Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Strasburg, Kaitlin Smoot and Katie Baker - Now the story has come full circle







BLACKSBURG- Our recent trips down to Blacksburg had one simple purpose. Linda and I wanted to share in the week end with the Smoot family as Kaitlin was making her debut on the Virginia Tech Club VB Team. Larry and Judith Smoot had played such a huge role for us in the Strasburg Rams Volleyball Championship and through these efforts we had became very close to their family.

After the Saturday night in Richmond when the Rams finished off their 28-0 season and the final congrats and hugs were over it left me to wonder if and when we would get the opportunity to watch Kaitlin Smoot and Katie Baker to play Volleyball again. I knew that Suzanne Mathias would be back to coach the Rams the following season and that Bethany Doman, Jenna Smoot as well as the remaining underclassmen would be back but that the 7 seniors would move on.

The next opportunity to watch Katie and Kaitlin play volleyball occurred on Wednesday July 2ND , down on the campus of Christopher Newport University. The East-West All Star Games were being hosted by VHSCA and both Katie and Kaitlin were invited to play. We made the trip down to Newport News and back to watch the match and visit with the families. Katie was going to play at Bridgewater College in the fall and Kaitlin was going down to Blacksburg to attend Virginia Tech.

Bridgewater College is 44 miles each way from the house so I have been able to watch Katie and her Lady Eagles team on a number of occasions. A number of home games at Niniger Hall and a handful of road games as well have given me plenty of time with the Baker's. Every time I have seen Katie play she has looked so comfortable on the floor and both Mom and Dad say she is really enjoying school.

The school has a new coach in Greg Spector and the team has already reached 20 wins for the season. The Lady Eagles play one final home game this week on Thursday night against Mary Baldwin College and then it is on to the Old Dominion Athletic Conference tournament down at Hollins College in Roanoke.

It was great to know that one half of the dynamic duo was back playing Volleyball and enjoying life after Strasburg. Katie is the same kind, considerate student-athlete she was while leading the way back at 250 Ram Drive.

One down and one to go and the VT tourney dates of 10/24 & 10/25 have been circled on our calender for quite a while. Checking of the web site at http://www.womensclubvolleyball.org.vt.edu/ in hopes of finding out more information about the event. It was a need to know basis and I needed to know.

Anybody that has ever written a story about sports has done it with the help of an editor. Sports Editors and Sports Writers have a unique relationship and that is no different for me. You develop a bond with your editor that stays with you for a long time. This is where the bond between the Smoots and the Carters gets a little deeper. When we went looking for someone to make the Volleyball book right we didn't have to ask Judith Smoot twice.

Judith went to the trouble of first gathering as much of the information as possible. The second thing Judith did was take the UN-edited version of the book and make the changes needed. You can't overlook the role she played as Mother of the All-Time Assist Leader in Virginia VB history. The Smoots are as special as they come and the opportunity to travel down to Va Tech to be there for the big event was too much to pass on.

As I stated in the book, every writer is looking for a story to tell and I had found mine. The story of the Bakers and Smoots plus the Strasburg community was the Story of a Lifetime about a Season of a Lifetime. Getting to spend the big week end with the family simply put icing on the cake. The "Orange " VT team won the Championship after a pair of close calls in the semi-finals and then the finals against Colorado State. If you have followed the story you know by now that the winning of the final match is not the story, the amazing folks in the story are the story.

Kaitlin couldn't have seemed happier and the decision to attend Mr. Smoot's Alma mater (Class of 1978 - I believe) has come up Aces (Volleyball term) for her. Kaitlin is also set to begin working with the VT varsity coach to continue toward her goal of following in her Mother's foot steps as a VB Coach.

The current Rams are preparing to compete for the Bull Run District Tourney crown to go with their regular season title. Coach Mason and Coach Mathias have the program heading in the right direction with this years addition of a Freshman team.

Katie and her new team is finishing off a solid season with just one senior on the squad. The future is looking bright for the folks over at BC.

Now I can add that Kaitlin is enjoying life at Virginia Tech and feel that the story has come full circle for the 2007-2008 Strasburg Rams Volleyball program.The two amazing young women, with some help from their class mates made a run that the school and the town will not soon forget, are both doing just fine.

As Paul Harvey would say - Now you know the rest of the Story!

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