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Hook, Line and Sinker

By Tony Hooker
You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em. Know when to fold ‘em.
Know when to walk away and know when to run. 

Ole’ Kenny was on to something wasn’t he? History is littered with stories of those who should have quit when they were ahead.

After the 1809’s War of the Fifth Coalition, Napoleon, the Emperor of France, was on a roll. His victory over Austria had allowed him to expand the French empire greatly. By 1810, the French controlled most of Europe, including the Swiss Confederation, the Confederation of the Rhine, the Duchy of Warsaw and the Kingdom of Italy. He even found a bride, Austrian princess Marie-Louise. 

Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, some of which were quite petty on their surface, the French Emperor made two colossal blunders, including the invasion of Russia, although it was his occupation of the Iberian Peninsula, along with Britain’s actions regarding the continental blockade, that probably were more directly responsible for his downfall Napoleon had twice asked Russian Emperor Alexander I for his sister’s hand in marriage, (First Grand Duchess Catherine, and later 14 year old Anna Pavlova), and twice he had been rebuffed. Russia had also refused to follow some of the tenets of the Treaty of Tilsit, including the continental blockade which was put in place to avoid trade with Great Britain.  Of course, all of this culminated in Napoleon’s great defeat at Waterloo at the hands of the Duke of Wellington in 1815, which not only ended the Napoleonic Wars, but also resulted in the creation of a decadent entrée of pastry wrapped beef tenderloin, now known as Beef Wellington. 

So why did I just spend 300 words discussing the “Game of Thrones” like intrigue that was present in early 19th century Europe, as well as lyrics from perhaps a country icon’s most famous song?

Because like Kenny’s Gambler, and unlike France’s pint-sized emperor, I’ve been thinking that it’s time for me to fold ‘em, as far as continuing to be directly involved in VG Schools extracurricular activities. I’m not, in any way, comparing myself to the Little General, but more to my deciding to quit while I’m ahead. When I was first privileged to be the announcer, I envisioned being there for decades, like the Tuscola’s late MC, the amazing Doug McCumber, who held down his seat from the top of the tower for 43 years. Unfortunately, old age, or old habits, or a combination of the two, made each season successively harder for me to perform at the standard I had set for myself. I would be lying if I said that other factors didn’t come into play but misidentifying a freshman player on a 50+ yard td run made me see at least one thing clearly. It was time to let someone else take over the mic, and I was at peace with that….until this season, when I was approached by Coach Wilson to do stats, and to be frank I would have said no, for many of the same reasons. However, when I found that none of the football parents had stepped up, I caved and told him I would do it, begrudgingly. For those of you who have kids participating in sports. Get involved. Paying the entrance fee isn’t enough. Grill a dog or burger. Run the clock or scoreboard. Grab the mic. Help out. The team needs you. Your kid needs you! Thanks for allowing me this bit of self-indulgence. Now that it’s out there, it will be harder for me to walk it back next season. It’s been an honor to be involved for the past 15 years.

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