Back In The Race

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Greetings From The Booth!

So, let’s see a show of hands. How many of you re-seeded your NCAA brackets after arguably the craziest opening 2 rounds ever? There’s no shame in that–we did a Sweet Sixteen “re-do” in our friendly competition at work. Who saw not one, but two number-one seeds biting the dust. And there’s numver-4 seed Virginia, who fell to 13-seed Furman. Furman?!? It wasn’t quite UMBC, but still a one-and-done of major upset proportion. I still contend that the upsets happen early, but the cream always rises to the top, which is why I have Alabama playing Houston in the Championship Game.

If you listen to my morning radio show, you know that over the course of the last year, I’ve lost 48 pounds (thank you Brain & Body Health Center!). You also know that I recently ran a 5k race for the first time since 2018. Saturday’s Edward Jones Race For Education was the culmination of an almost year-long journey back to something I thought I would no longer be able to do.

That journey started right after the 2022 Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival. After looking at a pic of me and my buddies making merry at the “Bloom,” I realized that I was going in the wrong direction. At 210 pounds, I almost didn’t recognize myself in the photo. Sure, I had lost a few pounds on my own, but pictures don’t lie, and this pic was like a slap in the face.

Enter Dr. Evan Riggleman and his wonderful team at B&B. To make a long story short, they got me into some good habits and “reset” my metabolism in a healthy way. As for running, I started with some walks through the hills of my mountain neighborhood, gradually working in some short runs. By July, I was on my way to Deep Creek Lake minus 30 pounds, and ready for the challenging trails of DCL State Park. By late Fall, I was up to 20 miles per week and 48 pounds lighter. It was then that I targeted the Eddie Jones as my “comeback race.”

I navigated through the perils of the Holidays, managing to keep the weight off, and staying true to my running routine. At this point, Brain and Body started doing some amazing therapies on my arthritic knees, and shortly after the new year, the good doctor allowed me to play with some of his new toys which helped fight the nasty free radicals in my cells.  I was 63 going on 36!

Fast forward to race day. After a morning soak, I made my way to Warren County Middle School and the Edward Jones 5k. The butterflies were as big as 747s, not knowing how I was going to perform after 5 years of being away from running. The bar was low–finish, and enjoy the run. Period.

But, a funny thing happened. I got off to a nice early pace, running comfortably, even passing some runners in the first mile. The second mile, mostly downhill, was a bit faster, and as I started up the gradual slope of the final mile, I was faster still.  I paced myself behind a very nice lady who, with about a half mile to go, encouraged me to pass her and finish strong, which I was able to do with a nice kick to the line. How did I do? How about a top 20 finish overall, and winner of my age group with a time of 26:43. I had exceeded all expectations.

The journey continues in May with the Apple Blossom 10k…stay tuned.







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Greetings From The Booth!

A bit late this week, as I spent yesterday agonizing over WVU’s early exit from March Madness. The Mounties’ 67-65 loss to Maryland was no upset, by any stretch (Maryland was actually the higher seed), but kicked off a day of bracket-bustin’ that saw me go 9-7 in yesterday’s games–by far my worst performance in a long, long time. BTW, who had Virginia losing in 2018 UMBC fashion to Furman? Furman?!? I’m hoping to recover somewhat today, although at the time of this writing, the Kennesaw State Owls (who? see what I did there?) are leading perennial tournament team Xavier by 13.  Well, at least my Final Four is still intact.

Today is the perfect storm of St. Patrick’s Day and NCAA Basketball, so be responsible and remember to hand those keys to a Designated Leprechaun!

Staying within our b-ball theme this week, were you aware that the Winchester area had a pro basketball team? I have to admit that I did not, until Kenny Gordon, a friend and longtime co-worker at the Shenandoah University basketball scorer’s table, texted me recently to see if I would be interested in doing the public address announcing for the Virginia Valley Vipers.

The expansion Vipers are part of the Indianapolis-based TBL, which stands for “The Basketball League,” and kicked off their season earlier this month. They will play a 24-game schedule in the league’s Eastern Division, against teams from Reading, Syracuse, Atlantic City, York, and the Tri-State. The Vipers’ home games are played at the spacious Wilkins Center at SU.

