Spring has finally sprung at The Star.
The winter doldrums are over. Summer sports are just around the corner. But, the path to sunny skies encountered a few potholes and speed bumps in late March when The Chief decided to head south to Florida for an executive getaway.
More specifically, he headed to Naples, Florida to visit the matriarch of The Roanoke Star at her Gulf Coast estate. For those readers who rarely travel past Greensboro, Naples is the home to the rich and famous. Posh living, top notch shopping and eloquent dining and hotels are the norm. Needless to say, The Chief was in his element. [Chief’s Note: Not quite, but (against our better judgement) we will let His Wildness carry on with this . . .]
Yes, you always learn something when you read this column.
Our crew at corporate headquarters knew of his trip and everything looked dandy when we received pictures of the ole boy getting a tan, plus another showing an impressive catch while on a Gulf Coast fishing trip. At corporate headquarters, the staff was equally relaxed as we put the finishing touches on our new croquet court on the front lawn.
Then, the ball dropped on the day of The Chief’s return. I had no more than entered the lobby when I heard the dreaded words, “Wild Bill, we’re in Code Purple.”
“Code Purple” is our behind-the-scenes secret vernacular noting The Chief is in distress. The last time this occurred was about six years ago when a novice plumber accidentally connected a hot water line to The Chief’s executive lounge ice maker. Very stressful indeed trying to have Happy Hour with hot ice.
A hastily called staff meeting revealed The Chief’s return flight had never gotten off the ground from the Fort Myers Airport. No specifics were available if his traveling party was bumped, the flight was cancelled or he just stayed in the frequent flyer lounge too long.
But, our mission was laid out. Get The Chief back home without further ado.
We considered sending our corporate plane, the PC6 Porter, to Florida until it was agreed that since the travel cutbacks in the past year, it was questionable if the Porter could stay in the air to Fort Lewis in west Salem, much less to Fort Myers in western Florida. Another suggestion to book The Chief on the shuttle pontoon from Naples to Key West for return from a different airport was also nixed after discussion of having the boss on Key West’s Duval Street for the nightly 2-for-1 marguerita deals.
Our corporate travel accountant discouraged using a car service over concern the cost would be prohibitive with down time if The Chief wanted to see the water skiers at Cypress Gardens or visit a couple alligator farms on the journey back home.
Then, things got critical when we received word that the airline had put him up in a shady Fort Myers motor lodge. A couple new interns asked if “shady” referred to palm trees around the pool casting shadows or questionable misfits hanging around in the parking lot. Regardless, we sent word to pick us up a few brochures in the shady hotel lobby for our summer beach volleyball trip.
I decided to take the wait and see approach, and about 36 hours later pictures filtered in of The Chief back at his remote mountaintop retreat. All’s well that ends well, but we’re still wondering about this shady motel, because if it doesn’t involve palm trees, this place looks promising for the sports staff.
Now, on to local sports news where we check in on high school football state championship finals, an upcoming sports club meeting centered around golf, the return of high school spring sports, Red Sox baseball, a great run by VMI football and a popular basketball camp on the horizon.
Let’s get this plane off the ground.
It’s the final weekend of VHSL playoff football and a pair of “Big-11” squads are still in the mix. The 9-0 Salem Spartans travel to Norfolk on Saturday to take on perennial power Lake Taylor (7-0) for the Class 4 championship at 3PM. A short way down the road, Lord Botetourt (9-0) visits Lafayette (8-0) in Williamsburg for the Class 3 title set for a 2PM kickoff.
Both games can be heard locally on the radio, with Ron Myers being joined by Hall of Fame broadcaster Dave Ross for the Salem-Lake Taylor matchup on 1410 AM, while Ben Peyton and his outstanding crew offer the play-by-play of the Botetourt-Lafayette matchup on 910AM.
Congratulations also go out to three other “Big-11” teams, Patrick Henry and William Fleming in Class 5, along with Glenvar in Class 2, for making this year’s playoff run.
The Roanoke Valley Sports Club welcomes officials of the Scott Robertson Memorial Junior Golf Tournament as their guest speakers for the Monday, May 17 meeting at the Salem Civic Center. Hear about the Scott Robertson’s rich history of being ranked as one of the top junior golf tournaments in the world and the upcoming 37th annual event scheduled for May 21-23 at Roanoke Country Club.
High School spring sports has begun and The Star will keep you informed of the top stories in baseball, softball, lacrosse, tennis, soccer and track for our “Big-11” teams. Support your favorite team which returns after the cancelled 2020 spring sports season.
Get ready for professional baseball at Haley Toyota Field as the Salem Red Sox open their 2021 home campaign with a six-game series against Lynchburg May 11-16. The Sox wrap up May with a six-game home set against the Myrtle Beach Pelicans May 25-30.
Next, a big military salute to head football coach Scott Wachenheim and his VMI football team for their great season and appearance in the FCS Playoffs for the first time in school history. The Keydets had their first winning season in 40 years and won the Southern Conference championship for the first time since 1977. You won’t hear coaches at VMI blaming players for losses because of no leadership. There’s never a shortage of leadership and always a class act at VMI. [Chief’s Note: “HEAR, HEAR!]
Finally, a chance for young basketball players to have the opportunity to learn the game the right way and get instruction at the Cave Spring High School Future Knights Basketball Camp in June. Taking place at the high school, the camp staff includes 2020 VHSL Coach of the Year, Jacob Gruse, along with his coaching staff and Cave Spring players. Instructional emphasis on offensive and defensive fundamentals as well as team play and sportsmanship. Session 1-June 14 & 15 for current 3rd-5th grade boys. Session 2- June 16 & 17 for current 6th-8th grade boys. Camps run 9:00AM to 3:00PM daily. Camp fee of $115 includes camp, camp t-shirt, guest speakers each day, along with awards and prizes. Campers bring bag lunch and drinks.
Visit the Cave Spring Knights Facebook page for more information on how to register. Space is limited and all RCPS COVID guidelines will be followed. Bring your game to a new level by instruction from the best.
Until next time, we’re finishing our croquet court with sticky wickets in case things start getting shady around here.
– Wild Bill Turner