Now how about that story about that baseball from last week?

Red Pride AD Matt Stevens with the HR ball of  Luray's Chris Bell
Red Pride AD Matt Stevens with the HR ball of Luray's Chris Bell

Right before Rebecca switched over the site to this new one I took a photo of a baseball on the back of the car and said there was a story to follow. They just informed me that my plane home has been delayed for another hour so that makes this the time.

Rebecca and I visited Riverheads High School down in Augusta County while the Red Pride were playing a varsity softball game and a  varsity baseball game on adjoining diamonds. The visitors that day were the Bulldogs of Luray High School and Gladiator AD Matt Stevens was bouncing back and forth between games. I had spoken with Matt earlier on the phone and he mentioned the best way to catch up with him would be between the two fields as he wanted to keep an eye on both contests.

In the business of promoting Good Will and trying to celebrate all that is right in the world of Class A High School Athletics can get interesting at times. The part that makes it interesting is the days when you try to explain your web site and its purpose to someone new. Most people have trouble grasping the idea of someone taking the time and money it takes to run Around The Valley in 60 Days with nothing to gain but making someone out there smile.

There are ZERO ads on the site and the photos are free for the taking so it is easy to find skeptical people when it comes to our efforts here. This makes involving more folks/schools to the mix even more difficult but you have to keep trying. The recent addition of the Waynesboro Generals to our “project” brings the Class A Augusta County Schools to the fore front of our efforts. Wilson Memorial, Buffalo Gap and Riverheads have made appearances on the site numerous times due to their connection to the Shenandoah County/Page County schools.

Start with the two schools in Page County, Luray High School and Page County High School. The Bulldogs and Panthers play a big part in our efforts do to three factors. The first one being we live in Luray and have for five years now. The second reason being our youngest daughter Rebecca graduated from LHS and the third and final reason being our business, Crystal Clear Delivery is based out of Page County. We love Sports Editor Bill Meade of the Page News and Courier and support his efforts 100%.

Then you cross the New Market Gap on US-211 and you land in Shenandoah County which is home to Stonewall Jackson, Central and Strasburg High Schools. Central will be making the move from Class AA to Class A next season and the Falcons have always been a part of our efforts. Crystal Clear Delivery West as I like to call it was brought about when the Washington Post asked us to expand across the mountain last December.

The three schools are covered by two people that we consider “friends” of the ATV-60, Chuck McGill and John Galle. Chuck is the Sports Editor of the Northern Virginia Daily and has some talented folks scribing for him. His staff includes Tommy Keeler, Tim Tassa and an up & coming young writer Jeremy Stafford. Chuck also manages a team of Stringers as his group covers the Shenandoah County schools as well as Clarke County and Fredrick County schools.

John Galle is the hard working one man show that is the Sports Department of the weekly Shenandoah Valley Herald. You will see pics of John splashed over both the new and the old site as we are a big fan of his efforts to cover Sports in Quicksburg, Woodstock and Strasburg.

The extra twist to the mix is the Free Press based out of Woodstock/Edinburg. The Free Press is also a weekly newspaper and our work appears in the paper each week. The fun thing about having a passion for promoting all that is good in High School Sports is getting to write about it as well. The difference for me is that as I like to say “I sail on the Good Ship Lollypop” and the glass is always half full. Look hard enough and you will find the silver lining in any given situation.

You can’t mention Shenandoah County Sports without bringing up the name Craig Orndorff. Craig and I spent time writing for the NVD together and share the same passion when it comes to HS Sports. Craig does his own radio broadcasts of different events as well as calling the Woodstock River Bandits games for Stu Richardson.

Now that brings us to Augusta County and our new friends at The News Virginian as well as The News Leader. Rob Sisk and Jim Sacco run things over in Waynesboro and they have been great in supporting our efforts with the Generals. Jim has invited me from time to time to do Web Casts with him and I am looking forward to many adventures this summer.

Hubert Grimm III is the Sports Editor of the News Leader and while I don’t have as much one on one time with Hubert as the others, his staff and stringers are quite an impressive group. Chris Lassiter, Ron Hartlaub and company do a great job supporting High School athlethics in Augusta County.

This group of folks and their efforts are why we add links to their stories when we end up at the same events. We want the folks that read through our stuff to be able to click over for actuall game coverage. That brings us to the baseball in the photo and the efforts of young Mr. Stevens.

Matt was at the end of what I am sure was a 12-14 hour day when Chris Bell of Luray launched a 2-run home run to give the visitors a 2-1 lead over the home team. Riverheads won the softball game by an 8-2 score but the Bell long ball gave the Bulldogs a 2-1 victory. It was time to get ready to lock up and go home when Matt was approached by Mr. & Mrs. Bell. They were inquiring about how one could get to the Home Run ball their son had hit. If you have never attended a game at Riverheads, first  shame on you but second the ball landed in the football stadium.

Fast forward 25 minutes and that is when the hike ended with Matt re-appearing with the ball. The ball belonged to the parents of the visiting team but that didn’t prevent Matt from making the loop. Add in he was stuck listening to me the whole way and you can see why I would say – Matt, You had me at Hello!

Quite the first impression young Mr. Stevens made on both Rebecca and myself that day. The hospitality of both Stevens and baseball coach Rodney Painter will be something we hang on to for a while! The newspapers will write about the Home Run as they should, we simply look for a feel good story where somebody goes above and beyond. The photos and the stories are just our way of trying to find the Good at the end of the day. That day was watching Mr. Stevens could the extra mile to please someone from another school.

Now, after reading this, if you have a story about a coach, player,administrator that tells a similar story you should send it in to us so we can share the positive with our readers.

Old Dominion University brings Championship back to Virginia !

ODU wins the Championship of the College tournament!
ODU wins the Championship of the tournament!

Dad being stationed  in Tidewater meant following ODU and Virginia Wesleyan on the hardwood courts back in the late 70’s. Once a fan, always a fan so it was really fun to be on the court a couple years back when the DIII Marlins captured the National Championship down in Salem.

Still have my “Fear the Fish” t-shirt from the Final Four and now 30 years after watching Nancy Lieberman, Anne Donovan and Company dominate for the Lady Monarchs as well as Ronnie Valentine play for Coach Paul Webb, I was once aagin able to watch ODU win a crown. Have to add that Valentine set a then record of I believe 106 straight games in double figures for the Monarchs. AIAW champs(not called NCAA yet) back in 1979 & 1980 after Lieberman played for the USA as a 16-year old in the 1976 Montrael  Olympics. The team went 72-2 over that span.

I was a big fan of Webb as a coach and was quite bummed when he was passed over for the Duke job when Bill Foster left the Blue Devils but I guess it worked out for that Coach K fella.

Last night, in front of 8,000+ plus Bradley Braves fans wearing Red, ODU won the first ever College tournament. The Monarchs captured the crown with a 66-62 victory over the BU Braves and both schools made a bit of history in the process. Both BU and ODU have played in four straight post seasons in four different events. The two schools both competed in the initial College Basketball Insider tournament.

BU advanced to the finals last year in the CBI but settled for second place when the loss the best 2 of 3 to the Golden Hurricanes of Tulsa. ODU made the Braves brides maids again by holding off a late rally by the home team.While they weren’t in Detroit for THE Final Four, head coach Blaine Taylor and his squad ended the season on quite a roll to finish 25-10.

Taylor was enjoying the moment right after the victory in Peoria. If you look closely you can see Taylor spinning the ball on his finger. Congrats to the ODU Monarchs!