The team is owned by TMOs (Team Market Owners) Rodney, Tina, and Rze Culbreath. Rze is part of the local flavor of the Vipers, having played some of his basketball at Millbrook High. He is not only an owner, but on the active roster of the Vipers as a guard, and has also played professionally in Europe. Other players include former Hornet Chris Chaney. The team’s Head Coach, Andrew Oates, also has local roots, having served as Assistant Coach at both Clarke County High School and at Shenandoah.

The basketball is high-level, but so is the team’s mission of community outreach. Visit the Vipers’ website and you will see their mission statement displayed prominently displayed on the home page: “…to strengthen our community through positive, family-friendly entertainment and provide athletes with the financial opportunity to continue their passion while giving back to the community.” To that end, players are vetted with background checks and social media activity to insure that they represent the team and the community in a positive way. In addition, players will be part of the Top Of Virginia Young Professionals group, and the team will partner with Winchester CCAP.

So, if you can pull yourself away from the NCAA Tournament this weekend, check out a Vipers game over at Wilkins on March 18th against the Reading Rebels and/or March 19th against the Tri-State Admirals. And don’t forget to wear your purple.

Until the next visit from The Booth…enjoy the Madness, and GO VIPERS.






Friday Tidbits

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Greetings From The Booth!

With so much happening this week in sports, locally and regionally, I thought I would try to cover all the bases with some Friday tidbits, so here goes:

First, CONGRATS to the Rappahannock High Girls Basketball team, who captured the VHSL Class 1 State Championship this week with a win over Eastside at the Siegel Center at VCU. Winning a state title is a huge accomplishment, so thanks ladies, for bringing the hardware back to the Shenandoah Valley! Tomorrow (Saturday 3-11) the Clarke County Girls will try to duplicate that feat as they take on perennial power Central-Wise in the Class 2 Championship Game.

Meanwhile, the Skyline HS Boys team saw it’s season end at the hands of Hopewell (again) in the Class 3 semifinals on Monday. With the loss, the Hawks suffered their first loss of the season and finished at 26-1. If you’ve never played sports, it’s hard to convey the feeling of emptiness when you get so close to a championship and an undefeated season, only to see it end just 2 wins from the finish line. When the sting of that lone loss wears off, Skyline will look back with pride at a season that will live forever in the school’s annals. The Hawks were a gritty, scrappy bunch, and should have no doubt about being “legit.” They were. Sometimes, you just run up against a better team…

Which makes a nice segue into a pet peeve of mine: bad fan behavior. The optics were not good following Skyline’s loss to Hopewell, as law enforcement had to keep members of both fan bases apart. I’m not going to weigh in on who started what. That’s usually a “we said-they said” kind of thing. But, we live in a trash talking, phone wielding culture, with little emphasis on sportsmanship, and that reared it’s ugly head after Monday’s game. Nothing major erupted, thank goodness, but it was not a good luck. Win with class, lose with class, and always remember that kids take their cues from adults.

This is the time of year that I start paying attention to college basketball. The conference tournaments are fun to watch, although with multiple teams from the power leagues getting into the NCAA Tournament, those affairs don’t have the urgency that they had back in the day. I love Selection Sunday, when teams anxiously await their fate. This year, my WVU Mounties look to be safely in, despite a loss to Kansas in the Big 12 Tournament. But, until your team is announced, there is always some anxiety.

Finally, let’s switch gears and talk some football. Folks, I may just be getting on the bandwagon of your DC Defenders of the XFL. The Defenders play their home games at Audi Field, near Nationals Park. It’s a nice Euro-feeling venue, and apparently home of one of the most enjoyable fan experiences in sports. The fans are enthusiastic, sometimes raucous, and love their team (which is currently 3-0). The now-legendary beer cup snake is back, not to mention the anti-Dan Snyder chants. All this in sharp contrast to the dismal game-day experience at Fed-Ex Field with the Washington Commanders. Which points out one thing: DC fans will turn out for winning, fun football.

Those are your Friday Tidbits from The Booth! Have a great “Selection Sunday!”




Tougher Than A Weekend At Your In-Laws

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Greetings from The Booth!

Last Friday, I got to do something I hadn’t done in probably 20 years–broadcast a basketball game. At the same time, I did something I maybe have never done–reverse roles and provide color analysis. For over 40 years I have been a play-by-play man, and that is my comfort zone. But for this season’s high school basketball coverage, the very capable Ryan (The Duke) Rutherford has been handling both roles up until now, as we move into the VHSL State Tournament and follow the fortunes of the undefeated Skyline Hawks.

