Celebrating milestones for Beamer, Phoebus, Hampton

  • Pin It
We celebrate milestone birthdays and anniversaries. We strive for milestone GPAs and salaries.

But nothing does milestones like sports.

Some are seasonal, others career. But the numbers are indelible.

Baseball's 3,000 hits, football's 2,000 yards and basketball's 100 points. Golf's 18 majors, NASCAR's 200 wins and gymnastics' perfect 10.

As we embark upon the 2011 football season, three milestones merit our attention and, regardless of allegiance, our admiration.

Surely Phoebus faithful can salute Hampton High in the wake of the Crabbers' second Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee.

Certainly Hampton fans can return the courtesy and applaud the Phantoms' decade of excellence.

And yes, even the most devoted Virginia partisan can raise a glass to Frank Beamer as he prepares for his 25th season as Virginia Tech's coach.

I know this isn't easy. From the crib, fans learn to obsess over their team AND wish famine and pestilence upon their blood rival.

But these accomplishments transcend crosstown or intrastate feuds.

We'll start with the Hall of Fame, a milestone for any honoree. Chris Hanburger's induction this month furthers a remarkable Peninsula presence that few, if any, locales of our modest size can surpass.

The former Washington Redskins linebacker gives the region four Hall of Famers, joining Warwick High's Henry Jordan, Hampton's Dwight Stephenson and Lafayette's Lawrence Taylor.

John Ellerson, one of Hanburger's Crabbers teammate, recalls when Hanburger arrived at Hampton High in 1957.

"We were all Army brats," Ellerson said in February when Hanburger was elected to the Hall, "and anytime you came into a new community or football team, you had to work your way into the organization and win acceptance. It wasn't like he was welcomed with open arms.

"He was a junior, and the older guys on the team had established their positions. … But he was such a natural. He was so far above the rest of us. As much as you didn't want him to be good, he was."

All of the Peninsula's Hall of Famers played in at least one Super Bowl. Jordan won two with the Green Bay Packers, LT two with the New York Giants. Stephenson's Miami Dolphins lost two, Hanburger's Redskins one.

Similarly, championships and near-misses define Phoebus' dominance during the last 10 years. Not just of the Peninsula District. Of the Virginia High School League's Division 5.

The Phantoms won their first state title in 2001. They've since added a handful.

That's six state championships in 10 years, a VHSL-record 45 consecutive victories, and counting, and a 128-9 record.

  • Pin It