My adventures with the Cup

chris graham waynesboro generalsLike you, I’ve been watching the adventure of the Washington Capitals and their time with the Stanley Cup with shock and awe.

The Stanley Cup is the coolest championship trophy in all of team sports, and it’s not even close, and it’s because of things like … is that Ovechkin standing in the luxury suite at a Nats game with the Cup over his head, for no apparent reason? Did the Cup just photobomb Javanka at a dinner with a foreign ambassador?

The tattoo parlor, the dip in the fountain, the keg stand: we’re all jealous, seriously.

I had a similar experience with the (gulp!) Jim Lineweaver Cup, the trophy that goes to the winner of the Valley League, back five years ago.

OK, minus the tattoo parlor, keg stands, pretty much all the fun parts.

For six years, I was the radio play-by-play announcer for the Waynesboro Generals, on my way up to doing college baseball on ESPN.

The Generals won the first of back-to-back VBL championships in 2013, at the end of a special run for an unlikely team that only secured a playoff berth on the final day of the regular season.

For a week after the championship win, the Jim Lineweaver Cup sat on my desk in my office, except when I took it places. Like, for example, to a Rotary Club meeting. And then out to a local restaurant for karaoke night, where an assistant coach and I sang, yes, cliché, “We Are the Champions.”

I’d strap the Cup in the front seat of the car and just drive around with it, ostensibly to take it for photos with the team’s far-flung sponsors.

The novelty wore off after the first couple of days, when it occurred to me that outside of our tight fan base, the world didn’t care that the Waynesboro Generals were Valley League champs.

People even asked me if the Generals were a local softball team, so, yeah, not a lot of awareness out there, which was kinda depressing, honestly.

I was on hand for the 2014 championship, including, most memorably for me, getting to call the walkoff RBI single in the bottom of the ninth that won Game 3 of the championship series.

Aside from posing for a picture with the Cup, I didn’t do the tour thing the second time around. That moment had passed the summer before.

Column by Chris Graham


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