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Bill Turner

Here we are. The month of April. Thirty days where showers bring May flowers.

It’s April, where you’ll find Grilled Cheese Month, BLT Sandwich Month and National Humor Month.

The humor part wasted no time getting started on April 1st, where Mark Twain once quipped, “The first of April is the day we remember what we are the other 364 days of the year.”

Yes, you really do learn something when you read this column.

There was plenty of buzz around corporate headquarters this year about what April Fools pranks could be pulled on The Chief. Everything was up for grabs, from itching powder in the executive washroom to sardines in The Chief’s car. It even got him going when the rumor surfaced I was charging extravagant fees to speak at local clubs, although I think the brouhaha centered more around not giving him a cut of the booty.

Well, rest assured area club speaker organizers. I’m still a bargain, typically free, and always a fashion statement in Loudmouth apparel. Just ask our splendid Commentary Writer, Dick Baynton, who has invited me to talk at one of his esteemed organizations. Although Dick typically writes on the economy and politics, he hasn’t asked me yet to center my talk around two of the most prominent items in current events, Stormy Daniels. Get there early, could be standing room only.

But, The Chief may have pulled the best one of them all when he sent us a picture of himself looking over military tanks in Georgia. I knew he was concerned about security around here, but a military tank? Baron von Chief.

Now, back to the world of sports where we honor basketball All-Stars, welcome the baseball season, tip you off on an upcoming sports club speaker and jump into the mail bag after a barrage of questions on the NCAA March Madness and tag team wrestling headline the inquiries.

First, to the recent announcements by the VHSL of our “Big-11” basketball all-star selections. Leading the way was our sole state champion, the Class 3 Lord Botetourt girls team.

Class 3 Girls:

First Team All-State: Miette Veldman and Brooklyn Shelton (Lord Botetourt).

Second Team All-State: Jenna Alam (Lord Botetourt).

Class 3 Coach of the Year: Chuck Pound (Lord Botetourt).

Class 3 Boys:

First Team All-State: Julien Wooden (Northside).

Second Team All-State: Nick Price (Northside); Jonah Fitzgerald (Hidden Valley).

Class 5 Girls:

First Team All-State: Jasmine Kasey (William Fleming).

Second Team All-State: Taniah Johnson (William Fleming); Serena Lytton (Patrick Henry).

The sound of baseball and the smell of hot dogs is in the air at Salem Memorial Baseball Park as the Salem Red Sox are ready to kick off the Carolina League season. The Sox open things with a 7-game home stand beginning April 5th, as Buies Creek provides the opposition for the first four, followed by three with Wilmington. Salem also has April home dates the 16th-18th with Potomac, and end the month April 24-29 with 3-game sets against Frederick and Myrtle Beach.

The Roanoke Valley Sports Club has former N.C. State basketball standout Chucky Brown on tap as its guest speaker for the Monday, April 16 meeting at the Salem Civic Center. A 5:45 social is followed by the 6:00 dinner meeting. Interested guests and prospective club members are welcome to attend what is always a fun evening in the world of sports. Contact Maggie Drewry at 540-353-1103 for information or to purchase tickets.

Now, to the famous – if not occasionally infamous – mail bag.

Dear Wild Bill: What was your take on our three Virginia entrees in March Madness? (Cecil/Roanoke County)

This was by far the hottest topic in some time, with about three dozen questions and even more comments. For UVA fans, I wouldn’t despair. The Cavaliers’ loss to #16 seed UMBC was certainly a shock, but not a reason to throw in the towel. There’s a saying in sports circles than if something happens once it might be a fluke. Three or more times, it might be a trend. Since this was the first time in 136 games between a #1 and #16, I’d call it a fluke. The loss doesn’t take away from UVA winning the ACC regular season going away, winning the ACC tournament and holding down the #1 spot in the polls for over a month heading into March Madness. Head coach Tony Bennett capped things off by winning the AP National Coach of the Year last week.

For Radford, a season to remember after winning the Big South on a buzzer beater, then winning over LIU for their first March Madness victory. Plenty to build on for head coach Mike Jones.

There’s arguably more concern with Virginia Tech, not only with the Hokies bowing out for the second straight year in the first round, but the way it happened against Alabama. In a tight game up for grabs in the last minute, Tech coach Buzz Williams got a technical foul that led to a technical free throw by the Tide and two more free throws on the subsequent Alabama possession. Three points right there, and Tech loses by three, 86-83. Draw your own conclusions.

Dear Wrestling Fan Wild Bill: Heard your comments recently on tag-team wrestling. Who were your favorite wrestling stars? (Hazel/ Goodview)

Well, Hazel, I’d go with Aldo Bagni and Bronco Lubich, with Manager Homer O’Dell on the men’s side. The Fabulous Moolah on the women’s side. Sorry, Hazel, I liked the bad guys and gals when it was time to grapple.

Until next time, get your best submission hold ready, and send your questions to [email protected].

Bill Turner

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