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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 Brian
Bailey in the heart of the
Hokie and Mountaineer
highlands near
Bluefield, Virginia.

See additional photo
elsewhere on this page.



TALK 1070

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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 Bluefield Sanitarium.

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 done.

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 Picture]

Brian (left) and Ryne Bailey navigate the “double z” on the New River in West Virginia. (Submitted)

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 much more.

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


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