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Thanks for joining us! We write about sports, food, life and anything else interesting here in Ashburn and Loudoun County, all while cramming as many features into the site as possible.

Our staff consists of one old man and a dog named Maggie The WonderBeagle. Want to know more? Click on the icon below:

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Baltimore Apparently Has No Chance; You Hate To See It :)

It’s been a busy day, as I’ve been running around to grocery stores to stock up, since the local weather people are saying Thursday we could have anywhere between 2 and 103 inches of snow and ice.

Nice job of nailing that forecast down with precision, guys.

So as I'm catching up on what I’ve missed this afternoon, I came across a graphic from the good people at Fangraphs rating every Major League Baseball team’s postseason odds. At this time of the year, common wisdom has said, everyone has a chance. Everyone’s 0-0. Hope springs eternal.

Except if you’re a fan of the Baltimore Orioles.

Their chances are listed at 0.0 percent. Senator John Blutarsky’s GPA in Animal House. The membership fees on a Discover Card. Nada. Zilch. Nothing. You know that meme that says “So you’re saying there’s a chance?” They’re not. They are saying you have NO chance.

This may have brought a smile to my face. You see, if you don’t live up here in the Northern Virginia/DC/Maryland area, you may not be aware of the “special” relationship between fans of Washington and Baltimore professional teams. It’s a nice way of saying Baltimore fans can be one colossal pain in the backside to Washington fans, never just being happy with their own success. They’ve got to make sure you know about it, whether you want to or not.

Over the years if I post something good about how the artists formerly know as the Washington Redskins are doing, I can count on at least two fans from Baltimore telling me how much better the Ravens are doing. When the Nationals won the World Series, they jumped in my feeds to make sure you knew that all Nationals fans were at one time Orioles fans and were just front runners without any real character who abandoned the O’s for the Nats.

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Rest In Peace, Marty Schottenheimer

I was saddened to learn today of Marty Schottenheimer’s passing. Was even more saddened to see some in the media focus their stories not so much on a successful, regimented teacher of the game, but instead shining the light on his 5-13 record in the playoffs.

That’s not fair.

Schottenheimer passed away yesterday from the effects of Alzheimer’s disease while in hospice care, and if you’ve ever watched a family member deal with that, well, you know that’s not fair either.

Schottenheimer was an old-school coach who insisted on rugged defense, a Vince Lombardi-type running game, and doing things the way he taught them. No one was immune to it, either, as he even once critiqued Darrell Green’s way of returning punts, despite Green being an all pro and student of the game.

With his passing, I remember the day with Green, the straw hat he wore in practice (I even went out and bought a replica and called it the “Marty” hat, and my initial belief that when he came to Washington, the game may have passed him by. All this attention to detail and strict views on conformance to how he viewed football, I thought at the time, won’t work any more.

Then it did.

The Redskins started off 0-5, his coaching ways were mocked, and folks wondered for the first of many occasions if Dan Snyder had a clue. He had, after all, fired Norv Turner in the middle of an 8-8 season, one year after going 10-6, then winning a playoff game against Detroit before losing the division final to Tampa.

8-8 may not have been great, we all thought at the time, but it beat the heck out of 0-5.

Marty never wavered in insisting his plan would work. He had bounced Jeff George a couple of weeks into the season and was willing to rely on a tough defense, Tony Banks at QB, and a belief in the players he had.

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Sun Is Shining A Little Brighter In Ashburn, Thanks To Riverboat Ron

It’s cold and gray outside this morning. It’s going to get colder. There’s even suppose to be a foot of snow on the ground by the end of the weekend.

Something, I thought, needs to happen to brighten the day.

That “something” turned out to be the Rivera family announcing the best news I think anyone could hear: “Thank you all for the love and prayers,” Washington Coach Ron Rivera’s daughter posted on social media. “Just got off the phone with mom and dad leaving the hospital and @RiverboatRonHC is officially cancer free.”

Two of the greatest words I think you can ever hear put together: Cancer free.

I doubt there are any diseases people think positively about, but when it comes to the most hated of them all, cancer is the one most deserving of burning in the fires of hell. It’s an awful disease that is not some theoretical condition that you read about involving others. It’s personal, and it seems like it ends up touching everyone in some way.

I’ve lost friends to it, I’ve watched my own father battle it, I’ve seen people who have made bad life decisions get it (like by smoking 3 packs of cigarettes a day) and I’ve seen perfectly healthy people who eat right, exercise every day and never touch any of the world’s vices get it.

It transforms the notion of the freedom to do whatever you want into a case where every sentence regarding the future starts with the word “if.” As if it weren’t evil enough in the first place, it also seems to have a nasty habit of taunting people through the ebbs and flows of its attack on the human body.

