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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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Twenty Years Ago Today: The Day The NASCAR Music Died

Don McLean once wrote a masterpiece of a song called “American Pie,” where it spoke of “the day the music died.”

For NASCAR fans, the day the music died was 20 years ago today, when Dale Earnhardt was killed in a last-lap wreck at the Daytona 500. Fans didn’t know how bad the wreck was at first, but I immediately noticed a fear in the voice of broadcaster Darrell Waltrip, as veteran racers know when a wreck is really bad.

A few hours later, Mike Helton stood in front of a podium and emotionally announced that No. 3 was gone.

Twenty years later I’m not sure what I find harder to believe: That he’s been gone for two decades, or that two entire generations of fans have grown up never seeing him race. As is the case with all famous people once they pass away, anecdotal memories tend to make that person larger than life, almost mythical by comparison to ordinary people.

That’s certainly been done with Earnhardt, but he was never an easy one to label. He was at times a simple man that was easy to understand, at times quite complex. He WAS an intimidator, both on and off the track, and at least during the 5 years I covered racing in the early 1980s, could be either the nicest guy you’d ever meet, or one tough customer, depending on his mood.

One guy who had a front row seat for all this was Dave Fulton, who was the Manager for Wrangler NASCAR Special Events. I met Dave through Twitter, we’re both story tellers, and over the years it seemed like our stories overlayed each other’s to the point I’m now of the opinion we were in the same place something like 117 times, yet never met. We knew the same people, watched the same events, arrived at the same conclusions. We just weren’t aware of each other.

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Doughty On UVA Basketball: What Did Loss To FSU Mean?

What is one to make of Virginia's 21-point men's basketball loss at Florida State on Monday?

The first thing that came to mind was a resemblance to a Dec. 26 meeting with then-No. 1 Gonzaga, which blasted the Cavaliers 98-75 in Fort Worth, Texas.

As worriesome as that might have been at the time, the Cavaliers won their next seven games and 11 of the next 12.

Virginia customarily ranks among the men's basketball leaders in scoring defense and, two nights before the FSU game, had shut down North Carolina in a 60-48 romp at John Paul Jones Arena.

Freshman Walker Kessler had a team-high nine points for Carolina, which failed to have a single player score in double figures in a game for the first time since 1966, a 54-year span.

Who would have predicted, two nights later, that Virginia would fall 81-60 at Florida State?

Actually, Florida State was a 2 1/2-point favorite and now has won 11 of its last 12 games with the Cavaliers in Tallahassee, Fla.

Whenever the teams play, the head coaches -- UVa's Tony Bennett and Florida State's Leonard Hamilton -- invariably go out of their way to praise each other.

"We have the utmost respect for Virginia and their outstanding coach; he's one of the best in the country," Hamilton said. "Look what they've done in the ACC over the past five years; they've won more games than anybody.

"They have set the standard that now everyone in the ACC is being judged at. Us realizing we've stubbed our toe a couple times [against UVa] reminded us that we had to be at our very best. Our challenge now is seeing how close we can come to maintaining this."

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Recent comment in this post
Dave Fulton

Not Unexpected

Based on this past decade, Hoos having a tough go in Tallahassee was not unexpected.
Wednesday, 17 February 2021 18:33
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Florida State Game Postponed, Hokies Still Waiting To Play

Earlier this week, I wrote a story about all the cancellations in the Virginia Tech basketball program, saying the Hokies would go 10 days between games. I did, however, add this disclaimer: “There is no guarantee 10 days will be all the delay there is, as the next opponent is North Carolina, which has had issues of its own. Then the next game is against Florida State, which started the string of postponements."

You may now call me Nostradamus.

Sure enough, the North Carolina game was postponed, and now today, the ACC has announced the postponement of Saturday’s game with Florida State. Since the team hasn’t played since Feb. 6, this means there will be at least a 17-day break, as the next scheduled game is a home game with Georgia Tech on Feb. 23.

Saturday’s Clemson-Pittsburgh game has also been postponed, so instead of these two games, Florida State will now play at Pitt at 4 PM Saturday. Additionally, the North Carolina at Boston College game for next Tuesday has also been postponed.

The ACC said in a statement on its website that “The postponements follow positive tests, subsequent quarantining, and contact tracing within the Virginia Tech, Clemson and Boston College men’s basketball programs. The teams are adhering to the outlined protocols within the ACC Medical Advisory Group report.”

So once again it’s hurry up and wait for the Hokies. I doubt any of these postponed games will be played, meaning Virginia Tech won’t face Florida State at all this season unless it’s in the ACC Tournament.

 

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With Maggie The WonderBeagle, You Snooze, You Lose

There is a game that goes on every day in my house.

It involves wherever you are sitting. And Maggie the WonderBeagle.

Most dogs I’ve had are quick to jump up on furniture, so that’s nothing new. Previous dogs in my house weren’t even allowed to do that, as a wonderful Black Lab I had for 12 years named Butch used to make it an art form to sneak up on a sofa when no one was looking. It was his few minutes of heaven until Dad came into the room and asked “what do you think you’re doing?”

