We need one … actually, we need several.

The Roanoke Rampage is licking some wounds today. Yesterday was our opening game of the 2011 season and it didn’t go well … not for Roanoke anyway.

We played the Chicago Fire Department .. The Chicago Blaze. These guys have their stuff together!

To save a little money on the flight, they flew into NC and drove to Roanoke in rental vans. Andrew and I met em at the hotel to make sure they arrived safely, without incident and got settled in.

Andrew got the team over to our practice field for a couple hours and then I met back up with them for a quick bite to eat.

The brought 7 vans … 70 people.. players, coaches plus a few wives / girlfriends etc!

70 people to an away game …. WOW!

They seemed like a pretty cool bunch. One neat thing about this team is that they are 100% firefighters. The Police Department in Chicago has their own and separate team. Must be nice.

Our team is consists of members from at least 10 different departments. If you added all of those departments together, we probably still wouldn’t have as many members as they do.

Rhett even made it out for a while and everyone seemed to have a good time. Their coaches imposed a 11pm curfew so their night ended early.

That was pretty good forward thinking because they were at 100% on game day. The weather was perfect and about 650 fans showed up for the game.

They “whooped up” on us pretty good…. figuratively and literally.

The final score was 35 / 0. Yea ZERO and we had 5 players hurt. A couple with season ending injuries.

Our Defence Captain and starting linebacker Brad Harris ruined his knee early in the game. My understanding is that he got both the ACL and MCL and has already been scheduled for surgery. His playing days are for sure over but I’d bet money that we’ll have him on the sidelines as soon as he’s able.

We also lost our QB Jarome Hardee to an ankle injury. Word on the street is that he wont return either.

Our biggest running back Kareem Thompson was also benched with an ankle while 1st year player Brooks went out with a knee.

The good news is that these guys will heal.

 At the end of the game, all aggression etc is left on the field ans both teams are once again Brothers who had just fought for charity.

League rules dictate that the Home Team host an after party / dinner for the visitors.

C-Shift Brother JJ Price has a catering company on his days off so he prepared plenty of pulled BBQ pork, cole slaw, baked beans and desert. We also had plenty of cold beverages on hand and once again Chicago seemed to enjoy the hospitality.

Good friend and past council member Bev Fitzpatrick allowed us to have the event down at the Transportation Museum. It worked out nice because our Union Hall wouldn’t have held that many people.

Our Fallen Firefighter Memorial is on this site and it also allowed Chicago to see some of our history.

Again, I think it turned out nice and that Chicago was grateful.

The other neat thing about the Museum is that they have all kinds of stuff on display for the kids. Not only do we play for charity, we are also family oriented.

The Buckaroo was just one of the children in attendance and all of them had a BLAST.

Trains, vintage automobiles, wagons, antique fire equipment …. the Va. Museum of Transportation has a little of everything.

The Buckaroo sat on or in each piece…LOL

He also shook hands and made friends with each member of the Chicago team.

Thanks to JJ and his crew for a great meal. Thanks to Bev for giving us a place to host all the Chicago members and to all the wives / girlfriends etc who pitched in to make the day as positive as possible.

After the dinner, the Chicago crew wanted to head downtown to celebrate their win …and  who wouldn’t.

I escorted em down to a local watering hole to finish out the evening. Again, they had a BLAST.

Captain Wines and the Chicago gals

Even their wives seemed to really enjoy the trip. I “got in good” with the women folk from the moment we met. When they arrived at the hotel, the women’s personal bags (suitcases) were even larger than the players equipment bags. There they were, traveling with 60 some huge football players and it took a 130lb redneck from Va to offer to carry their bags…LOL

I don’t think they’re accustomed to “southern hospitality”. Apparently, the way we say “yes mamn” and “no mamn” is music to a Chicago Gals ear …LOL

They were a great bunch of ladies and fun to hang with.

I guess, in the end; we represented ourselves very well (despite the loss on the field). I’ve said it in last years post … just the fact that we put on the pads and take the field is a win. Our charities are so worth while that any and all effort towards them is positive.

Thanks to Chicago for making the trip and to all the fans who took to the stands. Our next game is here at home against South Carolina … I’ll have more details soon.

I’ll check back in with ya tomorrow before Rhett and I head out for FDIC on Tuesday.

Until then, stay safe and in house!

Captain Wines