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A Friday Full-Plate Special

10 March 2017 Views From The Booth Sports

Greetings from the Booth!

Wow, where do I begin?!?  As of this writing, there is so much going on in the sports world that it would be hard to stick to one “entree” today, so we’re going buffet-style and filling up the plate…

On the local scene, the Shenandoah University baseball team has climbed to it’s highest national ranking since 2011, with it’s number 2 spot in the D3 baseball.com poll. As of today, the Hornets are undefeated at 11-0. Congrats on the lofty position and the great start to Coach Kevin Anderson and his guys…

We also had a coaching change at SU, and I’ll finish this blog post with some thoughts on that.

Meanwhile, it’s the most exciting time of the year for college basketball fans as we approach the phenomenon known as “March Madness.” This weekend, the conference tournaments will culminate with Selection Sunday, when the 68-team NCAA field will be chosen. It’s high-drama, as teams gather in their respective dorm lobbies, cafeterias, gyms, and student unions to await their tournament fate.  Both UVA and Va Tech should be ok, but at 22-10, can’t feel 100% safe until the announcement is made.

For me, my WVU Mountaineers will be safely dancin’ next week, but visions (nightmares) of Stephen F. Austin haunt my dreams of a deep NCAA tournament run.  Bob Huggins will need to have plenty of batteries for his defibrillator at the ready…

For now we have a few days to practice our “call-in sick” phone calls to the boss before we join millions of Americans next week at watering holes all over the USA.  I just hope your boss doesn’t grab that seat next to you at the bar next Thursday and Friday.

Remember that childhood trick where a bag of dog-doo was set on fire and placed on someone’s front porch, as you rang the doorbell and ran away? We who call ourselves Washington Redskins fans are like the people who have that gag played on us over and over. We continue to step on that bag of doo-doo as the Redskins organization rings our doorbell and hides in the bushes, laughing all the while.

Yesterday’s events were like that bag of poo. Losing 2 major offensive weapons to free agency, the firing of GM Scott McLoughan after just 2 years, and QB Kirk Cousins’ trade request (all in one dark day) are all indicators that after a brief period of vision, clarity, and direction, that the Washington Redskins franchise is back to being the laughing stock of the NFL.

Yet we fans will continue to buy the gear, purchase the tickets, drink the burgundy-and-gold kool aid, and step on that flaming bag on the front porch…

Finally, in the words of Shenandoah University basketball play-by-play man Mike O’Dell, is it ok to be both happy and sad at the same time?  That’s certainly how I felt when the news came down from SU that head basketball coach Rob Pryor’s contract would not be renewed.

Coaching changes are never fun. They are even less fun when a true gentleman and class act is shown the door.  In my duties as public address announcer at Hornet home basketball games, I was in close proximity to Coach Pryor and the SU bench. He always took a second to send a greeting and handshake my way, was always respectful to the officials, and more often than not did his best to put Shenandoah in a position to succeed.

Ultimately, though, it’s about the wins and losses, and a 6-season record of 40-117 was a deciding factor.  For the most part, SU was competitive more often than not this past season, as the Hornets had their best ODAC record since joining the league.

There was a time when being competitive at Shenandoah would have been enough. Not anymore. With a brand new Athletic and Events Center set to open later this year, the bar is set high, and the powers-that-be felt that the time was right for a fresh start.

Thanks to Coach Pryor for his hard work, and the positive influence he had on his players and those around him. I know good things are ahead for him.  All of us associated with SU basketball are excited about a new era in a new building, but will miss a quality human being.  A collision of conflicting emotions, for sure.

That’s it from the Booth. Until next time, enjoy Selection Sunday and I hope your team gets into the Big Dance.









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