Just as we spoil our grandchildren and let them get away with things we never let our children do, the same happens with dogs as we grow older. Maggie has never given it a second thought about whether it’s OK to get up on furniture. She just assumes it comes with her ownership of the house.

But even that’s not enough.

To Maggie, she doesn’t just want to sit on the sofa. She wants to sit in YOUR seat on the sofa.

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Recent Comments
Bonnie Sumner

Time

Dave, Thank you for the reminder about how fast time passes and how our dear pups age quickly, too. Happy to see Maggie!... Read More
Wednesday, 17 February 2021 11:26
Dave Scarangella

It's the single biggest differ...

Maybe its just a function of old age. But all my dogs have lived to at least 12 years or longer, and at their end, I've just wante... Read More
Wednesday, 17 February 2021 12:19
Dave Fulton

Same time next week

Does Maggie ever bark out the plot in the Hallmark movie when she notices in first 2 minutes a childhood girlfriend & boyfriend ba... Read More
Wednesday, 17 February 2021 13:22
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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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Everyone Always Seems To Forget The Value Of The Stage

Yesterday, Jalen Johnson decided to opt out from playing the rest of the season at Duke, and with the decision came the predictable firestorm on social media.

Every time a player decides to do something in his or her own best interests, you see this. On one side are the people demanding players get paid. Words like “exploited” are thrown around like snowballs in Texas these days, as they almost froth at the mouth insisting the school is making millions while not giving the player a single red cent.

On the other side are those who proclaim that the player is indeed getting just compensation, documenting the value of the tuition, room and board, books, etc., usually adding how big a burden they are experiencing providing that same benefit for their own child.

Both sides have points that deserve merit, both sides make points that don’t.

I’m somewhere in the middle because I think both sides miss the point of where the true value is in this equation.

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Recent Comments
Dave Fulton

Mailman

Then there was Petersburg, Virginia's Moses "Mailman" Malone who elected to go straight from high school to the Show.
Tuesday, 16 February 2021 18:01
Dave Scarangella

Lefty signed him to go to Mary...

Supposedly he was given a summer job (like many were back in those days) to guard the gym, then got offered a nice sum of money to... Read More
Tuesday, 16 February 2021 18:21
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I Like The Hiring Of Jon Tenuta. I Like It A Lot.

I like the hire today of Jon Tenuta as Virginia Tech’s senior defensive analyst.

In fact, the more I think about it, the more I really like it.

It fills a need Justin Fuente has had on the defensive side of the ball, and Tenuta has all the skills and experience necessary. Fuente has hired quite a few young, up and coming former players to defensive coaching positions, but they were missing that old soul, Charley Wiles-type of coach who had been doing it for a long time and always had a hidden trick up his sleeve.

Tenuta is that and more. He’s 63, been coaching for over 40 years, and has held positions at enough schools you could put them all together and have a super conference. He played at Virginia, but he’s held every defensive coaching position there is, been at places like Ohio State, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Notre Dame, and was even the interim head coach at Georgia Tech.

He’s been there and done that.

He looks like he has the potential to add the same sort of flavor to the mix that Jerry Kill did during his time as a consultant to the Hokies. He also has a special factor going for him that really makes me bullish on this hire, and has nothing to do with his experience.

It's that he already knows this team, as his son, Luke, is a rising redshirt junior who has started the last two years at right tackle for the Hokies.

Coaching a team or managing an organization where you child is involved, I’ve found, tends to add an interesting wrinkle to the job. You don’t want father managing son, because that’s a no-win situation where favoritism is suspected even when you tell the son “good morning.”

But in an arms-length situation like this, it’s a bonus. Tenuta has probably already watched every Virginia Tech game of the last two years because of Luke. Probably more than once, in fact, because that’s what Dads do. He is coming into this situation from Cincinnati probably already knowing as much about how the Hokies play as he did with the Bearcats.

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Happy For McDowell, But Not Happy For Racing's Priorities

Yesterday’s Daytona 500 certainly had some exciting moments, and if you’re a long-time fan of the sport, you can’t help but be happy for journeyman Michael McDowell winning the event.

But if you took a moment and compared memories of a Daytona 500 25 years ago to last night’s race, you’d probably have to ask a certain question.

Something along the lines of “what are these guys doing?”

Twenty-five years ago, you’d remember an exciting race run in bright sunshine that came down to a dramatic finish. You’d know most of the drivers in the field and the race would start at a convenient time and end at one. You’d know what was going on, and know what to expect.

Sunday, it was run in a window almost guaranteed for a rain delay, with a field of drivers many casual fans were unfamiliar with, then delayed (without any real updates) until after 9 PM, before finishing at 12:20 AM where the winner did not race back to the start-finish line on the final lap.

Not exactly similar.

I’m not a motorhead like many of my other racing friends, but after being introduced to the sport 40 years ago, I have viewed the Daytona 500 the way NASCAR wants everybody to look at it: it is the sport’s Super Bowl. Because of the sport’s Southern roots, for years we’d always go get a bucket of chicken, mashed potatoes, cole slaw and biscuits, eat lunch while they were doing the flyovers and other festivities a little after noon, then watch the race when it went green flag at 1 PM.

