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The Press Box for July 24

By Staff | Jul 24, 2019

I had a busy week of sports, starting with a Rotary Club meeting in New Martinsville where former Magnolia Blue Eagle basketball player and current Morgantown high school coach Dave Tallman, Jr. along with former WVU assistant basketball coach Billy Hahn were the guest speakers. The pair were introduced by Magnolia basketball coach Dave Tallman, although no introduction was actually needed.

Both coaches have earned high respect around the state and are currently teamed up with Jared West (former WVU player) to coach the “Best Virginia” a Mountaineer legends team playing in the $2,000,000 basketball challenge tournament. The team is made up of former WVU players and according to Tallman and Hahn they expect to be a real challenge for the title.

The games will be played in Richmond, Virginia with the winner of the Richmond tournament advancing to Chicago for the top prize. Tallman said he believes they have put together one of the hardest working and most dedicated group of players he has ever been involved with. He said these guys just don’t miss. Coach Tallman said if they win the $2,000,000 his take would be $50,000. “With that I could pay off my bills and buy a few rounds,” Tallman added.

It was an entertaining meeting with Coach Hahn speaking about his history of coaching with and against Coach Huggins. He gave a nice talk about hard work, his retirement from coaching at WVU and his love for the people of West Virginia. He said he travels all over the United States for speaking engagements and is currently booked up clear through November, however when he was asked to come to Wetzel County and speak to the Rotary, he couldn’t pass it up.

“I go a lot of places, but no where I’ve been is better than West Virginia. The people are just the best, right here in Wetzel County are some of the best people you’ll find anywhere,” said Hahn. He said not long ago he was in Paden City speaking at the all-sports banquet telling kids how sports and academics go hand in hand. Coach Hahn said as for the “Best Virginia” team they are coaching, he’s really impressed with how well they have performed in exhibition games. Just like Coach Tallman he expects the West Virginia squad to compete hard and maybe just win this thing. He added they will have to beat an overseas team who has won the tournament the past couple times, but he believes his team is good enough to do it. According to the two coaches the games will be televised on ESPN 3, and can be accessed on the internet as well.

I also took time to go watch a couple girls volleyball games at River High School on Saturday, the Pilots put on a nice tournament each year and Saturday was no exception. Paden City’s girls showed up big and really impressed. I look for them to have a great season. They have been working hard since last year and are a much-improved team. The local competition is going to be pretty tough in Class A. Tyler Consolidated, Paden City, and Magnolia will be the teams to beat.

The Blue Eagles have everyone back from last year’s state championship team but will be pressed hard by the other two. It’s going to be interesting.

On Monday I went up to Bethany, for the annual OVAC Football All-Star media day. Had a chance to watch the Ohio All-Stars and the West Virginia All-Stars workout. Both teams look very strong, it would be tough to pick a winner at this point. The game will be played on Saturday night at Wheeling Island Stadium, with all the festivities to go along. It’s always a nice time with the McDonald’s All-Star band and the Queen of Queen’s contest. It’s definitely worth the price of admission, so if you want to start the 2019 football season off on the right foot head up to the Island Saturday for the official 2019 high school football season kickoff.

A few weeks back I had a serious bout with my heart and according to the doctors I’m pretty lucky to still be here. It’s not a good feeling when you’re driving, and everything starts going black. However, I made it through and ended up getting a dual chamber Pacemaker. Well I had been walking 4-5 miles a night prior to getting sick and felt good. It just hit all at once. They told me the batteries for the pacemaker has about a 10-year life expectancy. I told them to make sure they put in a good set of die-hards.

I resumed my exercise regime and am walking again. I always said one of the best things a person can do for their health is to regularly exercise. Anyway, some people just don’t seem to like it very well. I was taking my nightly stroll through Paden City last week with my trusted sidekick old hickory. That’s my cane, it serves several purposes, but the most important is helping hold me up when I hit one of the many potholes along my course. On this particular evening, it was unusually humid, and I had a good sweat worked up and was about to head home when I was confronted by one of our local police officers. He said he had just received a call from some idiot up on North First Avenue claiming there was a guy with a crow bar running around the town. I assured him my cane may be shaped similar to a crow bar, but it was a cane for an old man with coronary artery disease who likes to walk and stay in the best shape he can.

I also asked him to go up there or call the person back and tell them to mind their own @#$##%@&% business. I forgot to ask him to check out the large oil and gas trucks traveling through town every night seems there is no speed limit for them. Anyway, it’s kind of scary on Route 2, when two or three of them fly by about 45-50 miles an hour. Might make a good source of income for the community. Sure would be better than you can get out of an old guy with a hickory stick. eparsons@tylerstarnews.com