ON PIRATE SPORTS
From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
By Brian Bailey
Bailey Boys' vacation: What a ride!
By Brian Bailey
All rights reserved.
Ryne (left) and
Bailey in the heart of the
Hokie and Mountaineer
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Remember when your first
assignment in school each year would be to write a composition about what
you did on your summer vacation.
Oddly enough, my vacation this
year has a connection to the upcoming East Carolina football season.
Ryne, my soon to be
16-year-old son, and I made a trip to West Virginia last week to do a little
white water rafting, to play some golf, and to visit relatives.
Actually, my relatives live on
the Virginia side of a city named Bluefield. There’s a Bluefield, Virginia,
and a Bluefield, West Virginia, which is the larger of the two Bluefields.
I had a chance to celebrate my
birthday in the city that I was born in. Yes, 45 years ago I was born in the
My grandmother still lives
right there. She is 86 years old, and if there is a finer woman out there,
I’ve yet to meet her!
Bluefield, Virginia, is billed
as “Virginia’s Tallest Town.” It is located about sixty miles from
Blacksburg, Virginia, and two hundred miles from Morgantown, West Virginia.
Thus my vacation took me right smack in the middle of Virginia Tech fans and
West Virginia fans.
Ryno and I had a chance to
play lots of golf on the trip. My uncle always introduces me as a
sportscaster from Greenville, North Carolina, and the golf pro at the first
course we played jumped right on the subject of the opener in Blacksburg.
“Can’t wait for that one,” he
said. “I don’t give your boys from Greenville much of a shot. The Hokies
will be fired up for that one.”
I then told him that a former
ECU coach (Steve Logan) once told us all that emotion only goes for about a
play or two. After that, the better team usually finds a way to get the job
I told him that there’s no
doubt Tech will be double-digit favorites, but I also said not to be
surprised if Coach Skip Holtz and company don’t come up with a wrinkle or
two to keep the game close, and possibly pull the upset.
Later in the day, at another
golf shop, I had another “football” discussion.
This guy was very
complimentary of the East Carolina program.
“I’m a big West Virginia fan,”
he said. “That Skip Holtz always has something for the Mountaineers. I
really respect that team and that Holtz is a helluva a coach.”
I told the man that I’d pass
along the nice compliment to Holtz and the rest of the Pirate Nation.
Our trip down the New River in
West Virginia was a day I’ll never forget. Our run included two separate
Class V rapids. While we successfully navigated the first one, the second
sent a couple of Baileys out of the boat.
At our safety meeting, I
remember the leader saying to always stay calm, regardless of the situation.
That little nugget would certainly come in handy.
The rapid was called the
“double z.” We got through the first “z,” but then we apparently didn’t hit
the second “z” with enough speed. All I remember is seeing Ryno vault out of
the boat, sort of like someone hit the button on the ejection seat.
[Column Continues Below
|Brian (left) and
Ryne Bailey navigate the “double z” on the New River in West
I tried to grab him, but then
gravity took me into the New River. It was a little scary, especially for
Ryno, who got caught up in some kind of whirlpool. I remember hearing our
guide screaming for him to hang on. I made it back to the boat safely, and
then helped pull Ryno back into the boat.
Talk about a wild ride. Before
that, the log flume at Busch Gardens was my only white water experience.
That’s probably a great
analogy for what East Carolina faces this year.
Somehow, the Pirates have to
stay calm in the middle of an emotional opener in Blacksburg.
I certainly enjoyed the
vacation, but I really think I enjoy working during the football season that
The Pirate players report in
just over a week.
It was a summer to remember.
Hopefully, it will also be a fall full of new football memories.
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07/27/2007 12:52:55 AM