts. Well, you should never underestimate The Chief’s sporting prowess, and the locals were cleaned out by his chucking the arrows, the lingo in Scotland for throwing darts. (Publisher’s Note: an additional remark about The Chief’s prowess on the track at Bristol Motor Speedway should have been made here but forgiveness is granted …)

The Chief subsequently announced darts would be the staff’s new activity to promote teamwork, and he mounted the first dart board in a corner of the lobby, emphasizing that the bullseye be 5 feet 8 inches from the floor and the toe line 7 feet 9 inches from the board.

Yes, you always learn something when you read this column.

After a manual was distributed on dart lingo, protocol and rules, the arrows have been flying around here, albeit with a few hiccups. We’re playing 501, a game where you start at 501 and subtract your 3-dart totals until you get near zero before having to finish with an exact double to hit zero and claim your win. Basically, at this point we have a bunch of novice chuckers in the house, meaning their throws go all over the place, often missing the board entirely. Case in point last Friday when we discovered an errant throw had hit The Chief’s Mona Lisa reproduction hanging in the lobby, with a dart lodged in Mona’s left bosom. The Chief hasn’t noticed and the interns will remove it once we get the ladder out for Christmas decorating. The rumor floating around now is he’s mounting the second of 3 dart boards across the hall from his executive bidet, where we’re trying to find the exact rules (and protocol) for seated chucking. Never a dull moment around here.

Now, we’ll take a break from chucking arrows or finding a band-aid for Mona to take a look at local sports where we review volleyball champions, take a look at “Big-11” football and honor All-State competition cheer and volleyball selections, plus a little ice hockey.

Make no mistake about it, the road to volleyball state champions runs right through our “Big-11” teams. November 19 was championship day at the Salem Civic Center for VHSL Classes 1-3 and Hidden Valley came within a whisker of taking the Class-3 title before a stunning comeback by York to pull out the win. Hidden Valley finished the season 30-1.

Later in the afternoon, the Glenvar Highlanders took no prisoners in rolling to the 3-0 win over East Rockingham to claim the Class-2 Championship. Glenvar finished the season 26-0. It was the Highlanders’ second straight Class-2 State Title.

State football championships are in week-3 of a 5-week run to title games, and three VHSL “Big-11” squads are still in the running where regional champs will be crowned this weekend.

In Class-4, the #3 seed Salem Spartans travel to Lynchburg to take on the #1 seed E.C. Glass Hilltoppers. In Class-3, #1 seed Lord Botetourt hosts #3 seed Christiansburg in Daleville. In Class-2, #3 seed Glenvar plays host to #4 seed Appomattox County.

Already in the books are VISAA state champions North Cross, which defeated Atlantic Shores 13-0 last Saturday to bring home the hardware. Congrats to the Raiders for another great season.

Next, in our usual tradition, All-State picks in competition cheer and volleyball.

Class-3 All-State Competition Cheer First Team:
Taylor Cox, Haylie Adams and Graelyn Askew (Cave Spring); Braelyn Folks and Emily Hanson (Lord Botetourt).

Class-3 All-State Competition Cheer Second Team:
Kelli Reed (Lord Botetourt); Spencer Peters (William Byrd); Emerson Creasy Northside).

Class-2 All-State Competition Cheer First Team:
Isabella Boardwine, Selena Noel and Ryleigh Acree (Glenvar).

Class-3 All-State Volleyball First Team:
Caleigh Ponn Hidden Valley).

Class-3 All-State Volleyball Second Team:
Calli Anderson (Hidden Valley).

Class-3 Volleyball Player of the Year:
Caleigh Ponn (Hidden Valley).

Finally, to ice hockey where the Rail Yard Dawgs have an exciting lineup of home games at the Berglund Center through the rest of November and December. Sandwiched around Thanksgiving Day, the Dawgs host the Knoxville Ice Bears on Wednesday, November 23 and the Fayetteville Marksmen on Friday, November 25.

Knoxville returns on Thursday, December 1, followed by the Birmingham Bulls on Saturday, December 10. Fayetteville visits the Berglund pond for a pre-Christmas matchup on Friday, December 23. The year ends with three straight, December 29 and 30 against the Quad City Storm, plus a New Year’s Eve shootout with the Huntsville Havoc. Puck drop is 7:05 PM for all games except a 6:05 start on New Year’s Eve.

Until next month where we have our annual “A Visit From St. Chief” rendition, there’s just over 30 days for shopping and decorating.

– Wild Bill Turner

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