COLUMNS

On the Mark: Robinson, Fife and former players: Column

Mark Martin
Mark Martin

REMEMBERING JAMIE: As football season unfolds, it has had me thinking a lot about Jamie Robinson, who died in late August.

For years, Jamie served as the press box manager at Flinn Field (now Spano-Taylor Stadium at Flinn Field) in Ravenswood.

The pleasure Jamie got from hosting those in the media and others with food and fellowship while watching the great game of football was something to behold.

Football press boxes are a social hub for not only media members but those helping to administer the games. Jamie took the social part to another level. If you left the press box hungry, it was your own fault.

Jamie worked tirelessly with local businesses, especially restaurants, in providing a bountiful feast for those who made their way into the booth.

I did some games on radio early in my career at what was then the “new” press box. That press box is located on what is again the visitor’s side of this great high school football venue.

The last game I ever called there was the Ripley-Ravenswood showdown for the Hatchet in 1986.

I wouldn’t return to the press box until 2010 when Ravenswood was battling Bluefield for the right to play inside Wheeling Island Stadium for the Class AA state championship.

Ravenswood took down the proud Beaver program in that semifinal matchup to earn the title game berth.

I headed up to the press box before the game and was quickly greeted by Jamie. There were more pizza boxes than one can imagine. In addition, there was spaghetti, burgers, chicken nuggets and what is better on a cool November fall night than chili.

Jamie knew how much I loved popcorn and offered to make me some in the microwave that was inside the press box.

He was the life of the party and it was fun to see this atmosphere for a great football town like Ravenswood.

There was a warmth in the air. A feeling of family if you will.

He took great pride in being the best host possible.

The 2010 season was truly special for Jamie.

With Ravenswood being ranked so high, the Devils played three playoff games at home.

So instead of the usual five regular season contests, Ravenswood was home eight times. Which means it gave Jamie eight great evenings to do what he loved most.

His obituary listed many family members, including his loving parents Robbie and Mary Lou.

But it also recognized some of his closest friends — Doug Bashaw, Jim Scritchfield, Vic DeRito, Bob Staats and Bill Pease. They were all a part of those special Friday nights.

Besides his love for press box hosting and taking in other Red Devil and Devilette sporting events, Jamie enjoyed the sport of bowling.

Ravenswood football lost one of its greatest fans.

But he was so much more than a fan.

He was an essential part of the program. Those in town certainly knew it. And he left visitors from out of town spreading the word about Ravenswood and Ravenswood football.

He will now enjoy watching the red and black from the best seat of all.

RIP, Jamie. You were a great friend.

FIFE ON THE LINKS: Ripley High School’s Avery Fife had a good showing at the West Virginia Girls State Golf Tournament played on the Mingo Bottom Course in Elizabeth.

Fife fired a 90 to place in a tie for 13th overall.

Taylor Sargent of Cabell Midland took medalist honors.

It was a nice round in a very competitive field of talented golfers from around the state.

The state tournament is just days from taking place.

Regional qualifying will determine what golfers move on to Wheeling’s Ogelbay Park to play the Jones Course.

ON THE SIDELINES I: Former Ripley Viking football player Storm Matheny has gotten the coaching bug.

He’s an assistant on the staff of Steve Edwards Jr. at George Washington High School.

It’s a special place for Matheny.

For many years Fred Aldridge, his late grandfather and true inspiration, strolled the sidelines as an assistant for the late Steve Edwards Sr.

Fred Aldridge was also a state championship winning coach on the basketball court for the Patriots.

Steve Edwards Jr. is in his 26th season as the head coach for GW, who plays its home games at Steve Edwards Sr. Field, named in honor of his father.

Steve Jr. was both a football and basketball standout during the years in which Aldridge, who later became an assistant principal at Ripley and then principal at Ravenswood, was a Patriot coach.

ON THE SIDELINES II: Former Ravenswood kicker Nathan Cunningham is one of the athletic trainers for Point Pleasant’s football program.

Cunningham shares the duties with Gabe Roush, who is the son-in-law of Point Pleasant head coach Dave Darst.

The former Red Devil is enjoying a season at Point in which the football program is celebrating its 100th year.

Speaking of kickers, Ellie Wood is in her senior season handling those duties and is one of the best around. Wood’s father, Chip, is not only the school’s head soccer coach but is a former teacher in Jackson County.