When my Dad was fighting it, some days we’d hear the cancer had aggressively grown, and he might not be around in a week. Then a few days later we’d hear the treatment had worked, and things looked good. It seemed like it was cancer’s way of saying “don’t take me for granted or I will have to show you who is running this show.”

Which is why I hate cancer so much. Cancer is a jerk. Cancer is perpetually invited to look at the mistletoe hanging from my back belt loop and kiss my backside. Cancer has robbed me of friends I hoped to tell juvenile jokes to and remember the old days with for many years to come.

Cancer sucks.

Because of this, I find myself rejoicing even when it’s a total stranger ringing the bell to tell the world you’ve finished your final treatment. It also signals that person is one tough individual, who has been to the mat with the 800-pound gorilla of medicine, and sent it away crying for it’s mom.

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I Know What It's Like To Be 65 And A Former Sportswriter

Back in 1986, my career took me to High Point, NC, and for the next 14 years I would remain a resident of the Tar Heel state. During that time, the Carolina Panthers (and the Charlotte Hornets, for that matter) came into existence, launching a tug of war for my pro football soul.

A lifelong fan of what was then the Washington Redskins, the newbie in town was hard to ignore. The stadium was only an hour down the road, the area was flooded with Panther merchandise, and they were decent out of the gate, going 7-9 in that first season playing down at Clemson.

When they finished the new stadium in Charlotte (I was at the very first game, an exhibition contest with San Francisco) they were even better, going 12-4, getting good at just the time the Redskins were getting worse.

To say the least, I was torn.

Turns out in looking at today’s news, I didn’t really have to pick one or the other, because it sure is looking like the Washington Football team is becoming the Washington Panthers.

First it was head coach Ron Rivera, who then brought along some players and coaches from Carolina. Today, there are reports he’s chosen former Panthers' GM Marty Hurney as the team’s new general manager, and one of the first things he’ll have to do is decide what to do with the quarterback position.

Anyone want to take a guess where Cam Newton ends up in the offseason?

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I Don't Know The Future, But Last Night Heinicke Had "It"

It may have been the last time we will see the team with no name for many months, but the Washington Football team did accomplish something significant last night.

They were fun to watch. They gave us hope. They might have even found a quarterback.

If so, it will mark an important step for the team, as it has been a constant weakness for this franchise for decades. I don’t care who your favorite team is, if they don’t have a quarterback with “it”, that ability to get in the huddle and against all odds, come to the line of scrimmage and make a big throw when you need it most, your team isn’t going anywhere.

Look back to the glory years of the team called the Washington Redskins. For 8 straight years, it was Joe Theismann. Jay Schroeder held the job for two years with a major Super Bowl assist from Doug Williams, then it was 5 straight years of Mark Rypien. They had stability at the position, so there were guys who knew the offense, inspired confidence the plays would work, and more often than not, got it done.

Last night, they were facing the king of longevity and consistency at QB in Tampa’s Tom Brady. He’s played so long, a graphic during the game informed that he was now older than George Blanda, the previous king of playing forever. The major difference, however, is Tom still looks young enough to play. George always looked like he was in his 80s, had just finished smoking a pack of Lucky Strikes and drinking a 6-pack of Carling Black Label, all while yelling in a raspy voice “come on, let’s line up, I’ve got somewhere to be tonight.”

Because of Brady, I didn’t expect Washington to win, which they didn’t. But I also wasn’t expecting to see Taylor Heinicke shine so bright on the big stage.

He didn’t disappoint. In fact, I might even go as far as to say he convinced me he has “it.”

He reminded everyone that it’s not how strong your arm is or how high you are taken in the draft, it’s your ability to process information, see what you’re facing, and quickly decide where to go with the ball. It has been Alex Smith’s strength, and it’s why even with a beaten and battered body, he still performed better this season than the other QBs on the roster. Knowing where to go with the ball on one leg still trumps having no clue with two.

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Ugly Fades. But There's A Story Here I'll Remember Forever

It’s the morning after. A good night’s sleep has not changed my memories of the Philadelphia-Washington game being one of the ugliest I’ve ever seen where Washington actually wins.

But it was like being young and having a blind date where the date wasn’t very attractive. Then you found out they were rich. And had a private jet. And said “let’s go make some trouble, no matter what it costs.”

Years from now, ugly fades. Great memories, however, last a lifetime, and winning a division title after the things this team has been through certainly qualifies as one heck of a recollection.

I mean, let’s go back to August. The first thing that pops into my mind is the fear the season would never be played. The NFL would start, COVID cases would ramp up, and the whistle would be blown on the rest of the season. Lest you forget, College Football was trying to start its season and games were being postponed every week because of such issues.

