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-StarsPresent 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.
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