Friday’s game took me back to my first play-by-play gig doing Alderson-Broaddus College (now University) women’s basketball while attending that school back in 1977-78. You gotta start somewhere, and that is where I started learning my craft, soaking up knowledge from anyone who was willing to give me tips. At some point, I will hang up the headphones as a new generation of sports broadcasters like Ryan take over the Booth. I just hope he’s learned a few things from me, as I learned from others.

Anyway, I wanted to talk about my West (By-God) Virginia Mountaineers basketball team. It’s been a tough year to be a Mountie. Football coach Neal Brown told us a few years ago to “trust the climb,” but after another year with no bowl game, we couldn’t wait for basketball season. Surely, Bob Huggins’ charges would give us our Mountaineer Mojo back. And, after a 10-2 start, folks were already starting to talk about NCAA seeding.

Then came the Big-12 part of the schedule. Playing in arguably the toughest conference in college basketball, WVU lost it’s first 5 league games, and their record started to drift back toward .500. Since then, West Virginia has righted the ship somewhat and has gone 6-6 in their last 12 games in a conference where you’re playing a ranked team just about every time you take the floor. The ‘Eers are as of this writing 17-13 with one league game and the conference tournament remaining before the Big Dance. Bracket King Joe Lunardi has WVU a 10-seed in the NCAA Tournament. If the Mounties can knock off number-11 Kansas State this Saturday in Morgantown, they are probably in.

It’s said that a team takes on the personality of it’s coach, and after some rough patches, I think that’s happening now with the Mountaineers. Hall-Of-Famer Huggins has had some challenges dealing with the brave new world of college athletics, but has brought together a group of strangers and turned them into a team that is tougher than a weekend at your in-laws. In the mold of Huggins (and his beloved state), WVU is gritty, and capable of hanging with anyone in the country. After a season of more ups and downs than a ride along Corridor H, the best could be yet to come for this team. So, grab a pepperoni roll and a jar of shine, and CUE COUNTRTY ROADS!

Until the next visit from The Booth…GO HAWKS, GO EERS!




“Do You Believe In Miracles? Yes!”

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Greetings from The Booth!

Great to be back in the Booth this week after my annual “Winter Break.” With the Super Bowl now history, and a bit of a lull in the sports world, I thought I would celebrate the anniversary of one of the greatest sports upsets in history. It was this week in 1980 that the USA Olympic Hockey Team shocked the mighty Soviet Big Red Machine in the Lake Placid Games. It was one of those events that you remember to this day what you were doing and where you were when you watched the delayed ABC broadcast that night. The USA team was made up of college kids and was given no chance to beat the de facto professional juggernaut Red Army team from the USSR. It was a game for the ages, capped off by Al Michael’s famous line “Do you believe in miracles…Yes!!!” as the final seconds ticked down.

Yesterday, I went back and listened to the Kurt Russell speech from the movie “Miracle,” in which he portrayed USA coach Herb Brooks. We all know that movies take a bit of license in re-creating historical events, but this speech is one of the greatest in sports movie history. It would be certainly number one on my list. With that said, here are my top 3 sports movie speeches of all time:

1. Kurt Russell as Herb Brooks in “Miracle”: Did Brooks really give this speech word for word? Probably not, but when Kurt Russell (as Brooks) delivers this pre-game talk to the USA hockey team on the big screen, I immediately want to skate through a brick wall–and I don’t even know how to skate. “This is our time” still gives me goosebumps!

2. James Earl Jones in “Field Of Dreams”: This would actually be 1A on my list, if not alone at the top. Those of us that love baseball have no doubt tried to put that love into words, and no one does it better than James Earl Jones. “The one constant through all the years, Ray…is baseball” is part of one of the most beautiful soliloquies ever delivered on the big screen.

3. Al Pacino as Tony D’Amato in “Any Given Sunday”: Oliver Stone’s effort to expose professional football on the big screen may have been panned by some critics and athletes, but D’Amato’s “inches” pre-game speech to the fictional Miami Sharks is, to me, the highlight of the movie. Makes me want to put on pads and go hit someone.

(Honorable Mention) Gene Hackett in “Hoosiers’:  I had to include basketball, and is there a better underdog story than “Hoosiers?” Hackett’s pre-game talk to his high school team is not fiery, but in his understated way, he makes his team believe they can overcome all odds and shock the Indiana basketball world. Get a box of Kleenex for a true-life story that is worth revisiting this time of year.