You’d then spend the afternoon watching familiar faces with several intriguing story lines, and because of the nature of superspeedways, there would always be a tight finish filled with emotions. Like Earnhardt finally winning the race after 20 tries. Or Ned Jarrett, urging his son Dale on from the broadcast booth to win his first.

You’d turn off the television and think “man, what a race.”

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Recent Comments
Guest — Johnny Hurst

Agree smh...

NASCAR lost me several years ago when prices skyrocketed into the stratosphere. I had attended the spring races at Bristol and Mar... Read More
Monday, 15 February 2021 10:03
Dave Scarangella

It's like NASCAR doesn't belie...

And I understand the power of television. But this wasn't the ACME Rent-To-Own 500. This was the Daytona freaking 500. You don't s... Read More
Monday, 15 February 2021 12:41
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UNC Didn't Have A Scorer In Double Digits In UVA Win

Although Virginia has engaged in some low-scoring affairs during Tony Bennett's 12 seasons as men's basketball coach, it was the Cavaliers' opponent that had the statistic of the day Saturday.

In a 60-48 loss to the Cavaliers, UNC did not have a single double-figure scorer.

That hadn't happened since 1966, when  an overmatched Duke team held the ball against North Carolina in an ACC Tournament game, won by the Blue Devils 21-20.

That game was played without a shot clock,

Carolina's leading scorer Saturday was freshman Walker Kessler with nine points off the bench, followed by eight points from starter Kerwin Walton with eight.

Carolina's starters combined for 24 points. Virginia's starters had 52 points. The Cavaliers were 10-of-22 from behind the 3-point arc and UNC was 2-for-16.

UVa frontcourt players Sam Hauser and Jay Huff were a combined 7-of-11 on 3-pointers.

"We don't have a four and five man on the Blue [reserve] team that can go out there and make all those shots like they did," said Carolina coach Roy Williams, whose Tar Heels have lost the last seven games in the series.

It wasn't a two-man show for the Cavaliers. Freshman guard Reeve Beekman had an unusual stat line of seven assists, eight rebounds, one block and one steal, and Trey Murphy was 4-of-5 from the field and finished with 12 points.

"Coming from a high school, where you are the man and you can do anything, it's a big transition coming to a team like this," Beekman told reporters in a postgame Zoom opportunity

it was the fourth win in a row for ninth-ranked Virginia (15-3, 11-1 ACC) as unranked Niorth Carolina fell to 12--7 and 7-5.

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Another Basketball Game Postponed For Virginia Tech

Well, that didn’t take long.

This morning, in talking about the 10-day break between Virginia Tech’s last basketball game and when the next one was scheduled due to COVID issues, I mentioned there was no guarantee that the delay would only be 10 days, as other COVID issues could arise.

Turns out they did, as The Atlantic Coast Conference announced today that the Virginia Tech at North Carolina men's basketball game scheduled for Tuesday, February 16 has been postponed. 
 
According to a two-paragraph statement on the league’s website, the postponement follows a positive test, subsequent quarantining, and contact tracing within the Virginia Tech men's basketball program. The team is adhering to the outlined protocols within the ACC Medical Advisory Group report, the statement said.

So now, the earliest the team could player would be a Feb. 20 game at Florida State, two full weeks after the last time the Hokies played, a Feb. 6 overtime win over Miami.

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With Hokie Basketball, The Waiting Is The Hardest Part

I’m  beginning to think that the Virginia Tech basketball team is really an NHL hockey team, and we’ve just gotten to the point of the season where they take a month off to go participate in the Olympics.

Today will be the second straight postponement for the Hokies, as opponents have had issues with COVID, setting up a minimum of 10 days before the last game and the next scheduled one. There is no guarantee 10 days will be all the delay there is, as the next opponent is North Carolina, which has had issues of its own. Then the next game is against Florida State, which started the string of postponements.

It’s as if the Hokies need to go out and buy a truckload of Snickers, since it would appear they’re not going anywhere for a while.

There is one school of thought that believes this could be a good thing. It can be like a bye week (or two) in football, where players can use the extra time to get healthy. Cordell Pemsl had not been available with back issues, Jalen Cone was in a walking boot after the last game against Miami, and John Okiako – who has bulked up significantly since last year, and in a good way – has been slowed by a knee injury. All those can improve with rest, something you can’t do in a season where you’re playing every 3 or 4 days.

Then there is the case of Tyrece Radford, who has been serving an indefinite suspension for DUI and a gun charge. The word around Blacksburg is that the matter is going to be settled sooner than later now that there was a plea agreement on the DUI charge (he was found guilty), and the judge placed the gun charge in advisement for a year. He could dismiss that charge at the end of that period if Radford shows good behavior.

The rest is now up to Virginia Tech, meaning it’s possible he will either never play another game in Blacksburg, or could be back in the lineup the next time the Hokies play.

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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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