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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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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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After Six Weeks In The Desert, It Was Finally Nice To See Live Sports

Last night’s NFL Draft was much like a starving man entering a fast food joint. It wasn’t great, but when you’ve done without for so long, anything available is still pretty daggone good.

For the first time since March 12, we didn’t have to watch a rerun of some sporting event played 14 years ago. There was actually something sports-related on television where the final chapter had not been written, and we got to ride along with the ending page by page.

Not all of it was good. As you’d expect, ESPN had way too many people on its virtual broadcast, and some of them never have anything to say worth listening to in the first place. The verbally clumsy Booger McFarland, for example, started off the broadcast saying “I just want everybody to have fun tonight,” displaying the wit and insight you usually get from a cashier at the grocery store.

Note to Booger: We don’t care who has fun. We’ve been caged in our homes for 6 weeks without sports. Tonight, it’s about us. We don’t care if it seems selfish. Entertain us.

By entertaining, of course, we mean make some picks. Or trades. Show us some intrigue. Let us watch something we don’t know is going to happen.

Which ESPN didn’t do in the first half hour. Cincinnati has been on the clock longer than everybody in the state combined has waited to buy toilet paper, and even my dog Maggie knew they were going to pick Joe Burrow. But ESPN milked all the time they could out of telling Joe Burrow’s story, saluting health care workers and adding a melodramatic flavor to the broadcast to the point I was expecting us all to break out into “We Are The World.” If time allowed, an encore of Kumbaya was a distinct possibility.

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It's Hard To Believe, But Only Three Years Ago...

That the Washington Redskins hit rock bottom as a franchise Sunday came as little surprise, as they have seemed to be executing a plan to get there over the last few years.

But the speed in which they did it is still amazing.

Think about it: Just a little less than three years ago, the team had won the NFC East. The team had gone 9-7, finished the regular season with 4 straight wins, and 5 of their last 6 to win the division. They had a sharp young offensive coordinator in Sean McVay, and the fruits of his hard work and imagination were obvious: QB Kirk Cousins threw for over 4,000 yards, the running back committee of Alfred Morris, Matt Jones and Chris Thompson rushed for 1,457 yards. There were dangerous receivers in Jamison Crowder, Pierre Garcon, Jordan Reed and DeSean Jackson.

The team had weapons. It was entertaining to watch. And despite the loss to Green Bay in the first round of the playoffs, the future looked bright for the Redskins. They had to shore up defensive issues, but they had an offense that seemed as if it could score on anyone.

That was only three short years ago. Compare it to what was on the field yesterday.

Yes, you can point to injuries and bad luck and all sorts of reasons to rationalize being down 40-0 to a 4- win team and losing your fourth game in a row on your way to a 6-10 record. But that’s the nature of the game. A lot of teams encounter this without having a weekly search to see who can be found on the streets to be your starting quarterback.

It’s managerial malfeasance to fall this far in so short a period of time. Consider, if you will, if the team had just made these five moves in the last three years. Then tell me where you think the team would be today:

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Recent comment in this post
Guest — Bruce (@brm90)

Mediocrity? No, Misery.

The rare periods of success were only blips on the sustained period of misery that marks the Dan Snyder regime.
Tuesday, 11 December 2018 08:46
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It May Be Dallas Week, But Rivalry Rode Off Into The Sunset Long Ago

Today the Washington Redskins play the Dallas Cowboys. Commercials are hyping the game as if it's a really big deal.

CBS has moved the game to the 4:25 window so most of the nation can see it. I’ve heard Dan Snyder is manipulating the ticket availability so he can squeeze one more drop of blood from every stone called a “Washington Redskins Fan.” TV and radio are playing clips from years past to remind everyone how intense the rivalry has been, and how important the game should be.

Only problem is, it’s not.

I mean, it certainly was at one time. George Allen hated the Cowboys and circled the dates of the games on the calendar every season. Year after year, all of us got tired of just missing the playoffs because the Redskins couldn’t figure out how to get around those guys with the Big Blue Star. Joe Gibbs planned for months in the offseason how to beat "America's Team."

But that was a long, long time ago.

The clip that plays the most when the wizards of television take us back in time on these nostalgic journeys is the one involving the fans at RFK, bouncing up and down, going crazy, and chanting “We Want Dallas.” That was in 1982.

36 years ago.

The days of Roger Staubach breaking our hearts, Clint Longley ruining our Thanksgiving dinner,  Daryl Grant creating what felt like an earthquake at RFK when the crowd exploded as he intercepted a tipped pass by Gary Hogeboom and returned it for a touchdown…those all happened in the same time frame or earlier.

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I'm Pulling For RGIII, But Not Because He's A Football Player

 

 

I have read with interest the news of Robert Griffin III signing with the Baltimore Ravens, because regardless of his missteps both on and off the field over the years, I like the guy.

His time with the Redskins were both amazing and frustrating, as he may end up being the most polarizing athlete to ever play in D.C. To fans that liked him, he could do no wrong; any other player who took playing time from RGIII – mainly Kirk Cousins – they gave zero credit to.

