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Welcome!

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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My Advice To The Hokies Would Be "Just Win, Baby"

When it was scheduled, I’m sure Saturday’s Liberty-Virginia Tech game was expected to be a cupcake. An easy W. A breather on the schedule.

Now – although I expect Virginia Tech to win – it could be a turning point in the program.

I mean, think of it. Imagine if somehow Justin Fuente lost to Old Dominion in 2018. Then lost to UVA in 2019 and ended a 15-game winning streak against their state rivals while being the first time Virginia Tech had ever lost to UVA as a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Now imagine completing the hat trick – and losing to Liberty in 2020.

That would be tough for even the most positive of Hokie supporters to swallow.

I don’t expect it to happen. But one of the two teams is ranked in the top 25 and it’s not the boys from Blacksburg. Virginia Tech has better athletes and a high-powered offense. But it also has a defense that makes mistakes and misses assignments, like when they did so with 8 seconds left in the first half against Louisville and Javion Hawkins went 90 yards for a touchdown.

Liberty, conversely, has an offense that is averaging 38 points a game. In it’s last 3 games, it has scored 40, 38 and 56. Against fellow ACC member Syracuse, Liberty handed off to Shedro Louis on one play and he hit the hole quickly, continuing straight up the middle of the field for a 75-yard touchdown. Content to show it was not a fluke, Louis would later do the same thing on a 52-yard touchdown run against the Orange.

I’m not saying he’ll do that against the Hokies. But if there’s confusion by linebackers or in the secondary, Liberty has the weapons to go where you’re not and turn a routine run into a long scoring play. Doesn’t matter if all the teams you beat have only 4 total wins, or how many 4 star athletes you have.

Make a mistake and speed kills. Liberty has it.

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Hokies-Liberty Leads Off Noon College Football Games

I have an old friend who has been telling me for 45 years that if you're not prepared, you're dead.

So since I don't want to see anybody mortally wounded for not properly preparing for a big Saturday of college football watching, here's a list of every game to be played and includes where it will be televised. By my count, every game except one - Western Kentucky at Florida Atlantic - can be seen somewhere.

Here's the list. First part is the noon games, and if you click on "continue reading" you'll see the rest of the list: 

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No Bob, It's About More Than Disney Stock And NFL Football

Today, the details are leaking out involving the layoffs at ESPN. While the network prefaced its initial remarks about the majority being non on-air talent, common sense indicated there would be some big names who would not have their contracts renewed.

If you’re going to do it to save money, it accomplishes little laying off the folks who run errands and get coffee for everyone. Older and higher paid people are always the first to go no matter what the industry.

That’s what is happening now, and I’m sorry to see it happen. I’ve seen it in a lot of industries and even experienced it myself. You wake up one morning and find out it’s apparently illegal to be good at what you do, but over 50 and make a good salary. The fact that you did a great job is irrelevant.

But then I saw a tweet from Bob Ley, a long-time ESPN personality who is very well respected. He said “trying to remain objective and unemotional as I learn of the ESPN members laid off today. Not possible. Not as I see countless decades of journalist experience, and expertise jettisoned. Just when we need it most. Enjoy the DIS stock price and your NFL football.”

While sympathetic, Ley might as well have held up a sign that says “I don’t get it.”

I’d argue that when it comes to sports journalism, the kind being practiced now is needed less than ever. There was a time before every event known to man was televised that you needed an experienced set of eyes on ears at games to not only tell you what happened, but put it all in perspective.

Was it a bench clearing brawl that was completely unwarranted, or were there more subtle things going on? Was it a bad pass by the QB or did the receiver run the wrong route? Was it a foul that cost the home team the game, or was that just an excuse for some other failure in strategy or execution? Was the loss caused by poor coaching or poor recruiting that resulted in less talented players?

Now, however, you get to see every play of every game complete with multiple replays from every angle. You don’t need to be told what happened, you can watch it for yourself and make up your own mind. You can look up all the statistics and watch past games to determine a trend. You can watch the post-game press conferences and hear the answers straight from the coaches’ mouths without anything thing being edited, truncated or otherwise put in a particular context.

You can even express that opinion to the world via a blog, podcast or other self-published entity. Many are doing just that.

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If There Ever Was A Year To Put Up The Tree Early, This Is The One

I will admit, it was not a great idea at first.

My wife and I had decided to put up the Christmas tree on Nov. 1 way back in August. Obviously that’s like a month too soon, but we decided we were tired of the pandemic blues, and any chance to get out of that funk was well worth the effort. Plus, it’s just my wife and I in this big house, so who was going to scoff at us? Maggie the WonderBeagle?

I mean, give her a few treats and she’ll agree with anything you want.

