This will be season recap #5 in a series of 12 and today we take a quick look inside the newest member of the VBL - the Rockbridge Rapids. The red-letter date for the organization came on Friday July 11TH by way of a celebration kick-off down at Washington & Lee in Lexington.
Rockbridge joining the VBL completes an impressive decade in which the league doubled in size, going from 6 teams back in 2000 to 12 teams in 2009. The VBL added Luray and Covington for the 2001 season and then Woodstock teamed up with Loudon County (Now Haymarket) back in 2004 to push the total to double figures. When Fauquier moved over from the Clark Griffith League back in 2007 it was then the hopes of adding a 12TH team in the Lexington area.
The night I sat in the VBL Owners meeting for the first time back in September of 2007 I listened to Mr. Jim Crothers make the announcement that the hopes of Rockbridge playing during 2008 was past the point of no return. The lights that needed to be added to the stadium at Washington & Lee (Cap'n Dick Smith Field) were not going to be in place in time for the team to have a home stadium for 2008.
The VBL had a number of decisions to make and a limited time to make them about re-framing the 2008 schedule and Crothers needed to finish his efforts to make the Rapids happen. Both groups turned out to have a banner year in 2008 with Luray capturing the Lineweaver Cup and the Rapids getting the lights up and working at Washington & Lee!
I had an opportunity to visit with Jim for a few minutes when he came up to Luray for the Vienna twin bill and I came away impressed. Ken Newman is in place to be the first General Manager in the history of the club and both men are currently looking for help in every aspect of a VBL team to be ready for the 2009 season.
In my opinion the addition of the Lexington/Buena is Gold for two reasons. The first one is easy as the VBL needed an even number of teams so that they could eliminate the one team sits out each night format. The second one is the placement of the franchise...
I don't think there was a better place to put a 12TH team inside the current VBL. The team gets a natural rival in Covington and for the 1ST time since the Lumberjacks joined the VBL, they will have a team within 1 hour of Casey Field. The divisions will be a 6 team North and a 6 team South with the South having 3 great pairings. Waynesboro-Staunton, Harrisonburg- New Market and Covington- Rockbridge.
The team website is up and running at www.rockbridgerapids.com and they already have a link to John's site at http://allthingsvalleyleague.typepad.com . To learn more about the Rapids and their ground breaking efforts you should head over there and take a look around. They will be playing at home on May 31ST of 2009 and I am looking forward to watching the Rapids take the field down at Washington & Lee!
Congrats to Mr. Crothers and company for working through all of the issues that come with creating a team from scratch!