Then came a Thursday night in late August where Adam Schefter tweeted out some dreadful news: Head Coach Ron Rivera had been diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma. I have learned over my lifetime to not even think about how deadly cancer can be for fear of not being as positive as I could be while that person puts up the fight of their life.

But I have also learned over my lifetime that cancer turns every plan into “if.” I’ve celebrated many friends beating it. I’ve also been to the funerals of several friends who didn’t. If the season even got to a point where they were playing in December, my fear was Rivera might not be on the sidelines coaching. Everything became reduced to one day at a time.

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Here's To Hoping Haskins Hears The Message Loud And Clear

There is a way to release a player in the NFL.

Then there’s the way Washington just released quarterback Dwayne Haskins.

The way Washington got rid of their 2019 first-round draft choice today just seemed to have a message written all over it. With only one game left in the season, they could have easily just made him inactive for Sunday night’s regular-season finale with Philadelphia. No one would have cared given his performance yesterday, and then he could have been quietly released in the off-season.

But no, Washington wanted this separation to include blunt force trauma. It’s like a couple breaking up and one person wants the world to KNOW what they really thought about the other. They released him with a week to go, and they did it promptly on Monday, less than 24 hours after Sunday’s game ended. Head Coach Ron Rivera was short and to the point about the decision.

"This afternoon I met with Dwayne and informed him that we would be releasing him," Rivera wrote in a statement. "I told him that I believe it benefits both parties that we go our separate ways. We want to thank Dwayne for his contributions these last two seasons and wish him well moving forward."

Notice he didn’t say they met and mutually agreed to part ways. It says clearly Rivera called a meeting and there was no conversation about anything other than him telling Haskins to not let the door hit him in the backside while carrying his stuff to the car.

My experience has been when you say things like that, at least in a corporate setting, the person you’re firing has finally gotten on your very last nerve, exhausted your last thread of patience, and you can’t wait to get that person out of the building.

Maybe that was the case with Rivera.

But he also could be sending a message to two groups of people. One could be his own locker room, where he’s saying there are things we’ll stand for and things we won’t. Haskins may have crossed the line in the “things we won’t” category far too many times, so perhaps Rivera was telling his team he wasn’t kidding around.

Or as many a parent has said, “don’t TRY me.”

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It's Taken A Long Time, But This Time They've Really Done It....

There was a point during the summer when the Washington Redskins dropped their name, their owner was making headlines for scandal, and after 50 years of following the team, I wondered if I could keep being a fan.

The notion was unthinkable if you’ve been around me very long. I fell in love with this team at a very young age after seeing Sonny Jurgensen throw touchdown passes to Charley Taylor, Bobby Mitchell and Jerry Smith while growing up in Norfolk, and it has defined who I am as a sports fan ever since. Sunday afternoons have been sacred ever since, and the people I worked with quickly learned if there was an emergency and the choice was to call me at 2 AM or during a Redskins game, the smart pick was to call me at 2 AM.

My family chuckles now at the story, but back in late 1999, a company with headquarters in Tysons Corner called and offered me the job of being president of one of its divisions. The deciding factor for me was the company’s willingness to let me live in Ashburn, have an office in Tysons Corner, and fly back and forth to Los Angeles (where the division was located). Why Ashburn, the company asked? Because that’s where the Redskins were headquartered.

I’ve lived here in Ashburn for the last 20 years because of that job.

The Dan Snyder years have been mostly bad with occasional rays of sunlight, but they were still the burgundy and gold, and they still had the history of Sonny, Joe Gibbs, the Super Bowl years, etc. that made me keep coming back. Not being a fan seemed like divorcing your spouse of 50 years. They were family and it was until death do us part.

I once even told a friend recently I didn't know if I could keep being a fan and his response was "are you being serious? I mean, you were in sales for most of your life so I can't tell when you're telling the truth."

As I've said many times, I need to make better friends.

But I’ll be honest, dropping the name made it tougher than I thought. Perhaps if they had actually picked another name, it would be different. But the whole “Washington Football Team” just seemed like more of Snyder’s nonsense. Plus he had his marketing minions push how wonderful and refreshing it was to do this in the same manner he has urinated on all of us while telling us it’s just rain as the team craters every year.

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In The Long Run, Rivera May Be Doing Haskins A Favor...

With Dwayne Haskins being demoted from starter to third string of the Nameless Washington Football Team, I’ve read dozens of hot takes on how unfair this is, how it means he’ll never start for the team again, how it’s typical of how confused and dysfunctional the franchise is, etc.

