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If You Bumped Into Your Sports Hero, Would You Recognize Them?

There is a nice thread on Twitter this morning from a guy named Matt Barrows, who had a chance encounter with former Virginia quarterback and Cavalier legend Shawn Moore. If you’re on Twitter, you can follow me @dullesdistrict, or check out the thread by going here.

Matt finds an empty seat at the Denver airport, notices the person next to him is a UVA fan (as he is) and they strike up a conversation about the good old days of UVA football. The stranger asks who the QB was when Matt was a student, and in the course of the conversation Matt goes on and on about the days of Shawn Moore and Herman Moore, who were playing before Matt went to UVA.

At the end of the conversation, the stranger introduces himself, and of course, it’s Moore.

As I posted on Twitter, it seems like 137 years ago when I was watching Shawn play QB for the Martinsville Bulldogs in high school. He’s always been a great person, so the conversation is not surprising. But it did surprise me Barrows did not recognize him. For one, Matt is a sportswriter for The Athletic and covers the San Francisco 49ers, so he should have some idea of what past and present football players look like.

For another, if you’re so fanatical about your college team that you strike up conversations with strangers at airports, you should probably know what Shawn Moore looks like. If they built a Mount Rushmore for UVA football, Shawn is one of the four. He led UVA to it’s only No. 1 ranking in football back in 1990, and has not only been one of the school’s best players in history, but his gentle demeanor has also made him a great ambassador for the Cavaliers.

But to be fair, I first considered the possibilities that someone who met me in college would recognize me now. I dug up an old photo and a current one. You see these side by side to your right. I personally don’t think I’ve changed at all, but my wife and several friends have indicated that the pictures look like people from two different planets.

So I may have to cut Matt some slack.

The thread also reminded me just how much ESPN has changed the landscape when it comes to the recognition of football players. Back when Shawn played, ESPN was not on the air wall to wall broadcasting every aspect of the lives of top players. If you saw somebody play, you saw the game on television – with that player wearing a helmet – and aside from a brief interview of sideline shot, really didn’t get a good look at their face to know what they looked like.

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Will $$$ Buy Happiness In College Football For Northwestern?

I couldn’t help but notice that Northwestern has just built the Taj Mahal of practice facilities on its campus, spending $270 million on something that is pretty incredible. The headline on Pete Thamel's story about it on Yahoo.com says "Move over Clemson, Oregon and Alabama ... Northwestern's ridiculous new practice facility is on another level." Then Pete gushes about it even more.

The story raises certain questions (like why didn’t Northwestern invest the money in that dump of a stadium they play in) but will also provoke questions at other schools (like "why don't we have something like this?"). The whole concept that spending that kind of money will gain a competitive edge in college football is something I’m not certain is always true, and many alumni when they’re not winning rationalize the lack of success by saying it’s because other folks have more money, more alumni, more “something we ain’t got.”

So I've gone back 12 years in the world of college football to test a theory, because I believe that no matter how well you've figured anything out in college sports, every 12 years another generation of athletes enters school and there's no guarantee each generation will look at things the same (if you've ever been a parent, you pretty much can guarantee they won't look at things the same). Thus by going back 12 years, you can compare the power players of the last generation to this generation. And I think you do see a trend. 

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Virginia, Virginia Tech Made The Right Decision. Here's Why

Now that Virginia has moved its game with Ohio to Nashville, and Virginia Tech and ECU have cancelled their game, the expected comments are flowing on social media about the two decisions.

Should have waited, some said. You wait, it won’t even be raining on Saturday, others said.

Both may be true. It’s the nature of leadership that there are some decisions that will always end up being no-win situations. Don’t move/postpone/cancel the game? The storm might change course directly at you and you’ve needlessly put people in danger. Move it early enough so that alternative plans can be executed in an orderly process? More times than not, things change and there is a chance you could have an empty field on game day without any wind or rain.

But this is not an ordinary storm. And while there was a time I too may have been thinking “why make the decision so early?” the events of the last week of August in 2005 have changed my mind on the subject permanently.

Up until then, hurricanes were a very subjective situation to me. I grew up in Norfolk and it seemed like every other year we had a hurricane coming up the coast. As a kid, I wanted to escape to the other side of the front door during hurricane conditions just to be outside and see what 70 mile per hour winds felt like. Never mind that those winds could be carrying a tree limb traveling 70 miles per hour in the direction of my head, as my parents would often counter to my idea of going outside. It just sounded like a fun idea.

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clear sky

57.0°F

Ashburn

Clear Sky

Humidity: 62%

Wind: 11.41 m/h

Tue

light rain

25/53°F

Wed

sky is clear

22/36°F

Thu

overcast clouds

27/43°F

In The Blink Of An Eye...

Be Kind

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Never Grow Old...

Modern Design

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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