Hey Jude, What about
By Gary Ruegsegger
Downtowner Senior Editor
Believe it or not, this story
got its start at a Virginia Tech graduation party
for Rachel Copelandthe little girl across
the street that weve known since she was five
and was climbing rock walls on her birthday. She
has wonderful parents and grandparents and a spectacular
set of aunts.
By the way, Rachels grandmother Ann is one
of Uncle Pete Deckers real cousins.
She grew up near Old Dominion in a largely Lebanese
neighborhood. Grandmother Ann is 100% Lebanese by
birth; Grandfather Lewis MegaLew Copeland
is 100% Lebanese by choice. His introduction to
Lebanese culture began with the Easter Day walk
through the neighborhood, but thats another
Ann and Megalew, season ticket holders and accomplished
tailgaters, are two diehard Old Dominion football
fans. They attend every home game and even invite
their son Lew to many of the contests. Needless
to say, theyre also big Virginia Tech fans.
The two have at least three descendants with Virginia
Along with dear Uncle Pete, Megalew and Ann provided
the Lebanese foundation of the Ocean View St. Judes
Rainmakers. For those of you not Catholic, St. Jude
is the patron saint of lost causes. Years before
Paul McCartney wrote Hey Jude, my mother,
with a little help from Rev. John J. Russell, Bishop
of Richmond, bestowed the Confirmation name Jude
on me. She and the bishop must have known something.
The St. Jude Rainmakers started out as a mom, pop
and Uncle Pete team. The mom was Ann LewAnn
Copeland, the pop was MegaLew Copeland
and the Uncle Pete was Norfolks favorite uncle,
Peter G. Decker Jr. Pete confirmed the name St.
Judes Rainmakers and sponsored the team. By
the way, Petes sister Aunt Khaki John even
showed up for the graduation party.
The team started out as the Cubs with Megalew and
LewAnns sweet-swinging baby boy and baseball
hopeful Sweet Lew Copeland filling in
wherever he was needed. Since they were always getting
rained out, Lews grandmother changed the name
from the Cubs to the Rainmakers. She said, We
know its going to rain tomorrow because the
Rainmakers are playing. Thank goodness, the
rest is history.
And that includes Sweet Lews baseball career.
A strikeout here, an error there and an acceptance
letter to Virginia Tech can end a career faster
than a Nolan Ryan fastball. But Lew was quite a
baseball player. His mom was his biggest fanquickly
followed in order by his father, his sisters and
He was always the catcher and he was fearless.
He was too big and nobody could take him out,
remembered his mother LewAnn.
I was the team mother and I loved every minute
of it, she continued. For the record, Lew
wore Triple E shoes. His head was so large that
for football he had to have a specially-ordered
helmet. At least thats according to legend
in Ocean View and Blacksburg.
Hes a good athletehe puts his
heart into it. We had great parent support,
added MegaLew, the assistant coach.
Now most of these events transpired in the 70s,
but some of the records have been preserved in the
family archives or maybe thats memory. As
Oliver Goldsmith once said, O Memory, thou
fond deceiver. One fact is for certain, the
Rainmakers never lost a single game that was rained
Lews late pet fish, Big Daddy, is not talking.
His sister, another Tech grad, flushed "Big
Daddy down the toilet. But the memory of Lews
baseball career is for sure. In fact, according
to many who should know, Lews Little League
performance on the diamond in the 70s is getting
better each year. That's according to Lew of course.
Despite the memories of the Rainmakers and thanks
to the efforts of her mother Vicki, Rachels
graduation party was a huge success. Grandparents
Megalew and Ann, the king and queen, held court
all afternoon and into the evening. Needless to
say, the court jester was also a Virginia Tech fan
and graduate wearing size Triple E shoes.