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Thursday, April 11, 2013
There’s no shortage of people around the Roanoke Valley who have claimed over the years that yours truly is all wet.
Now, they’re getting an opportunity to put their money where their mouths are. They get a shot to dump me in the drink.
For an hour before Saturday’s Salem Red Sox game, I’ll be perched above a water tank in a dunking booth, lobbing insults at you weak-armed Willies who think you can throw.
It’s a fundraiser for Meals on Wheels, the volunteer-driven enterprise that provides nutritious food five days per week to hundreds of home-bound elderly residents of the Roanoke Valley and beyond. For $5, you’ll get three chances to send me plunging.
Not that I have much to fear from the best the Roanoke Valley has to offer. The Earth has more red-headed Eskimos than there are baseball talents who’ve emerged from the Big Lick.
Heck, all the male athletes in Roanoke grew up playing field hockey. Once they learned to put on a pair of trousers they graduated to golf, an even sissier athletic endeavor.
Their mothers taught them how to throw baseballs, which explains the cringe-worthy windups you see on pitching mounds throughout this region. Those pikers couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn with a broad side of a barn.
The idea for the event came from Todd Stephenson, the Red Sox vice-president and general manager.
“With the talent around here, I won’t even need to bring a change of clothes,” I confidently told him. “I’ll stay dry as the desert sand.”
“I don’t know about that,” Stephenson replied. “There’s no shortage of folks around here who want to see you wet and humiliated.”
So I did a little inventory of who they might be.
First up was Roanoke Mayor David Bowers, the sharpest ribbon-cutter in all of Southwest Virginia. The last time Bowers tossed the ceremonial first pitch at a baseball game, the ball only made it halfway to home plate. If it wasn’t for gravity, his pitch wouldn’t have even hit the ground.
No worries there.
Next was Chip Tarbutton , the leader of the Roanoke Tea Party. He’s a tall, strapping guy who looks like he could have thrown a mean fastball in his younger days.
But the only thing he’s been hurling for the past four years is paranoid conspiracy theories about the United Nations, flaming windmills and the 10th Amendment. Every one of Tarbutton’s throws is guaranteed to be wide to the right.
A pal of mine has threatened to bring in a ringer: Roanoke School Board Chairman (and soon-to-be-judge) David Carson . Hizzoner has had it in for me ever since I wrote a column that called him a “sensitive” male.
Decades ago Carson pitched for Dartmouth. Big deal — that’s a fourth-rate Ivy League college. In other words, he couldn’t get accepted at one of the real Ivys like Harvard, Princeton or Yale. Carson’s puny pitches won’t land within 4 feet of the bullseye.
“There are some Second Amendment advocates who might be gunning for you,” Stephenson offered.
“Without their pistols and rifles, they couldn’t hit water if they fell out of a boat,” I said with a laugh.
Greg Roberts, the sports-talk radio host, suggested Roanoke Times sportswriter Doug Doughty might dump me in the drink. Among his sports is competitive swimming.
“The only threat Doughty poses is to anyone’s eyes when he’s wearing his Speedo,” I said. “That ought to be illegal.”
The folks I’m really worried about are the women of Salem. Everyone knows they’re a lot better athletes than the so-called men from that town. You can tell by all the hair on their arms.
All of the above explains why every one of you bums is going to miss, and miss badly, and why I’ll emerge from that booth high and dry, with a big wide smile.
Your only consolation is that you’ll be spending your money on a truly good cause. Those Meals on Wheels cost $4 each. So each $5 you fork over will put some hot and nutritious grub in a needy senior’s belly.
The game begins at 6 p.m. The Sox are playing the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. Tickets start at $8 per head.
I’ll be in that booth for an hour starting at 5 p.m. So wimps, bring your egos and your sawbucks.
I dare you.
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