So last Sunday, the materials needed were lugged up from the basement. We build a rather elaborate village under the tree, including trains, miniature buildings, even a ceramic McDonald’s and Krispy Kreme, so the first thing always put down is a piece of fiberboard I had cut many years ago to accommodate all this. The board was put down right after lunch, and by 8 PM, the tree was up.

Not much has happened since. But it has had a pretty significant effect: It has allowed me to get my bearings on what time of year it is.

I’m big on traditions and associate other events with certain holidays. By November, it should be cold. College football should be coming to an end and college basketball should be on its way. The NBA and NHL should be into their new seasons. Things like Black Friday sales should be weeks away.

Heck, by Nov. 6, we should know who won the Nov. 3 election.

But none of that is true. Some conferences in college football just started their seasons. It’s 70 degrees outside right now and my air conditioning is running. The NBA and NHL probably won’t start until 2021. Black Friday sales have become multi-week events that started on Halloween.

The year has felt like one long, continuous, house arrest with all of us trapped in a fog. The traditional seasonal markers – Labor Day picnics, pulling out that sweatshirt for the first time for an early October Hokie football game, seeing adorable kids knock on your door saying “twick or tweet” – none of it happened.

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Since Everyone Else Has A Podcast, Why Not Us Too?

One of the things I’ve wanted for us to do here at DullesDistrict.com is to get into the habit of a weekly podcast. Thought it would just be a natural extension of our writing, and with advances in technology so that interviews can be done with others remotely without sacrificing sound quality, should be a fun thing to do.

So because social media has lost its mind with what’s going on with the election, I decided to take a few hours away from all that and set one up via the good people at Anchor. It can be listened to on their site, and can also be heard via Spotify. As we use the interlocking DD as our logo, it’s name was stolen from Ernest Hemingway’s “The Old Man and The Sea,” only in this case, I’ve swapped DD for sea because it rhymed.

Plus I had no other idea what to call it.

So give it a listen. As I note in the podcast, you have to do a first one to get a start, then grow from there. If I learned anything from this first episode, it's that talking by yourself for 15 minutes is a bit more of an effort that sitting down and writing a 1,000 word story. This initial podcast talks a little about sports journalism and also looks at four key ACC Football games being played this weekend.

The link to Anchor is here. The link for Spotify is here. Within the week, we are hoping to have episodes added to Apple Podcasts so they can also be listened to and subscribed to there.

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Perhaps It's Time To Recalibrate Our Expectations For Hokie Football

­­­­Mornings after a Virginia Tech loss in football are never warm, inviting situations, and last night’s defeat at the hands of Wake Forest is no different.

But this Sunday morning does seem different. Sort of a fork in the road when it comes to the potential of head coach Justin Fuente.

No, not the kind of fork that leads to people gathering up torches and pitchforks to ride him out of town on a rail. Or a hollow pledge to stop watching Hokie sports. Or refrain from donating money to Hokie athletics.

We are who we are as Hokies. My blood type will always be part Chicago Maroon and another part Burnt Orange. For good or bad, I’ve been a Hokie since the first day I walked on the campus as a high school senior in 1973, and will remain one until I draw my last breath.

That’s not going to change.

But last night’s game has caused me to admit I might have been too optimistic about Fuente’s ability to lead the program back to the heights Frank Beamer had scaled in Blacksburg. Doesn’t mean Fuente's a bad coach, as no other coach in Virginia Tech’s program got the team in the top 10 as often or in a national championship game either.

But Fuente has had an issue with discipline with his teams from his very first season. For years, we’ve made excuses, saying he needs more time to get his own players in the program. Or that he needs to get his own coaches. Or it takes time to learn his system. Seems like there’s always a reason that when things go bad, folks believe just being patient for a few more years will solve everything.

But it’s now year 5. These are his players. These are his coaches. And these results – like last night’s loss to Wake Forest – are ultimately on him. For many years, people would say you win championships with good “D”, and they were referring to defense. Now it means discipline, and it’s something that continues to plague Fuente’s teams.

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MASN Will Be Showing Wake-VT at 3:30 Saturday

Just about every time Virginia Tech is scheduled to play on a Regional Sports Network (RSN), it is virtually guaranteed that all week long, people will either ask whose carrying the game in their viewing area, and some will even fret that somehow the game won’t be shown at all where they live.

This week will be no different, as the Hokies’ 3:30 PM game with Wake Forest Saturday is scheduled for an RSN. That usually means NBC Sports Washington, but they are devoting eight hours of programming to “Trackside Live” that Saturday, and their second channel is focusing on the wonderful adventures of kickboxing and MMA that afternoon as well.

