Random Thoughts

Greetings From The Booth!

The Booth is a little chilly, with lows expected in the teens to single digits forecasted this week. To add insult to injury, CBS is teasing me with promos for The Masters. As I make my daily drive on Rt. 37, Rock Harbor looks anything like Augusta National. I would, however, get plenty of roll on the icy fairways this week at The Rock. At age 62, I am always looking for a few extra yards on my shots.

Anyway, in today’s VFB, I wanted to weigh in on a few random topics, and I’ll start with Shenandoah University men’s basketball. The guys played arguably their best half this past Monday at home against a good Lynchburg team, and continued the solid play well into the second half. SU had energy, they were taking care of the basketball, and playing great defense. The clock would then strike midnight for Cinderella, however. Leading 61-53, Shenandoah saw Lynchburg switch to a zone defense, and finish the game on a 31-7 run to win going away. The lesson for the young Hornets is that games are 40 minutes, not 30. Baby steps…

The NFL conference championship games are this Sunday as we are now down to the league’s version of the Final Four. In your lifetime, you probably won’t see another weekend like last, when all 4 divisional games were won on the game’s final play. The weekend was punctuated on Sunday night by one of the best playoff games of all time, as the Chiefs outlasted Buffalo in OT. You’ve heard the old cliche about “it’s a shame someone had to lose.” And certainly Bills QB Josh Allen didn’t deserve his fate. Allen was one tough SOB, bringing his team back time and time again, only to never touch the ball in overtime, thanks to Patrick Mahomes. The game was one for the ages.

In the aftermath of the Bucs’ loss, the speculation begins about whether or not Tom Brady will retire. Brady has said that the perfect ending for him is to win a Super Bowl. That would certainly be the ultimate storybook ending. The problem is that very few athletes get to go out on their own terms. Just ask Joe Theismann, whose career ended on a Monday Night game with his leg snapped in two. Most players play a year or two too long (Willie Mays, Joe Namath, and OJ Simpson come to mind), unwilling to admit that the game has passed them by. And, it’s not easy winning a Super Bowl. That being said, Brady is still playing at a high level, and with the right pieces around him, is capable of walking into the sunset with the Lombardi Trophy. The football world awaits his decision…

Finally, David Ortiz was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame this week on his first try. “Big Papi” hit over 540 home runs in his career, was a 10-time all star, and is really the first DH to get a bust in Cooperstown. There is no one that can argue that decision by the Baseball Writers of America. I also applaud their decision to once again deny Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens a place in the Hall. Bonds and Clemens were products of the steroid era, and used performance enhancing drugs to help them achieve their lofty resumes. If you believed Bonds when he said he thought he was using flaxseed oil, I’ve got some prime real estate on the Moon I’ll sell you. I’m also sure that being a jerk to the press over the years didn’t help Bonds’ cause. As for Clemens, he finally had to acknowledge his steroid use after years of lying about it. Maybe in the future there will be a Steroid Wing or Asterisk Section in the Hall Of Fame , but for now, Bonds’ and Clemens’ rightful place should be on the outside looking in.

Enjoy the conference championship games on Sunday, stay warm, and until the next visit from The Booth…GO HORNETS!

RW

Sports: Monday, February 8, 2021

Brady And Bucs Win SB 55, Young & Smith Garner NFL Awards, Caps Drop Third Straight

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers won Super Bowl 55 yesterday in dominating fashion by a score of 31-9over the Kansas City Chiefs at Raymond James Stadium. Tom Brady threw 3 touchdown passes, including 2 to familiar target Rob Gronkowski, and the Tampa Bay defense kept Patrick Mahomes and the KC offense out of the end zone for the entire contest. Brady picked up his record fifth Super Bowl MVP award and becomes just the second quarterback to win a Super Bowl with 2 different teams.

Over the weekend, the league handed out it’s NFL Honors awards and Washington’s Chase Young was named Defensive Rookie of the Year, while WFT quarterback Alex Smith was named Comeback Player of the Year. Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers earned his third MVP award.

Peyton Manning leads the Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 2021, which was also named this weekend. Also joining Manning among the 8 inductees are Charles Woodson and Calvin Johnson.

To the NHL, where the Washington Capitals lost their third straight game yesterday, a 7-4 decision to the Philadelphia Flyers. Philly broke 4-4 tie with a 3-goal third period, as the Caps fell to 6-3-3 on the season. Alex Ovechkin had 2 goals and 2 assists for the Capitals, who return to the ice tomorrow at 6 against the Flyers.

On the Shenandoah University docket, Men’s Basketball will play at Hampden-Sydney tonight at 7, while the Hornet Women entertain Ferrum this evening at 7 at the Wilkins Center.

Sports: Monday, January 25, 2021

Super Bowl Matchup Is Set, Caps Lose (Again) In Shootout, College Hoop

The Kansas City Chiefs will take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl 55, after both teams won their respective conference championships yesterday. In the NFC title game, the Bucs held off Green Bay 31-26, depite 3 Tom Brady interceptions. Aaron Rodgers threw for 346 yards and 3 scores in the loss. Tampa Bay becomes the first team to host a Super Bowl in it’s home stadium.

In the nightcap, the Chiefs spotted the Buffalo Bills an early 9-0 lead, but stormed back for a 38-24 win in the AFC Championship game. Patrick Mahomes, cleared to play after last week’s concussion, passed for 325 yards and 3 scores, as Kansas City returns to the Super Bowl for a second straight year. The game will be played February 7th, and you can catch the play-by-play on The River 95-3 and CBS Sports Radio 1450.