Maybe I’m naïve, but it sure seems like a lot of people just might be missing the point.

Ron Rivera could end up doing him a favor.

Consider, for a moment, Rivera realizes the young QB has not had the benefit of summer practice, exhibition games, etc. He sees Haskins making the same mistakes over and over again and believes when you give a young QB an opportunity to start, he has to do three things: 1. Earn the respect of his teammates; 2. Put in the work to get better; 3. Take chances and make mistakes, but learn from them and grow from the experience.

It would appear No. 3 ain’t happening. And with the definition of insanity being the act of doing the same thing over and over again while expecting the results to be different, Rivera has had enough crazy. So he’s having Haskins sit, putting in a QB who knows the system and will not make the same mistakes over and over again, and perhaps while watching from the sidelines, the light will come on for Haskins.

Watch and learn, they say. I believe if he does he will get another shot this season.

A lot of it is up to Haskins. He has to be as much a leader on the sideline as a 3rd-team QB as he would be as a starter. He has to prepare as if he is going to play each week. He has to be in the team facility watching film and asking questions as if he knows he’s going to get another opportunity.

If not, that will be on him. I’m an old retired businessman and if you ask anyone my age if he’s ever been fired or demoted, fairly or unfairly in their career, the answer is going to be “several times.” For many of us, it’s what fired us up to be successful, as we went from “this is just a job” to “I’ll show them.” The greatest athlete of all time – Michael Jordan – carried a chip on his shoulder the size of an aircraft carrier his entire life to show others they were wrong about him, and he was going to bury them for that disrespect.

Dwayne Haskins now has to do that too.

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It's Time To Stop Looking The Other Way...

I retired from serious, full-time work about 2 years ago. Because I morphed into being a consultant in the autumn of my career, I now take on projects as they become available, but the days of taking on 4 clients at the same time and working 80 hours a week are over for good.

Most people, when they transition to a slower pace, struggle with finding something to do. In my case, I was blessed that “something” came looking for me. And it opened my eyes to something we’re all talking about right now.

The “something” is helping younger people trying to figure out what they want to do with the rest of their lives. When you are a consultant, you work with a group of people at a company for a short period of time, then move on to the next assignment. During that short period of time, you work with a lot of people, make friends, and at times become someone worthy of trust to people you may never see again.

One day, a few weeks after I had completed working with one company, I got an email from one of the people I had met. She was a 30-something single mother, and she was fed up with her working environment. She asked if I could help her find another job, and I guess she was expecting me to say I’d call around. But instead, I did what I have done with others: asked her to print out her current resume, and we met at a nearby coffee shop so I could read her reactions to my suggestions.

It is very common in my experience that young people are very good at documenting what they have done, but overlook positive skills regarding what they are capable of doing. So after reviewing her resume, I started telling her some things I had witnessed her doing at her current job that were very positive and would be a real asset to any company.

She started to cry.

It turned out she had worked for 10 years for a boss who was very good at telling her what she was doing wrong. She had rarely, if ever, been told what she did well. Hearing such positive things kind of momentarily overwhelmed her.

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Nobody Asked Me, But Here's What I'd Do For A New Name

Now that it seems that the name of the Washington professional football team is next on the list of statues to be toppled, I suppose it’s time to start seriously considering what the next name could or should be.

Social media has certainly contributed its share of gag names (for the record I have even suggested they adopt Maggie and call themselves the “Washington WonderBeagles”) but once all that has passed, it will be time to consider a name and logo that can please both longtime and new fans alike.

If they follow two guidelines, I think they can do both.

The first is to pick a name that starts with the letter “R”. By doing so you can change the logo on the helmet to the single "R" Vince Lombardi brought in and remove the feathers. The team still wears burgundy and gold, and the logo is a familiar one that was used for years and has been bought back several times for throwback games. Long time fans would get to see something on the field that doesn't look like a new expansion team.

I even have several hats I’ve acquired over the years with a script “R” in the middle (Joe Gibbs wore ones like these all the time), and they would still work.

The other is also very simple. Pick a name that not only starts with “R” but make sure it is two syllables. This allows you to keep the fight song if you so choose. Just sub out Redskins with any two syllable name that starts with an R and it still works. Long-time fans then have a comfort level of seeing the same colors, a familiar logo, and the same old “Fight for Old DC” they’ve been singing since their teenage years.

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They Finally Did It...

They Did It

After a long and bumpy road, The Washington Nationals finally won the World Series. And made an old man in Ashburn cry...

Never Grow Old...

Never Grow Old

A trip to Spring Training reminded me we're all still kids at heart, and no matter how old, you keep playing until they get you out.

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