Fortunately, this area in Northern Virginia has a second regional sports network, and the people who brought you every minute of the 2019 World Champion Washington Nationals – The Mid Atlantic Sports Network (MASN) - will also be showing Virginia Tech-Wake Forest.

On Comcast/Xfinity, the HD channel is 845. MASN is also channel 640 on Directv, channel 432 on Dish Network and Channel 577 for HD on Verizon Fios.

You’re welcome 😊

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With Apologies To Springsteen, This Team Was Born To Run

It wasn’t the kind of game that left you beating your chest and screaming at the world “See? We’re really good!”

But Virginia Tech’s win over Boston College last night showed a few intriguing statistics that could serve warning that this year’s Hokie team might just break its string of underperforming seasons under Justin Fuente and be surprisingly good.

Everyone knew the defense would be suspect – and it lived up to that billing last night – but there’s also been a hope if the Hokies got the right people in the right seats on the bus on offense, one unit could offset the growing pains of the other and have a special season.

Which is sort of what happened last night.

Fuente – who must have been doing it just to aim a middle finger at me for last week suggesting it was dumb to win the toss yet defer to the second half so that suspect defense could be on the field immediately – did it again last night, and BC obliged, easily moving the ball down the field. Fortunately, they held on to the football as effectively as I exercise, and an early BC fumble prevented VT from starting a game behind. Again.

Enter Hendon Hooker as the rightful starting QB and Khalil Herbert, who Fuente actually remembered to use in the first quarter this week. Those two must have been channeling Bruce Springsteen in the tunnel before the game while humming “We gotta get out while we're young…`Cause tramps like us, baby we were born to run.”

Each carried 18 times. According to Hokiesports.com, Hooker gained 166 yards, averaging 9.1 yards per carry. Herbert gained 146 yards, for 7.9 yards per carry, so that duo had 36 carries and between them averaged 8.7 yards per carry. A dog with a note in his mouth can call plays when you can give the ball to either of two players and you average that kind of yardage.

Which is what gives me such hope about the season. Fuente is allegedly a quarterback whisperer who excels in the passing game. But the strength of this year’s team is a huge, talented offensive line and several great runners, and at times it seems like Fuente resists that gift, wanting to call frequent pass plays, probably because that’s his comfort zone.

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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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Not Sure I Understand What The Hokies Were Doing Against UNC

I suppose it’s just a function of age, but the older I get, the more things I don’t understand. For example, I don’t understand some of the music my daughter likes. Or the appeal of avocado toast. Or why anyone would spend over $1,000 on a cell phone.

Then there’s the Virginia Tech game plan for yesterday’s loss to North Carolina.

Since I've never been a coach, perhaps there are secrets to the coaching fraternity I haven’t been privy to. But going into yesterday’s game, the Hokies seemed to have one big strength and one big weakness which UNC had to deal with. A proper game plan could have and should have accentuated the strength in such a way that it might have covered or at least minimized the weakness.

VT’s game plan didn’t.

The weakness was obviously the defense. That side of the ball has seriously been hit hard by COVID, with depth being so slim, walk-ons were seeing significant playing time. Add to that a change in schemes after long-time defensive coordinator Bud Foster retired, and you had inexperienced players under a new coach in a new scheme against UNC’s explosive offense.

A recipe for disaster.

Common football wisdom would say part of the solution is how you approach the game on offense. Shorten the game with long, time-consuming, run-oriented drives. Do your best to get ahead and possibly force the opponent’s offense to become more one-dimensional while trying to play catchup. Doing so then allows you to blitz more, apply pressure and possibly force a mistake or two. Keep your defense rested in the first half while battering your opponent’s defensive line, and good things can happen in the second half.

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Nothing Finishes A Week Like A Pic Of Fantastic Food...

I’ve decided I need more regular features on this website. They don’t need to be about sports, news or politics, because these days, those topics just make people angry. In fact, the only two things that don’t seem to make people mad these days are puppies and food.

In that spirit, I think every Friday there should be a picture of some outrageous food. It can be called Food Porn Friday, and it will be a picture of something you should walk away thinking “I’d like to have that one day.”

With that in mind, the first weekly winner comes from St. Louis. I have a friend who is doing a good deed this week, driving hundreds of miles to Kentucky, then taking another mutual friend to St. Louis for some medical issues. Having been a road warrior back in the day, I know the most valuable knowledge you can have when traveling is restaurant recommendations from a local. My friend, who I have known most of my life, tends to just try the first place he sees.

I decided to do some research for him. One of the people I follow on Twitter is Dan Buffa (@buffa82) who knows just about everything about sports, restaurants, movies, you name it in St. Louis. So I asked him for some recommendations and he sent back a bunch.

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