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Court benches football team, baffles fans

December 09, 2010|By TIM ROWLAND | timr@herald-mail.com
  • Tim Rowland
Tim Rowland

I love it when freckled, grass-stained kids from two tough football programs with long-standing grudges get down in the dirt and the mud and settle the score where it was meant to be settled — in a courtroom.

Even so, you have to feel for the Martinsburg Bulldogs, who were sitting around this week waiting to find out who they should have played last week.

Martinsburg we knew; the Bulldogs were in the state championship game based on on-field accomplishments. But their opponent had to be decided not on the field, but by the West Virginia Supreme Court, at least indirectly.

The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that the state's Secondary Schools Activities Commission, not a Kanawha County Circuit judge, has controlling authority in this instance to decide whether South Charleston or Brooke would play Martinsburg — and if you are confused now, wad up this page right this second and throw it in the firebox, because it don't get no simpler.

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My understanding, without doing a lot of bothersome research, is that the South Charleston Black Eagles were in a playoff game against the Hurricane Redskins, when a South Charleston player intercepted a Hurricane pass to seal the win. A frustrated Hurricane player threw a punch and a brawl ensued. Four South Charleston players were suspended, meaning they were ineligible to play the following week against the Brooke Bruins. Or they wouldn't have been, save for Charleston-based Judge Carrie Webster, who ruled that they could play.

I hadn't heard of Judge Webster, so I looked her up and discovered she has —a Facebook page. Heaven help us all, that bottomless cesspool of social networking has claimed America's judiciary.

I friended her, what the heck.

So the would-be suspended kids played in a game against Brooke and South Charleston beat the Bruins by a point — or so it seemed, until a Brooke-area judge ruled that the Charleston-area judge was full of beans and never should have interfered in the first place. Hence the legal logjam that wound up postponing the game.

I don't know how football would be played out in a courtroom, but I might learn to like it:

"Your honor, my tailback moves for a first down."

"Objection!"

"Overruled."

"The defense requests a sidebar."

"For what purpose does the counselor make the request?"

"So our linebacker can break your skull, you egghead."

Yikes. It used to be that in sports, when you got sent to the bench you assumed ...

In the final analysis, everything probably worked out as it should have. The state activities commission made the ultimate decision, as it should have all along, and disqualified South Charleston, meaning Brooke will play Martinsburg on Saturday for the title.

OK, well and good. But to my mind, this still leaves one very, very serious question unanswered: How does a town in southwestern West Virginia that's 500 miles from the Atlantic Ocean get the name of "Hurricane?"

As usual in this nation's history, the blame rests with George Washington. When surveying what would become Hurricane Creek, he noticed a stand of trees all leaning in one direction and made the leap. Seventeen miles from Hurricane, no lie, is the town of Tornado, which got its name from the whirlwind of protest stemming from a decision during reconstruction to close a local post office.

God bless Al Gore for inventing Wikipedia.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 6997, or via e-mail at timr@herald-mail.com. Tune in to the Rowland Rant video under opinion@herald-mail.com, on antpod.com or on Antietam Cable's WCL-TV Channel 30 at 6:30 p.m. New episodes are released every Wednesday.

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