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Snowblind 12/21/09

The A-Line Board of Football Experts

So, did everybody survive the Great Blizzard of 09? While there are quite a few people [hopefully] reading this with little knowledge of what happened in these parts, a majority do reside in the same state as I and are well aware of what came down over the weekend. It was quite the display of global warming.

The first snow-induced casualty was my plan to attend the Stagg Bowl in Salem. Friday morning I had contemplated the dire warnings of the Snowpocalypse being shouted by all TomsDeckavailable media. This, when combined with my knowledge of where I stay when in that neck of the woods,  my brother’s house on the side of a mountain, is accessed by a road that, when covered with snow, causes officials of Roanoke County to think in terms of the spring thaw for clearing it. As of Monday morning, it still had not been touched. His back deck, where we have spent many pleasant evenings over the years following Tech football games, tends to lose a bit of its charm when covered by two feet of snow.

burning-house5My weekend almost got off to a rocky start at 6 pm when my phone rang. My caller ID passed along the information that I was being hailed by the city of Danville. I answered, anticipating a representative of the city’s fire department telling me that another tenant had ignored that section of the lease forbidding kerosene heaters and managed to burn down my house. While my thoughts were alternating between having to get out in the snow that was rapidly piling up outside, the anger directed at me the last time a tenant discovered that I kept no empty unit around for lodging people who had torched one of my houses and how I might spend the insurance money, a recorded voice on the other end told me that it would begin snowing at noon. Who knew?

After this comical display of Danville’s celebrated governmental incompetence, my mood lightened considerably. A bunch that would go to the trouble of lostcalling to warn me that it would begin snowing six hours earlier, two before it actually did, would create on the roads conditions very conducive to spikes in auto body business. But, I would not be contributing to it.

I bagged the Stagg and its accompanying tailgate. There are, however, members of the Clubhouse Tailgate descended from hardier stock than I. The Senior Hokie and Grillmaster had determined that if you can tailgate during hurricanes you also can during major snow storms and left Richmond and Fredericksburg, respectively, beating the snow and pitching camp in the parking lot of Salem Stadium before the first flake had fallen.

37th Annual 2010 Stagg Bowl - 018They were eventually joined by a couple of other intrepid souls. That would include a gentleman from NOVA who reminds me very much of my younger self. He decided exactly what I would have thirty years ago when I was his age, that he wasn’t going to let the potential of a little snow stand between him and the magic that is Division III football. He came charging out of Stafford late Friday afternoon in the direction of Salem.

Several hours later, as I sipped a generous quantity of the brown liquor I had not brought to the tailgate and kept abreast of the outside world through the various social media, e-mail and telephone from the warmth and comfort of my house, I noticed that he had informed the world, or at least his friends on Facebook, from his mobile phone that he was stuck on I-81 around Lexington in what the VDOT Web site informed me was an 8-mile traffic jam. Better him than me.

Saturday morning after I had spent a warm and restful night in my bed, I was enjoying my morning coffee and watching a television news young lady sternly advise against driving unless ‘absolutely necessary’ before informing all watching that the malls would be open at noon, I noticed that my adventurous friend had finally negotiated the Shenandoah Valley and arrived at the tailgate around 3 AM. I had made the correct choice, as he likely will when his teeth have reached the length of mine.

I also noticed that an attractive young lady of my tailgating acquaintance had been attempting a Friday journey from her current home in Atlanta to her ancestral abode in Virginia and 09GT43had become stranded on Route 29, near Hooville, of all  places. Had I known, I would have graciously offered my house as shelter from the storm when she passed through Danville several hours earlier. While I have little doubt she would have found hours spent in a Hooville snow bank preferable to my company, it would have been fun for me.

Saturday was spent in not-so-splendid isolation alternating between watching televised sports on my Bravia from my recliner and staying in touch with the outside world through the InterWebs. The clarity to be seen from watching Carolina’s thought-to-be-dominant inside game being handled so easily by Texas and Duke’s utter demolition of Gonzaga has convinced me that my days of attending basketball games in person will dwindle to a precious few. The Sony is that good.

I even watched most of the Second Half of the Stagg Bowl. The sight of the people shivering in the stands gave me such a chill that I was forced to turn up my thermostat a few degrees. I had made the correct choice and any pangs of regret at not attending the game and tailgate disappeared as I went back to the bottle, that of the half-gallon of Wild Turkey 101 I had purchased for the Clubhouse. It slid down just as well Saturday night as it had Friday.

Sunday did bring on a bout of cabin fever, brought on mostly by the tedium and monotony that is NFL football. I broke it by watching a couple of DVD’s I still plan on giving as Christmas presents and the appearance on Fox Sports Net of ACC Sunday night basketball. It would seem that the question of whether Paul Hewitt can recruit sufficient talent to overcome his coaching has been answered and El Sid is at least yet another year away at State. The Loonpack ran off Herb for this?

These words are being written on Monday morning. I have endured the Snowpocalypse weekend in relative comfort, although I still have not ventured from home and hearth out into what looks to be at least a cold world. That time is coming shortly. Supplies are running low.

This is very likely the last update to this site for the year. Tuesday of next week, provided Mother Nature obliges, we will be heading to the Chicken Bowl in Atlanta, not to return until the calendar has been turned to 2010. The A-Line would like to wish all a very Merry Christmas and happy and prosperous New Year.

merry christmas


  1. Greg — December 21, 2009 #

    Thanks Jim and a very pleasant and merry Christmas to you too as well as a prosperous and healthy 2010. Safe trip to and return from Hotlanta. Like you did this past Saturday, I’ll be enjoying the chicken bowl from the comfort of my Lazy Boy with Jack and Coke in hand and a roaring fire in my wood furnace. Looking forward to many more entries in the coming year.

    BTW, there were two really great bowl games this past weekend. New Mexico Bowl and the R&L Carriers Bowl were both very entertaining with the outcome in doubt until near the end.


  2. Hokie Mac — December 21, 2009 #

    Yo Jim, thanks for your humor and astute observations enjoyed through the year. I will be watching the Chicken Bowl as did you the Stagg Bowl, Go Hokies, and don’t let those Rocky Toppers go home happy…Cheers!


  3. Atlee — December 21, 2009 #

    I too wish everyone a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year.

    Let’s also hope Santa is kind to the Hokie football team and leaves a victory over that UT-East bunch in all of their stockings.


  4. jdanwuff — December 21, 2009 #

    Merry Christmas to you and all the Hokies. While I will be home again this bowl season, I will wear my maroon and orange for the Chicken Bowl.


  5. Jim Schillinger — December 29, 2009 #

    I really enjoy your writings – I feel uniquely both educated and entertained afterwards! I look forward to more of it in 2010!


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