Well, here we sit. The final Wild Bill column of 2022.
It’s been quite a run since that fateful day in September, 2007 when this “incroyable” paper – nee, The Roanoke Star “Sentinentual” – first launched. (Note: I can spell French words like “nee” and “incroyable,” but never could get “Sentinsual” pinned down . . .)
As one of the “Original 4” who climbed on board when this newspaper was founded over 15 years ago, I remain, along with The Chief, as the only two who have gutted it out through thick and thin. And, it’s key to point out that The Chief realized years ago that I’d never master “Senanel” – so he dropped it entirely from the masthead.
Good analysis and good French brandy go a long way in making decisions.
My tenure and loyalty have definitely had their benefits. For instance, I’ve got a key to the executive washroom which entitles me to use the executive bidet and practice chucking darts from a sitting position. Likewise, I get to decide our annual holiday happy hour schedule, which seems to keep getting longer each year at corporate headquarters.
This year, to preserve energy (energy flipping the switch, not electricity) we leave the Christmas lights in the lobby illuminated 24 hours a day to match The Chief’s mobile “Hollywood Bar of the Stars” being ready to pour at the snap of the fingers. This has worked out well after last year’s celebrations ended up with a Cutty Sark bottle perched in the rocks of The Chief’s aquarium. Sort of spreads the holiday cheer, especially having to deal with all of the intern finger snapping.
It’s also been a memorable 2022 with The Chief’s autumn trip to the British Isles highlighting the past twelve months. Although he came up short on reeling in the Loch Ness Monster in Scotland, the old boy scored a lot of points by introducing the adorable Captain Caro to the blokes in various pubs throughout Edinburgh.
Plus, The Chief’s introduction of darts to our staff has proved to be invaluable with regard to teamwork. After only a month, the talent and improvement of chucking arrows has been stunning around here. While our shapely intern Babs brags she can easily throw her double-18 – 36’s on cue without a hitch, and we no longer see a dart lodged in Mona Lisa’s left bosom, the fact remains we’ve all improved; yet The Chief is clearly the resident dart pro at The Star.
Yes, you always learn something when you read this column.
Now, before someone organizes a midday match, let’s take a quick look at local sports with All-State “Big-11” selections, a new golf tournament, a sports club meeting and holiday ice hockey. Plus, our traditional visit from the jolly old man on Christmas Eve.
Class-2 All-State Football First Team Defense:
Nathan Johnson-defensive end, Jack Camper-punter, Jackson Swanson-punt return (Glenvar).
Class-2 All-State Football First Team Offense:
Will Johnson-lineman (Glenvar).
VISAA Division II Football All-State First Team: North Cross
Ian Cann-receiver, return specialist and defensive back; Connor Lange-quarterback; Kamden Johnson-running back; Hannes Hammer-offensive lineman; Morris Schmoranzer-offensive lineman; Chase Daniel-defensive lineman; Zach Morgan-linebacker; Ja’ziel Hart-defensive back.
VISAA Division II Football All-State Second Team: North Cross
Chase Daniel—offensive lineman; Dylan England-offensive lineman; Ethan Ferguson-defensive lineman; Reid Davis-linebacker; Ashton Cornett-punter.
Division II Player of the Year -Ian Cann.
Division II Coach of the Year – Stephen Alexander
VISAA Division III Football All-State Second Team: Roanoke Catholic
Damarion Perdue-running back; Jalen Merchant-receiver; A.J. Johnson-defensive back.
Class-5 Volleyball All-State Second Team: Grayce Edwards (Patrick Henry).
Great news on the professional golf front this week with the announcement of the Saudi Arabia LIV Golf Tour adding the Old White Course at The Greenbrier Resort as one of its premier mega-purse tournaments set for the first week of August. Following our lead of covering every pro golf event at The Greenbrier from 2010-2019, The Star will be on hand as Greg Norman brings his lineup of many of the best golfers in the world to America’s Resort.
The Roanoke Valley Sports Club kicks off its 2023 lineup with its annual Media Night set for Monday, January 16 at the Salem Civic Center. A panel of local print, radio and television media talk local sports and field questions during one of the most popular nights of the year. Things begin with a 5:45 social followed by dinner and the meeting. Required reservations can be made by visiting the club’s website at: www.roanokevalleysportsclub.com.
The red-hot Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs play six of their next seven games at home over the holidays. The Dawgs are at the Berglund Center starting Friday, December 23 against the Fayetteville Marksmen. Following a road trip to Fayetteville on the 27th, Roanoke ends 2022 with three straight at home beginning December 29-30 with a pair against the Quad City Strom and a December 31 New Year’s Eve visit by Huntsville. The following weekend, January 6-7, the Macon Mayhem roll into Roanoke for a two-game set on the Berglund pond. Puck drop for all is set for 7:05pm except the New Year’s Eve tussle which begins at 6:05.
Finally, my annual tradition of the visit from the little chubby guy at corporate headquarters. With temperatures expected to be in the teens and the possibility of snow on the ground this weekend, find a glowing fireplace, a smooth brandy and relax with this good read. It makes for an entertaining family Christmas ritual.
“Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the office,
Not a creature was stirring, from accomplished writer to novice;
The stockings were hung by the corporate fireplace with care,
In hopes that St. Chief soon would be there;
The interns were nestled all snug in their chairs,
While visions of a bonus danced by the pairs;
Wild Bill in his Loudmouth, staff with beverage in hand,
Never a doubt, the best scribes in the land.
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang to the window to see what was the matter;
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the luster of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear;
But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer.
With a little old driver so lively and brief,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Chief.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled and shouted, and called them by name.
“Now Mike! now Babs! now Laura and Scott.
On Melinda! on Anna! on Caro so hot!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away,! dash away! dash away all!
So up to the corporate rooftop they flew,
With the sleigh full of bonuses, and St. Chief along too.
The prancing and pawing of each little boot,
And, our own flashy boss disguised in a red suit.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Chief came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of bonuses he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
His eyes, how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
He had a calm face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly ole elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself.
A wink of his eye and twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know, it was our Chief like I said.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying a finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
“Whether cash or computer, big screen TV or car,
I’m rewarding your hard work, here at The Star.
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.”
Hoping all my readers have a great holiday season and hopes for a prosperous new year!
– Wild Bill Turner