The Washington Capitals lost to the Buffalo Sabres yesterday 4-3, in a game that was once again decided in the shootout round. Despite the loss, the 3-0-3 Caps picked up a point, and have now earned at least a point in all 6 of their games so far. Justin Schultz scored his first goal as a Capital, with Nick Backstrom lighting the lamp for the tying goal in the third. John Walton has the call of the Backstrom goal, courtesy of the Capitals Radio Network. Washington is back in action tomorrow night when they take on the Islanders. Air time is 6:45 on The River 95-3.

In college basketball tonight, number-13 Virginia hosts Syracuse at 7, while number-14 WVU entertains 12th ranked Texas Tech at 9. ON Saturday, the Shenandoah men fell to Bridgewater 81-65.

The Elements

SU field oversight
SU field oversight
Winchester Printers

Greetings from The Booth!

Knock on wood, it looks like we’re finally going to play some basketball at Shenandoah University! Starting today, the Hornet men will play a limited Winter schedule and will open today against Mary Baldwin at The Wilkins Center. No fans will be permitted at Wilkins, but be sure to listen to the action on The River 95-3…and check out my Sports Dogs Podcast this week on this website as coach Adam Walsh previews the season.

(because of the unpredictability of COVID-19, the sports situation at SU remains fluid, so stay tuned, and we’ll keep you up to date)

Well, we’re down to the NFL’s “Final Four” as we approach Championship Weekend. The AFC title game will match the Buffalo Bills against the Kansas City Chiefs. As of early this week, KC quarterback Patrick Mahomes was still in concussion protocol, and may miss the game. That would certainly even the playing field, but don’t sell the Bills short. Buffalo is a very good football team. They belong in this contest.

The NFC game gives us a matchup of 2 of the NFL’s best QBs in Aaron Rodgers of the Packers and Tom Brady (the GOAT), who is trying to get another ring, this time with Tampa Bay. With Rodgers’ home base being Green Bay, and Brady having played all those years in New England, both are used to playing in harsh weather conditions. With a winter storm predicted for Green Bay this weekend, we could have one of those classic “snow games.”

Which brings me to this: former NFL great Kurt Warner said this week that he is in favor of having the playoffs played indoors in a domed venue. While this would make for pristine playing conditions, we would miss out on some great moments.

Growing up, I loved the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikes played in the old “Met” in Minneapolis, and it always seemed to be snowing there. Quarterback Joe Kapp was a favorite of mine, along with the “Purple People Eaters” defense, but what I remember most were the snow banks all around the field, and the flamethrowers which tried in vain to soften up the frozen tundra. The Vikings were hard to beat at home in December.

And without the elements, we would have missed out on the iconic “Ice Bowl” in 1967, as Bart Starr of the Packers scored on a quarterback sneak on the concrete-like surface of Lambeau to beat the Cowboys in the NFL Championship Game in 16-below temperatures.

I could go on-and-on with examples: the Fog Bowl, The Tuck-Rule Game, and the Freezer Bowl 1981 AFC Championship, played in 40-below wind chills in Cincinnati. Point is, football isn’t meant to be played in perfect conditions, and the backdrop of snow, sleet, and arctic wind chills is part of NFL lore.

Easy for me to say, when I’m under a comforter and glued to my 55-inch HD television…

Enjoy the games this weekend…and GO HORNETS!

RW

Sports: Monday, January 18, 2021

Bucs and Chiefs Advance, Caps Lose In Shootout, Hokies Hold Off Wake Forest

Drew Brees threw three interceptions, while Tom Brady tossed two scoring passes in Tampa Bay’s 30-20 win over New Orleans in the NFC Divisional Round yesterday. The Buccaneers’ 10-point fourth quarter was the difference, as they now advance to the NFC Championship next week against Green Bay.

In the AFC Divisional Round game yesterday, Chief’s quarterback Patrick Mahomes was knocked out of the game in the second half, but Kansas City was able to hold off Cleveland 22-17. Mahomes’ replacement, Chad Henne, was able to finish the job by going 6-of-8 for 66 yards. KC will now host Buffalo in next week’s AFC Championship Game.

The Pittsburgh Penguins handed the Washington Capitals their first loss of the young NHL season yesterday, winning 4-3 in a shootout. With the game deadlocked at 3 at the end of overtime, the Pens scored the only goal of the shootout round to take the win. Alex Ovechkin notched his first goal of the season for the 2-0-1 Caps, who take on Pittsburgh again Tuesday night, starting at 6:45 on The River 95-3. Here’s the call of Ovechkin’s goal with John Walton on the River and the Capitals Radio Network:

And, Virginia Tech improved to 11-2 with a hard-fought 64-60 win over Wake Forest yesterday. Tyrece Radford posted 20 for the 20th-ranked Hokies, who host Boston College Wednesday afternoon at 5.

Super Wild Card Weekend

In this week’s Sports Dogs Podcast, I’m joined by Honorary Dog Scott Bradley as we break down some of the games on NFL Super Wild Card Weekend, specifically the Washington Football Team’s matchup against Tom Brady and the Bucs. We’ll also talk about the feel-good stories of Ron Rivera and Alex Smith, as well as our predictions for Saturday night.