The Article That Never Was
by Bill Glose, 2/22/00

Recently, I was going through my old articles, and I ran across this old piece. I remember that day back in '98 when I went out to Darling Field to watch the Virginia High School All-Star Game as if it was yesterday. The field was slick due to a misty rain that had been coming down throughout the day. That didn't deter the large crowd that had showed up to watch Ronald Curry and catch a piece of football history. Sure, the Hampton Roads area knew of Michael Vick as well, but the true reason for the large turnout was Curry. He was the one who was going to win the Heisman and bring fame and fortune to Hampton Roads.

Oh, how things have changed. Now, Curry's career is questioned by many and Vick has risen to superstar status. After the game was over, I was part of the swarm of reporters out on the field with notebook and tape recorder in hand, buzzing around those 17 and 18 year old kids, hoping for a good sound byte. The crowd surrounding Curry was immense, and I was only able to get minimal face time with him, so I moved on to other candidates. I was interested in getting a little inside information on Virginia Tech's incoming class, so I left in search of Vick and Suggs.

Lee Suggs won the MVP trophy for the West All Stars, so he had a moderate throng of people surrounding him as well. I managed to elbow my way in and get in a few words. I was impressed with him, and I most remember the way he deflected all praise to his teammates. He was a real class act, and I look forward to seeing him get more carries next year.

After a while, I ran off in search of Michael Vick, since he was our quarterback-to-be. He'd completed a few decent passes during the game, but there were no spectacular catches by the receivers. Vick did make some strong-armed throws though, and he seemed especially elusive, so I thought he held promise for the future. (WOW. What an understatement that turned out to be!)

I asked some of his teammates for help finding him, and finally located him over on the sidelines. There was no crowd around him. No notepads or recorders waiting to catch his every word. He'd already taken off his pads, and was just hanging around with the guys. He was more than happy to accommodate me with an interview, and I was able to get about 15 minutes of him on tape without any interruptions. The chances of that happening again are about the same as my chances of fitting back into my cub scout uniform -- it ain't gonna happen.

When I first thought back to that day, and that interview, I did a frantic search through my old tapes. I usually keep them for reference material, and to confirm quotes if they ever come into question. However, several of my tapes are now covered with my sister's medical school lectures, and I'm assuming the tape in question fell to the same fate. So, I'll just have to rely on my rusty memory of how things used to be. And my original article, of course.

Curry Leads East All-Stars

By Bill Glose
Friday, July 17, 1998

HAMPTON - The 27th annual Virginia High School Coaches Association All-Star football game at Darling Stadium gave the public yet another opportunity to see Ronald Curry shine -- though not in his usual fashion. Local residents are used to seeing the Hampton High standout excel as the premiere high school quarterback in the nation, but Thursday night the audience was wowed as he exhibited ironman qualities in every other aspect of the game. Curry was awarded the East All-Star Most Valuable Player Trophy as he led his team to a 30-16 victory over the West.

Though the venue that most will know and remember Ronald Curry -- as the stellar quarterback that ruled Hampton Roads, and the basketball star who will play on Boo Williams' 19-and-under basketball team in the AAU games -- perhaps the best thing about Ronald Curry is his sense of values. In an age where integrity and responsibility are at an all-time low and self-praise and instant-gratification are at an all-time high, Ronald Curry is something of an anomaly. He's a mild mannered kid who can do what every other kid in the nation wishes they could, yet he still keeps himself cool and collected, not letting any of his success go to his head.

Friday night, Hampton Roads saw the reason reporters are so interested in Curry. He was one of the quickest and most elusive players on the field of all-stars, which made him such a valuable asset to the team. Though his notoriety comes from being named the nation's best high school quarterback, he showed the crowd that his skills extend to just about all other aspects of the game as well. The only thing he didn't do during the game was kick the ball. Some have commented on the dangers of playing a quarterback at these other positions, putting him at more risk than he needs, but Curry remained unconcerned. He stated simply, "I prefer the offense of course, but I'll do anything to help the team."

His more incredible plays came as the punt/kickoff returner for the East All-Stars. Darting through the field with bullet-like speed and cutting away from tacklers with cat-like quickness, he seemed to be a bolt of greased lightning. On one play, Curry cradled the ball and stood still for several seconds while his opponents rushed in on him. At the last moment, he slipped through the grasp of three would-be tacklers, breaking to the other side of the field and scampering down to the West 20 yard line. Though the play was brought back due to a clipping penalty, Curry showcased his capabilities in avoiding no less than 6 tackles along his zig-zagging jaunt down the field. Though it almost seemed he was taunting the West players, Curry says in truth he was just assessing the situation and looking for an opening. When questioned, Curry said, "I was just thinking about getting into the end zone ... scoring."

Present Day Me:      Okay, okay. Maybe I was gushing over Curry a little much. I, too, must confess to being caught up in all the hype surrounding the high school sensation. I was also attempting to spice my article with as much Curry flavor as possible to whet the appetites of my Hampton Roads market. As it turned out, all the local rags passed on this piece, so it got shelved and forgotten. Until now.

Back then, I remember being equally impressed with both quarterbacks. They were both highly skilled athletes, and intelligent young men. I'd like to add that I believe Curry's present situation is no reflection of his skill or character, and that he'll rebound. He'll make it to the next level, and all will be fine with him. He simply had some bad luck. As for Vick, I won't be surprised with anything he accomplishes. What he's already accomplished is far beyond what I originally imagined, so all the rest is gravy.

As for the rest of my original article, I'll skip the ending where I rant on about Curry's future. In the middle, I finally mention our future franchise player. So, without further ado, here's three more paragraphs from the article that never was...

The wet conditions on the field at the beginning of the game may have had something to do with the small amount of passing attempts, but neither of the East quarterbacks attribute that as a factor. Warwick's Michael Vick says that his low stats during the first half were due more to the defense rather than poor conditions. His slippery nature and quick feet kept the defenders away from him for a while, but he was having difficulty getting the ball to the receivers until the second half. Then, he blasted off three rockets for just over 100 yards.

Both quarterbacks enjoyed operating on the same side of the ball together. During the course of the practice week, both quarterbacks commented that they'd learned a lot of stuff from the other while swapping time at quarterback and receiver. "Running plays with each other was a lot of fun," said Vick. Curry was just as happy to have the Warwick star on his side, too. "Vick is a good quarterback - he's as good as me or better."

The last time the two athletes were on the same football field together, they staged a wild shootout. Curry led his Hampton Crabbers over Vick's Raiders in a 34-16 victory last September, but the battle in the air was a lot closer than the score would lead you to believe. Vick passed for 295 yards while Curry ran and passed for 255.

          

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