Saturday, December 13, 2008

Road Trippin' with Bill Meade and the Luray Bulldogs... Luray @ Eastern View (Culpepper)

The cell phone rang Saturday morning at 10:54 A.M. and it was none other than Mr. Bill Meade of the Page News & Courier. It turns out that Bill was going to be heading across the mountain to Culpepper later Saturday to cover the Luray Boys Basketball team. Luray was scheduled to face the Cyclones of Eastern View High School. EVHS is playing its first year of sports after opening this fall over in Culpepper County.
I informed Bill that this is the Sunday that we give Christmas gift bags to our customers and that we would be prepping them all day but if we were at a stopping point by the 6:00 P.M. departure time I would be up to the ride.
A few minutes after 5:00 there is a ring of the door bell and it is Bill asking if he can be of some help with the treats. Mr.Meade pulls up a chair and starts on the pile in front of him with no questions asked. Now, there is two ways to look at that- Bill is just that nice of a guy or he was just desperate for some company... Those of you that read this site know that I am a glass half full kinda guy so for me it is a case of Bill being that nice.
The one thing that is great about talking with Bill is the amount of stuff the two of us have in common when it comes to our outlook on High School sports.
At 6:10 P.M. it was time to Go Over the Mountain and Through the Woods and we made it in time for the tip off...
There was plenty of pics to take and stories to tell and they will follow. I will get as many up before it is time to head down to the shop and deal with the Sunday Post...

Luray's Jenny & Willie Logan...

Jenny Logan is now playing her basketball for the Lady Eagles of Bridgewater College but her younger brother Willie is still wearing the colors of LHS. Jenny made the trip over as did Mom & Dad to watch the action. This gave the opportunity to invite Jenny to become a ATV-60 Correspondent from BC where she rooms with none other than Ms. Katie Baker of Strasburg.

I did get to share with Jenny the story about Coach Burner (Stonewall Jackson) having a defense he calls the "Jenny Logan Junk Defense". Pretty cool to be so young and have a defense named after you. We hope Jenny takes us up on our offer...

The Eastern View High School Welcoming Commitee

These two young men were kind enough to wait around for us to really olds guys to make it back out to Bill's car. If they arereppresentitive of the student body @ Eastern View the school is in good hands...

NCAA Semi-Finals : Montana 35, JMU 27 (F)

Congrats to Head Coach Mickey Mathews and the JMU Dukes for making it to the Final Four!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Central High School - Coach Jerry Walters & The Falcons Family Tree- Pics 1ST

After spending a couple of hours with Mr. John Galle of the Shenandoah Valley Herald in Woodstock I made the two mile drive over to Central High School. The Lady Falcons were playing Broadway and one thing you can always count on at Central is the chance to visit with some folks that will make you feel right at home.
Tonight was no different, except the opportunity to trade stories with none other than Valley Coaching Legend Jerry Walters. On our site Jerry is also known as Jeff''s Dad but for tonight we will call him Coach. Coach spent 34 years working the sidelines at Central until his retirement following the 2004-2005 campaign.
While I have known Coach for a few years, it wasn't until Thursday night that I was able to spend what I would call one on one plus time. See, Coach is a magnet to folks in the gym and each one of them brings another couple of stories to the forefront. I can honestly say that I felt privileged to get to spend the evening with such a quality person that has given so much to Shenandoah County and its residents.
I have to flash back to the afternoon when I found myself discussing my efforts with Galle. The site is just a not-for-profit way to shine a light on some good doers that happen to play a part in the local sports scene. I felt myself trying to explain part of the beauty is you never know where the next conversation will lead you. In this case in led me to the Dean Smith of the Shenandoah Valley. I am going to sneak in a couple of pics from the night here and there ...

3. The basketball marking the 500TH career victory for Coach in his 33RD season.

4. Coach with Foltz and current Falcon football Coach Mike Yew

5. Coach and his right hand man Roger Wilkins. Wilkins coached with Walters for 24 of his 34 years and now works the sidelines of Jerry Walters Court.

