Grass grows. Seasons pass. Time flies. Just for a minute, let’s turn the clock back 25 years, to the summer of ‘88. News wise, the pickings were pretty slim.
The state bought the land for Explore Park. Three movie theaters in town refused to show “The Last Temptation of Christ.” A freak storm blew down a tent at the Salem Fair and sent two people to the hospital with broken bones. Roanoke scored its third All-America City Award.
Bigger news than any of the above was happening over at a football practice field in Vinton. A girl tried out for the William Byrd High School football team, and spent a large part of the summer practicing with them.
She was 5 feet 4 inches and 110 pounds, a rising junior. Her name was Jacque (pronounced “Jackie”) Atkins. It appears she was the first girl to try out for a local high school team.
But that was a well-kept secret. It didn’t make the news until later. Even then, the real reason she never played a game didn’t come out.
This week, I heard the rest of the story from Jacque Atkins Womack, class of 1990, and her dad, Roger Atkins, who lives down at Smith Mountain Lake.
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