There ya’ go. I’m sure you have your favorites, so let me know about them. Now…Go out and win!!!


Riggo & “Brother” Walker

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Greetings from The Booth!

Well, we are just days away from “The Big Game” as we head toward Super Bowl 57, or XLVII if you insist on using the Roman numerals (I’ll use those when the Coliseum in Rome is rebuilt and they bring back the chariot races). Countless words have been written about this year’s matchup between the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs, and by kickoff Sunday, you will know everything about every player, down to the shoe size. So, instead of more expert analysis (you can get that in our latest Sports Dogs Podcast on this very website), I choose to look back at one of my favorite Super Bowls, Super Bowl 17.

That game holds a special place in my memory for several reasons. The Chinese say that revenge is a meal best served cold, and it took 10 years for the Washington Redskins to avenge their Super Bowl loss in the 1972 season to the undefeated Miami Dolphins. The 14-7 score that year belied the domination of the ‘Fins on that January day in Los Angeles. The ‘Skins only score came late in the 4th quarter on a fluke Mike Bass touchdown on a botched Miami  field goal attempt. That Super Bowl appearance was the high-water mark for the “Over The Hill Gang.” George Allen’s geriatric bunch would never return to the Big Game.

Enter Joe Gibbs, who, in his second year as head coach of the Burgundy & Gold, navigated his team through a work stoppage, through a revamped playoff format, and back to the Super Bowl against…the Miami Dolphins. The ‘Skins found a winning formula that season with a stout defense, quick strike passes from quarterback Joe Theismann to a receiving corps known as The Smurfs, an MVP kicker in Mark Moseley, and The Diesel, John Riggins, who ran behind the legendary O-line, The Hogs.

Riggo was the engine that made the Redskins go, especially in the post-season, rushing for 610 yards in 4 playoff games that season. But it is one run that stands out. Facing a crucial 4th and 1 at the Miami 43 and trailing 17-13 (and everyone in the Rose Bowl knowing who was going to get the football), The ‘Skins called on Riggins, who shook off an initial tackle and raced into the end zone to complete the most iconic run in Washington football history. The Redskins would add another score for the 27-17 final, and the Lombardi Trophy was headed to the Nation’s Capital!

I had the best of both worlds that day. Not only did my beloved ‘Skins win the Super Bowl, but Martinsburg’s own Fulton Walker returned a Miami kickoff for a touchdown. I had the pleasure of playing high school baseball with Walker for the MHS Bulldogs, and I’m pretty sure that even the many Redskins fans in the Eastern Panhandle, including me, swelled with pride as “Brother” Walker, as he was known, outraced the Washington coverage and put his team ahead 17-10.

Walker died in 2016, but I believe there is still a great picture of his Super Bowl kickoff return that hangs in a ticket building at the MHS football stadium. The full-size picture shows Fulton racing toward the end zone with all 11 Redskins trying to chase him down. Riggo’s touchdown that day is probably most remembered, but those of us in Martinsburg will never forget the afternoon that one of our own made Super Bowl history. Rest in Peace, Brother Walker!

Until the next visit from The Booth…enjoy the Big Game!



The Pro Bowl-Revisited

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Greetings from The Booth!

Well, we are on the eve of the most exciting weekend in pro football, a weekend where friends and family gather in homes and watering holes around the USA. A weekend where tons of wings and pizza are consumed, and gallons of suds are imbibed. A weekend that has become a de facto national holiday. Yes, it is…Pro Bowl weekend!

I jest, of course. The Pro Bowl is the NFL’s all-star game, and in the words of the late NFL great, Sonny Randle, “a pillow fight.” It was definitely that when it was an actual football game (defense optional), but even more so now that Pro Bowl weekend features skills competitions and a series of 7-on-7 flag football games. I’ll probably be catching up on some much needed sleep or watching The Paint Drying Network or The Traffic Light Channel, both of which have been added to my cable provider–just in time.

I took an informal poll on my morning show today, and the question was simply, “Pro Bowl or Bridges Of Madison County.” The latter holds a special place in my heart. I watched it in sunburned agony in the old movie theatre in Chincoteague, Va., on a vacation getaway with my wife one Summer. Sunburn aside, as a red blooded male, it was certainly agonizing to see Clint Eastwood’s character standing in the rain crying like a baby.  I kept waiting for him to say “Come on punk, open up the white zinfandel.” Sadly, that line never came. Anyway, I tried to come up with the ultimate chick flick that even the most casual football fan might decline for the Pro Bowl, and here are the results of the poll: “Bridges” edged out the Pro Bowl. So, there’s that.