6.The Walters and Foltzie (Coach Donn Foltz)

7.Jeff Walters (for tonight he will revert back to Jerry's son) and his two sons.
The top two pictures are of the State Championship Trophy that Roger & Mickey won with the Lady Falcons back in 1996-1997. The next picture is of that very team and I have to smile about how young both Mickey & Jeff look. In that same photo you will find current Lady Falcons Head Coach Stephanie Mathews.
Roger Wilkins was the starting guard as a junior for the very first of Walters 34 seasons on the bench. Mickey Clinedinst played on the JV squad that same season and then joined Roger on the Varsity squad that next season. Mickey would go on play basketball at Bridgewater College while Roger would attend James Madison University where he was a team manager for the basketball team.
After graduation they both headed back to work with Coach and as they say the rest is history. The story just continues to get better with each person that walks in and sits down next to Coach and myself. The VBL fans that follow our site might remember Coach by one of his other titles - he is listed as General Manager of Stu Richardson's Woodstock River Bandits.
This brings us to the man I call Foltzie. I first met Foltzie while covering a VBL game for the Northern Virginia Daily a few years back. Foltz is another member of the Central/River Bandits family as he doubles as the Head Coach for both teams. Wilkins does the PA work for Stu and Mickey works the scoreboard. Add in Larry Smoot to the mix as he doubles as Kaitlin Smoot's Dad and holds a seat on the Board of Directors for the River Bandits. Smoot played baseball down at Virginia Tech after his days in the Valley.
Foltzie was a junior on the Falcons squad back in 1979-1980 that made a run at the State Championship. Central ran into a Ft. Defiance team that was led by one Dell Curry. Foltz tells the story well about scoring an early basket on Curry and then Curry scored 44 back on him and his fellow Falcons. Both Foltz (Class of '81) and Walters were quick to point out that Curry was even more dominant as a pitcher on the Indians baseball team two years later.
Mike Yew ('86-'88) and Jeff Walters ('84-'88) were two of the basketball players in the next group that stopped by. Walters would go on to play college ball at USC-Aiken where he would cross paths with a local promoter/Domino's Pizza Supervisor that ran events for the Pacers basketball team. Jeff and I were on the same court many a night back in 1990-1991 but wouldn't realize it until some 15 years later. Talk about a small world...
Now trading this many stories in one night, all while watching Mathews coach her team against Broadway, is why I/we continue to travel Around The Valley in 60 Days. There are so many stories that are all good natured and are there for the taking. Have you heard the one about how strong of a Quarterback Mike Bocock was in his playing days? Or that Larry Smoot's Hokie team set a record that still stands today?
Coach says we should do a book and I think he might be on to something...

Some Pics from Broadway @ Central

A couple of shots from the JV game won by Broadway 46-27

Every know and then we receive a gift from Above... Great Pics of Strasburg @ Gap

Lady Bison edge Lady Rams 49-46 in Class A Showdown

SWOOPE - While I haven't been able to find a great deal of info yet, I can tell you that Buffalo Gap defeated Strasburg 49-46 in Class A Girls Basketball Wednesday night. Gap is the defending State Champion and Strasburg (2-1) returns a number of key players from last seasons 24-2 mark.
The two teams will play again on December 18TH up in Strasburg.
Congrats to the Lady Bison on the victory...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Warm thoughts for Smokey Joe - Team Pup of the Waynesboro Generals

A conversation earlier today with Waynesboro Generals GM Shirley Hundley led me to the news that Smokey Joe (pictured here with Mr. & Mrs. Hundley) is under the weather. I wanted to let both Shirley & Smokey Joe know we will keep them in our thoughts and prayers...

Ring Day for the VBL Champion Luray Wranglers- Not the Best Pics but you get the idea...

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Giant Tip of the Cap to Chuck McGill for todays NVD Sports Page !!!

