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Greetings from The Booth!
It is with great disappointment that I announce the end of my 22 year run as play-by-play man for our local university. I’ll leave out the details, and only say that I take away great memories from that part of my life. I’ll miss the travel, the game-day routine, and all the players, coaches, administrators, and broadcast partners that I got to know through the good seasons and the not-so-good seasons. I wish them only the best.
As they say, the end of one thing opens up opportunity for something new, and this Fall, I return to my roots to broadcast area high school football on Friday nights. I started doing play-by-play back in the 80’s and was fortunate enough to call Handley’s 1984 State Championship game from Scott Stadium at UVA. I also called their 1994 State Title game in the mud at Gate City, as well as several Sherando State Championship games, and the infamous “lights out” game between James Wood and Handley. There’s nothing quite like high school football, and I look forward to calling the games.
(I will also look forward to having Saturdays free, so I can watch my beloved WVU Mountaineers!)
Being that I am a movie geek, I wanted to celebrate the kickoff of high school football this weekend by highlighting three of my favorite movies about high school football that hopefully will get you fired up for your big game. Here they are, in no particular order…
Remember The Titans. An absolutely uplifting true story of the 1971 TC Williams high school team, who went through the challenges of integration and found common ground. Denzel Washington, who I think is one of the great actors of our generation, is outstanding as the head coach who is hired to replace his white counterpart (who remains on the team as an assistant). An amazing story, worth watching over and over.
All The Right Moves. A sometimes forgotten Tom Cruise movie from 1983, in which he plays Steph, a talented defensive back for Ampipe High in a dying Pennsylvania steel town. Steph, who has a chance at playing for a major university and escaping Ampipe, is the goat at the end of a big game and when the coach calls him out, the two have a confrontation, resulting in Steph not being allowed to ride the team bus home. A drunken Steph and several townies terrorize the coach’s home and he is thrown off the team. The coach and Steph eventually reconcile and when the coach takes a college job, he recruits Steph to play for him. Craig T. Nelson is great as the coach, and would later play the title role in the hit TV show “Coach.”
Friday Night Lights. Probably the gold standard of high school football films, FNL follows the drama of a team from Odessa, Texas in their quest for a state title. The movie also explores the almost religious fanaticism of high school football in the Lone Star State, and the peripheral world of boosters, influencers, and hangers-on. Kudos to Tim McGraw, who portrays a once-great athlete living his life vicariously through his son.
Enjoy the Friday Night Flicks and remember to get out there and “be true to your school!” Here’s to a safe and successful season for all our area teams, and I look forward to calling the action from The Booth!