From the sidelines – I am thankful for sports

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By Marty Gordon

This time of year, we must remember what we are thankful for.

If there hadn’t been sports in my life, I don’t know what I would have done. For the past 30 years, I have been involved in athletics in one form or another, ranging from minor league baseball and recreation sports to umpiring and covering high school sports.

Without sports, I would have not made a career out of my life. But the feeling of thanksgiving is even bigger this time of year.

I have covered NASCAR races, attended UFC and professional wrestling events, been at the 50-yard-line of college football games, helped lead two Appalachian League baseball teams, driven a monster truck on several major race tracks and interviewed professional rodeo, football, baseball and basketball players. I have visited almost 40 minor-league baseball parks, and I have been backstage for several bowl football games.

I am also thankful for college football and basketball this time of year when they overlap.

I am thankful for the memories Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster has given me. Thanks, Bud for everything you have done for the Hokie football program.

Also, I must give a shout out to former Tech head man Frank Beamer for everything he has given all Virginia Tech’s fans.

I am also thankful for the opportunity to see sporting events from the unusual side of things as a mascot for the Salem Avalanche and for Radford University. There are many stories that I could tell from being behind the mask as people didn’t know who it was.

I also have the opportunity to do play-by-play for several high school football teams in Virginia and North Carolina. I also thank the higher bees who gave me the opportunity to do public address for a national semi-pro football league’s national championship. I have done PA for minor league baseball and NASCAR, all something that I never thought I would be given the opportunity to do.

I also thank former Radford University promotions man John Montgomery for teaching me how to promote sports in so many ways. I also thank all the professional and high school athletes who have given me the opportunity to interview them.

Sports has been a way of life for me, and I am thankful for that.

Other sports tidbits:

My top five college football teams for this week: 1) LSU, 2) Ohio State, 3) Clemson, 4) Georgia, 5) Alabama.

While all five of our area high-school football teams have been knocked out of the state post-season, all of the schools should be saluted for great efforts this season.

Also, a big pat on the back to Auburn and Radford high schools for bringing home state volleyball championships. Well done,  young ladies.