I have an idea for reviving at least the concept of a Pro Bowl, which used to be a nice getaway to Hawaii for players and their families when NFL salaries were much lower. Today’s Pro-Bowlers could actually go to Hawaii every week of the year, so that perk has become irrelevant. Remember the old 70’s ABC show “Superstars?” That show featured athletes and celebrities in various sports competitions: weightlifting, track and field, bowling, etc. It was great seeing Gabe Kaplan (Welcome Back Kotter) pulling a hammy during the 100-yard dash or Joe Frazier nearly drown in the 50-meter swim (he didn’t know how to swim). Let’s do that with the Pro Bowl. Yes, we could see a Pro Bowler actually “bowl.” I would watch that.

Or, let’s just move the Puppy Bowl to the Sunday between the NFL Championship Games and The Super Bowl. I never miss a Puppy Bowl, which features rescue dogs from all over the USA running around a football field, complete with a play-by-play announcing team, and a Puppy Bowl Blimp. The winner even gets the “Lom-bark-i Trophy.” The Puppy Bowl has become a tradition in our house on the day of The Big Game. It deserves it’s own Sunday, which we could call “Puppy Sunday.” It beats watching someone trying to pull Cee Dee Lamb’s flag.

And besides, you’re never going to call in sick the day after The Puppy Bowl…

Until the next visit from the Booth, have a great Pro Bowl party!








Handley Pride

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Greetings from The Booth!

This past weekend I was asked to attend what I termed “a formally informal” event at Piccadilly Public House in downtown Winchester to be part of the oral history of Handley High School Athletics. The discussion was recorded and documented as part of the 100th anniversary of the aforementioned Handley High School, and I was honored to be one of a number of former athletes, coaches, administrators, and in my case, broadcasters who have covered the Judges over the years. It was an emotional afternoon, and there was much laughter, along with some tears, and lots of memories. It was a humbling experience to be a small thread in the vast tapestry of Handley history.

The great Andy Vipperman, who was an integral part of the 1994 Handley State Football Championship team, did a superb job as emcee, and it was wonderful seeing familiar faces like basketball coaching legend Tommy Dixon (pictured,r), former Judges athlete-turned-administrator Reed Prosser, and longtime AD Jimmy Omps (pictured,l), who had the absolute best press box food spread in the area on a Handley Bowl football Saturday! They, and many other notables stepped up to the microphone to talk about “Handley Pride.”

My part of the afternoon was recalling the 1984 and 1994 Handley State Football Championship games, which I had the pleasure of broadcasting. 1984 was probably the first year that I did play-by-play of local high school football, and to follow the Judges all the way to a state title was quite an experience. That season, the Handley defense was instrumental in their success, and as is the case with all great defenses, they had a nickname: Judges For The Defense. Handley rode that defense all the way to UVA’s Scott Stadium in Charlottesville, where I thought I had died and gone to sportscaster’s heaven.  The memory of the game itself is a bit hazy after almost 40 years, but I do know that one Tommy Stine had a great game, as the Judges brought a championship trophy back to Winchester. Tommy was in attendance Saturday, and it was great reminiscing with him.

The memory of the 1994 State Championship Game is much clearer. Clear as mud, because that was the playing surface at Gate City, Va., where signs said “Welcome To Hell.”  Because mud was the only thing that could have stopped the high-powered Judges, the homestanding Devils decided to water down their field the night before the game, turning it into an unplayable quagmire. The game was played anyway, the Judges took it all in stride, and despite some nail-biting moments at the end, won 12-7, giving Coach Ron Lindon his second state title in 10 years.  Dan Gloster, one of my broadcast partners back in the day, was one of many on Saturday afternoon to remember Lindon as a great coach, but a better man.

For me, Handley Pride is a Judges’ home football game. The Friday night lights may shine bright, but the greens, golds, and reds glow even brighter on a Fall Saturday afternoon between Jefferson Street and Handley Boulevard. It’s there that you feel the sense of community as Winchester gathers to cheer on the Maroon and White. Last Saturday at Piccadilly, Andy Vipperman wanted my perspective of Handley Pride as an outsider. In reality, for more than a decade, I experienced Handley Pride as an insider, with a microphone and a great view from the Handley Bowl press box.