Perhaps it’s just the way things are in the current electronic village known as social media, but when there was the battle of Sam or Sonny for Redskins QB in the 70s, you liked one or the other; you were not required to like one and absolutely hate the other. But that was RGIII vs. KC in Washington.

I have always been in the camp of liking whoever makes plays and wins games, so I liked RGIII in 2012, and liked Cousins in subsequent years. But my reasons for really liking the Ravens giving Griffin a chance has nothing to do with either of those occurrences.

It has more to do with a warm October Friday night here in Ashburn (there's a fantastic picture of that evening above the headline by Marianne Thiede). Broad Run was playing a high school football game, and there was an event going on for breast cancer awareness called “Pink’d.” Griffin’s popularity was soaring, so students at Broad Run tweeted at him heavily asking that he make the short drive from Redskins Park over to Ashburn Road for the event. They even had a “Pink’d” T-shirt ready and waiting for him.

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Super User
My wife Becky, ran into him and his wife in Chesterfield Town Center mall. He had his hoodie up over his head obviously trying to... Read More
Monday, 09 April 2018 07:41
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These Are Not Autographs You Will See For Sale On Ebay

Yesterday, I wrote a piece about Mitchell Gold, and in it I mention that I ended up getting a chair autographed by both Mitchell AND his dog. Some found that a little unusual.

“That’s not the only thing unusual about my Dad,” would be my daughter’s response.

But I will grant you that I do look at the whole autograph deal a little different than most. I have some sports memorabilia – an autographed picture of Julius Erving in a Virginia Squires jersey, a throwback Redskins helmet (the gold one with the big “R”) signed by Sonny Jurgensen, and a Virginia Tech helmet signed by Frank Beamer and Michael Vick.

The first one I ever pursued was Erving. I grew up in Norfolk watching the brief tenure of pro basketball in the area, and Erving was amazing. At the same time, Jurgensen was the quarterback for the Redskins, and at the age of 13, I thought he was the best quarterback of all time (still do, for that matter).

But it was Erving who soured me on any further sports hero worship. Later in life in the late 1990s, a great friend and business partner knew one of the then-minority owners of the Orlando Magic, and Erving worked for the team at the time. My friend and I were in Orlando, so he arranged for us to get tickets to the Magic game that night and meet my childhood idol.

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Ovechkin May End Up Being Snyder's Worst Nightmare

If you have followed the antics of Alex Ovechkin, his teammates and the Stanley Cup since they all landed at Dulles Friday, you’d have to think this group is Dan Snyder’s worst nightmare.

I’m not saying everyone is now going to stop following pro football and embrace hockey. The fanbase for that franchise is deep and isn’t going anywhere immediately.

But that fanbase is old. It’s my generation that has a closet filled with Redskins jerseys and will follow them until they die. The younger generation that has just gotten out of college does not have that loyalty. They don’t seem to be going to live sporting events as evidenced by more and more empty seats around the country. The value for high-priced tickets to any team’s games, much less one that isn’t all that much fun to follow come playoff time, just doesn’t seem to be there.

Then these guys come along. Watching Ovi and company is like watching a bunch of modern-day Beatles remaking “A Hard Day’s Night.” Heck, as hard as these guys are going at it, they could call it “A Hard Day’s WEEK.”

They are becoming folk heroes in front of our very eyes. First, they win the Stanley Cup. Then they take the Cup all over Las Vegas like a group of guys who are maniacs on a mission. They make the movie “The Hangover” look tame, and I figured no one can go at that pace two days in a row. They’ll calm down when they get home, logic dictated.

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How Do You Build A Brand This Powerful...Then Lose It?

Many years ago, I was part of the management team of a furniture company called Thomasville. We were enjoying a hot streak, as our products were much in demand, we had one of the best-known brands in the industry, and just about everybody wanted to be one of dealers.

This put us in the enviable position of not really having to sell. People came to us, we decided who we wanted to do business with, and we said no about as much as we said yes. If we said yes to you, you loved us. If we said no, people called us arrogant, cocky and many times words much rougher than that.

As the industry consolidated, we ended up being purchased by another comglomerate. The new chairman of the organization came to visit us one day and blistered us. He dealt with many of the dealers we wouldn’t sell, so he gathered us together to tell us we were arrogant, entitled and lucky we were on a hot streak. “This won’t last forever” he told us. “When it stops, people will not forget.”

He, of course, was right. He could have also been talking that day about the Washington Redskins.

If he had, today was the day you really knew the streak was over. And people did indeed not forget.

Don’t get me wrong, the team has been bad for a long time. The fan experience has been bad even longer, lasting a period of time that is coincidentally the same length of time Dan Snyder has owned the team. But during all those previous years, there had been so much momentum in the Redskins brand, you never worried about selling out on opening day. You’d have sparse crowds later in the year when the weather was bad and the team’s record was worse.

But never on the first home football game of the season.

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