Anyone who reads the efforts I put up here on this site surely knows about my having one and one only Professional Sports Hero, Greg Maddux. Maddux announced his retirement yesterday at a Press Conference at the Bellaigo Hotel near his home in Las Vegas, Nevada.
I am bummed on many levels as I had hoped that Greg would come back for one more season and for lack of a better way of saying it, give me a reason to care about Major League Baseball.
Now that Maddux has made it official the good folks at ESPN can spend all of their time and energy talking about who is going to be the next $200 million dollar man. I know the old line about the fine line between sports and business but I personally think that the ship has sailed.
The strike that wiped out the World Series, Sammy Sosa and his corked bat, the day that Mark Mcguire appeared before congress, the circus surrounding Roger Clemens and the freak show that was Barry Bonds pursuit of the Home Run Record. Six to one it is a pick-um for some people has to which of the above was the most damaging to the Greatest Game ever played but it is not so tough for me.
Turn the clock back a few years to the day that Alex Rodgreety signed the 10 year/$252,000,000.00 free agent contract with Tom Hicks and the Texas Rangers. I really loved the story about why it was $252mill vs $250mill but I am not going to type it hear but I heard it second handed. A-Rod and Hicks changed my outlook on the game at the Professional level.
But every fifth day Greg Maddux gave that back to me and then some. The Class Maddux showed throughout his entire career is simply amazing and that is what made me a fan of "The Professor" some 20 years. There are no Maddux sound bites that get played over and over for the point of trying to embarrass him.
To try and pick one example would be difficult but I will try just the same. This year I took to the road on three occasions to watch Maddux pitch in person. First to Philli, then to San Diego and finally up to D.C after the trade from the Padres to the L.A Dodgers. Did I manage to see the right hander collect one of his 355 career victories? Nope - in fact in all of the years of following him around I was never in the park on a night he earned a victory but I had zero complaints and the same is true for Maddux.
The night was August 15,2008 and as it turned out the game was the final one Maddux would pitch as a Padre in Petco Park. I made the trip out to California for the game and was sitting right behind the Padre dugout when Greg headed out to duel with fellow 40 something year old Jamie Moyer and the Philidelphia Phillies. Moyer and Maddux turned back the clock, turned in way back for the evening.
One zero went on the scoreboard, then another and another until before you knew it was 0-0 heading into the top of the 7TH inning. This was the same line-up that would go on to win the World Series later and Maddux was in his zone. Madux had a four hitter going and had also recorded four strike outs.
In the top of the seventh Maddux made a slight mistake to Pat Burrell and the fly ball to left field made it into the tenth row. One pitch and he was now down 1-0 and that turned out to be the final score. Fast forward to the post game interviews and there is Maddux- not saying I deserved to win, not saying that the offense let him down and showing anyone up. What did Greg Maddux want to talk about - the amazing pitching performance of one Jamie Moyer!
That is one story of a couple hundred I could tell but I think it makes the point I am after. The game of ML Baseball suffered a loss Monday afternoon when one of the greatest ambassadors of the game stepped away from the diamond. It was never about I,I,I for Maddux it was about the team and it was never about the cash grab either.
I have to story I like to tell about the collection of Maddux jerseys I have from his days as a Cub,Brave, Dodger and a Padre. When asked which jersey of his is my favorite I don't even hesitate to say his New York Yankee jersey. The immediate response from a baseball fan is Maddux never pitched for New York. This is true and my NYY Maddux jersey is simply a NYY jersey that is blank on the back. I am not going to try and say Maddux was not compensated by the Braves or that he doesn't have more money than his boys will ever need, just saying he didn't sell his soul on the journey.
It was about class, it was about his family, it was about saying the right things and these are some of the reasons I am a die-hard Maddux fan. The fact that he won 355 baseball games (the 8TH highest total in MLB history) was simply icing on the cake for me.
Now I know that Chuck McGill didn't center the page of today's Northern Virginia Daily because we are friends and he knows that Maddux is my guy. But in my world that doesn't mean you don't say THANK YOU just the same.
A tip of the cap to Greg Maddux and a second one to Chuck McGill...

Hanging out with 3 of the Shenandoah County Fab Four and watching some quality Hoops!

"Tiger" Wilkins (center) one of injured Lady Generals out of action
A key part of the Stonewall Family - Mr. & Mrs. Stout

Cassie Conley finishing a 4TH quarter Free Throw

Coach B rallying his troops

Molly Beall looking to inbound the ball

Another Varsity game that came down to the wire

One of Mr. McGill's Ace Reporters Dennis Atwood interviewing Coach Burner
Check out the gamer at

Brittany Smith (30) facing "Bull" Richardson (54) and James Wood's Sara Michael

SJ Coach Jeff Burner

Left to right - Strasburg's Coach Mason & Coach Mathias, Mickey & Roger (Central)

Jen Mason & Suzanne Mathias of Strasburg

James Wood Head Coach Jamie Carr & his Lady Colonels
The Fab Four is a reference to the four members of the Shenandoah County family that I credit with my deep ties to the Valley. Strasburg Head Volleyball & Softball Coach Suzanne Mathias, Central High School's Roger Wilkins, Stonewall Jackson's Jeff Burner and New Market Rebels GM Bruce Alger...