Until the next visit from The Booth…GO JUDGES!





Goodbye RFK

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Greetings From The Booth!

Well, the NFL Super Wild Card Weekend is history, and now we move to the Divisional Round, with 4 games this weekend. Believe it or not, kids, the Washington football franchise used to be a big part of things this time of year. Under the legendary Joe Gibbs, the playoffs for the then-‘Skins was an annual expectation, not a “hope and a prayer.”

This week, demolition began on RFK Stadium in DC, the former home of the Redskins, who were 5-0 in NFC Championship games that were played there. It was an intimidating place for opponents to play, especially in big regular season games and in the playoffs. Unlike Fed-Ex Field, the stands at RFK were filled with raucous home fans who gave the ‘Skins a decided home field advantage.  In fact, the stands actually moved as the fans stomped and yelled for the Burgundy and Gold.

I have some personal memories of RFK Stadium, mostly fond ones. My first memory of RFK is my dad taking me to my first major league game to see my beloved Senators. I still remember the feeling of climbing that ramp in the upper deck and thinking I was going to tumble onto the green outfield grass below. And what a thrill it was to see my favorite player, Frank Howard, one-hand a home run off the Longines sign in left field.

When the Senators left, and the Nationals later came to town, I hosted a listener trip to RFK on July 4, 2006, and saw a young Ryan Zimmerman (who would become the face of the franchise) hit a game winning homer, one of many game winning blasts he would hit in his career. We went home happy that day!

My favorite football memory of RFK is the famous “seat cushion” playoff game against Atlanta in the 1991 Super Bowl season. The upstart falcons, led by Deion Sanders, strutted into RFK with MC Hammer and Evander Holyfield in tow, only to see the ‘Skins slop their way to victory. When a late, deciding TD was scored by Washington, fans en masse threw their souvenir seat cushions on the field. I was there that day, but for some reason, I held on to my seat cushion, but have no idea where it is today.

Being a fan of pro wrestling, I also had a chance to see an NWA “Great American Bash” card at RFK back in the day. Not the greatest view, but it was very cool seeing the likes of Dusty Rhodes and The Road Warriors in person.

And, of course, there were the many other concerts and events that were held at RFK over the years, but for me it will always be the home of the Senators and ‘Skins. And if you go down to the demolition site along the Anacostia River and listen closely, you may still hear the faint sounds of “WE WANT DALLAS…WE WANT DALLAS!”

Until next time from The Booth…RIP RFK!


My Dad and Sports

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Greetings from The Booth!

Happy New Year! It’s nice to be back in the booth after being away due to the loss of my Dad, James, over the Holidays. He was 85, and for several years battled various health issues. It sounds like a cliche, but I take comfort in knowing he’s in a better place and is no longer suffering. In past blog posts I’ve written about sports being the common thread between fathers and sons, and I think that was the case with me and my Dad. In my recent visits to the nursing home and the hospital, we filled the gaps in our conversations with Washington Nationals baseball, Martinsburg High or Shepherd football, or the trials and tribulations of the Burgundy and Gold.

In recent years, whenever a batch of Nationals bobblehead figures came to the radio station, I always tried to take him one, and he ended up with a pretty nice collection. In a recent birthday card he sent to me, there is the handwritten note “the bobbleheads remind me of you,” so the next time I see his collection it will really hit me that he’s gone. My love of baseball comes from my Dad, who took me to my first major league game to see the Washington Senators at RFK Stadium. I’ve never had anything take my breath away like walking up the ramp and looking out over that green outfield grass from the upper deck. I was hooked for life.

He didn’t miss many of my Little League or Senior League baseball games and was always willing to throw the baseball or football around in the yard , even after a long day at the Schmidt Baking Company, where he worked for most of his life. And although he was my harshest critic when it came to sports, my Dad was my most vocal defender. I remember a time right after the last game of a Midget League football season, when he let the coach have it for playing me a whopping 26 seconds (and for mispronouncing our last name). That being said, my father wasn’t quick to dish out praise, so when you did get a compliment for something you did in a game, it meant something.

So, in closing, thanks Dad, for showing me how to figure earned-run and batting averages, for the endless high pop-ups that never seemed to come down, for teaching me how to run pass patterns, keep a scorebook, and the occasional “way to go.”

Enjoy that great seat in the upper deck…