Earlier this fall Tom Joyce of the Mount Airy News wrote a letter full of vitriol aimed at the Virginia Tech Football team after Joyce’s alma mater James Madison defeated the Hokies, who were playing on five days rest after losing a close game to Boise State. Since that time the team from Virginia Tech has one eleven games in a row that included defeating every team in North Carolina (UNC, NC State, Wake Forest, Duke, and East Carolina) and winning the third ACC Championship in four years and four out of six since joining the league.
Tyrod Taylor, who has won more games than any quarterback in Virginia Tech history, was the ACC Most Valuable Player, Dudley Award Winner for being the best college football player in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Taylor holds almost every passing, rushing, and offensive record for quarterback in the nearly 120-year history of Virginia Tech football. More importantly, he is a model citizen, who spends his time in the community doing service not because of a criminal record (He has never been arrested.), but because that is the person he is. He is just like another ACC Most Valuable Player from Virginia Tech, Brian Randall, who led the Hokies at quarterback to their first ACC Championship. The son of a preacher, Randall was a class act, who never got in trouble and worked in the community. What Joyce and all those jealous of the success in Blacksburg, who talk about thugs and bullies and think Virginia Tech football is only about Vicks is that there is a Brian Randall and Tyrod Taylor for every Vick. There are always two sides to every story.
Frank Beamer, born in Mount Airy, North Carolina, has led the Hokies to eighteen straight bowl games and is the second among active coaches in wins behind only Joe Paterno at Penn State. He has led the Hokies to seven ten win seasons in a row and twelve ten win season since 1995. Frank Beamer also started a literacy program in his mother’s name, which takes money from a “White Out Game” every year that puts books in school libraries throughout Virginia. Beamer’s football team generates millions of dollars in economic benefit and even some for Mount Airy I bet for those who travel on I-77 going back and forth to Blacksburg for home football games. It is hard to imagine that some of those people do not stop in Mount Airy to enjoy the Mayberry effect.
It is human nature and especially for newspapers to focus on the negative of Mike Vick’s problems with the law, but even that has changed this year as Vick has tried to put his life back on track on and off the field with the Philadelphia Eagles. While Vick might be a better player than Taylor or Randall, but he is not a better person, but even that story may have a good ending. Often in lifestyle wins out over substance. Some people believe that playing dress up is a better way to teach history, but they like newspaper reporters, can be wrong.