The HokieCentral Columnists are HokieCentral's "heavy hitters," and they bring you the very best in Tech sports commentary. The opinions expressed in these columns do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the HokieCentral staff.

The Bet
by Jim Alderson, 10/31/00

Many are aware that there is much more on the line in Saturday’s VT-UM showdown than mere conference and national championships. I am, of course, referring to The Bet, that annual wager between Rondo, who often posts to the HCMB, and I on the outcome of the Hokies-Canes clash. National rankings, bowl bids and even the Sears Trophy pale in comparison to the stakes for which Rondo and I gamble.

Over the years, our friendly gentleman’s wagers have resulted in me clipping him for mass quantities of cigars from the house of Arturo Fuentes and gallons of Jose Cuervo 1800. My humidor and liquor cabinet have prospered, although, alas, every last bit of my winnings has been consumed. It is high time for my stocks to be replenished at Rondo’s expense, although it does appear that the continuation of Tech’s and my winning streak will be quite a chore. I will, however, take my chances.

These bets have spanned much of my friendship with Rondo, including his long search for gainful employment after leaving the United States Air Force, where he bravely defended his country from the enemies that abound in the global hot spots of San Diego and Utah, a search that took him to the Pacific Northwest to his current residence in the Great White North of Minnesota, where he labors on behalf of the Honeywell Corporation, whose management no doubt noticed that come football season the inflated salary they were paying him to traipse around the continental United States from Seattle, Washington to Miami, Florida to observe his beloved Canes in action was causing operational losses of such a scale that they immediately decided the balance sheet could not withstand the pressure and elected to sell the company to General Electric, thus relieving stockholders of the burden of paying Rondo to watch Miami football. Pay no attention to utterances by Honeywell management; Rondo is the real reason.

Rondo is unaware that I am taking our usual week of good-natured (well, mostly) insults to a grander stage, for this year he is varying his Tech Week ritual to include lounging around Key West with his lovely bride Dawna, taking his ease following his observance of Miami’s struggle with Preliminary Tech and gathering strength for Saturday’s battle with the real thing. He no doubt has leaped into the air with joy at the news of Michael’s injury and gnashed his teeth in anguish at Morgan’s, and perhaps speculated as I have that there is, given the grit and determination of both men, the possibility that we may be treated to the sight of Morgan chasing Vick with both hopping on one foot.

But Rondo is away from a computer and unable to join our usual banter. Too bad, because that leaves the field to me, and I will indeed take the advantage to toss out words such as ‘jinx,’ ‘five,’ ‘hex,’ and the ‘Butch Factor,’ the last being a Hokie advantage that Rondo himself has often commented on, and which a battered and bruised Tech team will need more than ever as it limps into the Orange Bowl to face a truly outstanding Miami team, one that has already exorcised their other demon, Florida State.

Hopefully, Rondo is trembling in dread at the possibility that Butch will again find some way to screw it up, although, given the icy calm demeanor Davis displayed during the FSU game, that seems to be becoming less of a Tech asset to be counted upon. It would serve Rondo right to engage in a bit of worrying, however, in that he is spending the week frolicking in the Keys while I am stuck in front of a computer.

I spoke with Rondo via telephone last Friday, seconds before he hopped on a plane to make the arduous journey to South Florida. We agreed that this year among the objects of our affection would be a bottle of Royal Reserve. This was Rondo’s suggestion, one to which I readily agreed, although I would have thought that last year after his enthusiastic participation in my tailgating group’s usual ritual, one taken just before we walk to Lane Stadium and involving generous shots of every (well, quite a few, anyway) Hokie’s favorite booze, his apparent newly-developed fondness for brown liquor would have caused him to specify Wild Turkey. But, Royal Reserve it is. It will make a nice addition to my liquor cabinet in the event Tech can find a way to pull off the upset, although it really seems odd that the word ‘upset’ is being used in conjunction with a rivalry Tech has won five consecutive years.

We also discussed our itineraries for what has become our other ritual, getting together to watch the Tech-Miami game in person. This is a very pleasant one that last year involved an eight hour tailgate largely spent talking football, stuffing our faces and guzzling truly impressive amounts of alcohol. I know of few better ways to spend time, and the handful I do involve the opposite sex and can’t be discussed on a family web site. It would seem that Miami geography and the noon kickoff dictated by CBS would make another eight hour tailgating marathon a tricky proposition, although the combination of an 8am Thursday flight and my steadfast refusal to fly sober (if the plane lands nose first, I go happy) will have given me practice in early drinking.

In any event, The Bet is on. Rondo, if you have tired of the Florida sun and have sought refuge and refreshment in a bar with Internet access and have of course immediately headed to Hokie Central and are reading this, see you soon, good friend, and here’s hoping you do not have to discover that I probably won’t be the gracious loser you have been all these past years.

Jim Alderson, who first made his mark with his biting political commentary on the A-Line email newsletter, also brings a unique, sarcastic, and well-informed perspective on college sports, particularly (1) Virginia Tech sports and (2) ACC sports.  While Hokie fans currently have very little use for subject number 2, Alderson is an entertaining and informative columnist on subject number 1.  For even more fun, visit Jim's A-Line home page.


HC Columnists Archives

HC Home