Turkey Bowl Revisited

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Greetings From The Booth!

As this is Thanksgiving week, I hope we all take a moment and reflect on the things for which we are truly thankful. We at Royal Broadcasting recently finished our annual Camping For Hunger week-long food drive. In a challenging economy, this year’s CFH raised over 14-thousand pounds of food and about $17 thousand in monetary donations for Front Royal-Warren County C-CAP, and this would not have happened without the generosity of the community. Helping to unload all of that food from the Camping For Hunger Bus Saturday was a humbling an awesome experience, and made me even more thankful for my Thanksgiving meal.

As I write this post, several of our area high school football teams are still alive in the VHSL playoffs, and play in regional championship games tonight (Friday 11-25). The 2b title will go to either Strasburg or Central in what should be a great game. In a Class 3 regional championship game, the Warren County Wildcats have a tough task as they head to Nokesville to take on the talented Tigers. On paper, Brentsville looks like the prohibitive favorite but the games aren’t played on paper.

Thanksgiving always takes me back to a time when I was younger, faster, and less breakable. Like many weekend warriors across the USA, I always participated in a “Turkey Bowl” football game back in the day. For me, that game was usually played on the Friday of Thanksgiving weekend, and almost always at the Rosemont School lot in Martinsburg (WV). I had the honor of being the captain of  “Woodward’s Skins,” while our opponent was a team led by Todd Lyons, aptly named “Lyon’s Lions.” After all, it’s tradition that the Lions play on Thanksgiving, right?

Like any athletic field, ours had it’s unique qualities. The Rosemont lot ran adjacent to a blacktop playground, so “asphalt rash” was not unusual in one of our Turkey Bowl games. And, although two-hand tag was the preferred style of play, hard hitting was not ruled out. After a full afternoon of football, we left those games muddy, sometimes bloody, but full of memories that have filled the years.

At some point we all got old–I’m not sure exactly when that was–and the Turkey Bowls were just something remembered in group texts and phone calls as we all went our separate ways. But there are times when, as the saying goes, “my mind writes checks my body can’t cash,” and I’m pretty sure I can hit Kevin Funkhouser with a perfect spiral as he runs a fly pattern along the row of pine trees…

If you’re still fortunate to be able to play in your own Turkey Bowl, savor the time…it’s all too fleeting.

Until the next visit from The Booth, Happy Thanksgiving!

RW

 

 

 

Welcome To Hell

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Greetings From The Booth!

We’re now in the so-called “second season,” as it’s now playoff time in the high school football season, and as of this writing, the first round is almost done (only Handley has yet to play, with most games having been moved to Thursday of this week). With the leaves almost gone from the trees and thoughts turning toward Thanksgiving and the upcoming Holidays, there is a much different feel to the playoffs. But, more about that after a few quick thoughts about the possible sale of the Washington Commanders, which has been called for by a lot of the fan base…

Dan Snyder is under fire again this week after being sued by the DC Attorney General for deceiving residents about the NFL investigation into the team’s toxic workplace culture. The team is also being slammed for propping up running back and recent shooting victim Brian Robinson, Jr. as a distraction into all the above. I firmly believe that this recent mess will now fast-track Snyder into an imminent sale of the team. One of the groups rumored to be interested in buying is headed by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, one of the richest men in the world.

This would solve a number of things. First, the 20-plus year dumpster fire of the Snyder era would be over. Second, we can finally give the team the name it deserves: The Amazons. Yes, a name that at least has hints of it’s past moniker, although I’m not sure how I feel about the Amazon “smile” logo on the side of the helmet.

Ok, back to high school football. Playoff time is special. Each week of the “second season” brings a sense of finality with the late Fall chill. Lose and you are done. For many seniors it’s the last organized football they will ever play. And for a select few teams who win a state championship, their legacy will live forever in the school trophy case.

One of those teams was the 1994 Handley Judges, who I had the pleasure of following that season as a play-by-play broadcaster all the way to Gate City, Virginia on a muddy December day. That 14-0 Judges team was known for it’s high-powered offense, and led by the Partlow twins, Brian and Michael. On paper, the homestanding Devils had no chance. But the weather (and maybe some home-cooking by the grounds crew) would be the great equalizer. After a 6-hour ride from Winchester that required one to actually leave Virginia, go into Kentucky, then back into Virginia, The Judges fans and players were met with “Welcome To Hell” signs as they entered Gate City.

Then, under somewhat suspect circumstances, the Judges awoke on Game Day Saturday to find a field that was an absolute quagmire. The word quickly spread that a groundskeeper had “accidentally” left a sprinkler system on. Folks, I was there–the field was unplayable for a state title game, but the contest went on as scheduled. Despite all the adversity, Handley took an early 12-0 lead, but that would be all the scoring for the good guys as field conditions worsened. The Judges would have to hold an the end on with a game-saving tackle, a generous clock operator, and several batted-down Gate City passes for a 12-7 win and the state championship.

A mud bath never felt so good.

Until the next visit from the Booth…good luck to our remaining playoff teams…and remember, be true to your school!

RW