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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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Wondering Where All These Stories Are Coming From?

Yesterday, we posted five stories on this site, covering topics such as the Nationals, Orioles, Capitals, Virginia Tech basketball, and Doug Doughty’s College Notebook, which is the longest-running weekly sports feature in the state. I even had two more stories I could have run, but I figured I’d save something for the next day.

Given where this site was six months ago, I’m justifiably proud. And just a little bit shocked how far the site has come in such a short period of time.

It all has turned, at least for now, because of reaching out and trying to help someone.

To give you some of the backstory, I started the site 15 years ago. Back then, everyone started sites with visions of glory, huge traffic and advertisers, and we were all going to be rich writing stories in our spare time on the sofa. That, of course, was temporary until the day we could quit our day jobs and be sportswriting ninjas who never shaved or even wore pants half the time.

That never happened, and at some point my focus changed. For a while, it was to write about local sports to fill the void of many weekly newspapers disappearing (the site is named after the local high school sports district), but I learned a hard lesson about parents of kids in sports: some are never satisfied.

Even though I was cranking out stories, statistics and live scores on Friday nights, parents who read a site that never charged a penny still thought it was OK to email me and tell me what an awful thing I was doing by not paying more attention to their offspring. In 2012, I even shut the site down for a few months I was so fed up with it.

I turned it back on because I am a firm believer in if you’re a writer, you write, every day if possible. It’s what you do and it’s who you are if you’re a writer, so any attempt to avoid that is foolish. I’d be walking down the street, see something, and find myself writing a story in my head, realizing I needed to put it down on paper and publish it somewhere. Even if only 4 or 5 people saw it, I needed to do it.

Throughout those years, I also had this thought that it would be really neat if I could work with a few young people and post their stories on the site. The biggest thing affecting young people these days, I believe, is the lack of a lot of newspapers to work at starting out, where editors do more than read your stuff: They challenge it, tighten it, sometimes don’t even run it because you weren’t writing professional copy. When I was 21, I spent 3 years at the Roanoke Times and editors like Rick Maas, Newton Spencer, Tony "Buster" Stamus, and a cast of others shaped the writer I became.

If I could, I wanted to do the same in my later years.

That never happened either, as I was hesitant to ask anyone to work with the site if I couldn’t pay them. So I just went along writing my own 3 or 4 stories a week for years, until a strange thing happened last year.

I had crossed paths with a young man named Ricky LaBlue, who reminded me a little of myself when I was his age. I’d give him advice from time to time, but late last year as the pandemic had placed us all under house arrest, I kept telling him if he wanted to be a writer, he had to write every day. And to make that point, I made a New Year’s Resolution to write every day for the first three months of the year.

I did. Traffic went up. Then my old friend, Mr. Doughty, got retired from the Roanoke Times. I emailed him and offered to help him in whatever he wanted to do, but gave him the same spiel about never stop writing. He started contributing stories to the site, and I have to admit, it is really cool to be working with him. Our desks were next to each other at the Roanoke Times 40 years ago, and aside from a few gray hairs and a forgotten memory or two, we’re still the same sarcastic, wise-cracking fools we were in 1978.

A few weeks later, LaBlue tells me he thinks he could benefit from regular editing and asks if I minded him writing for the site. Then another young writer I had admired – Stephen Newman – was writing about the Nationals for his site and I asked if he wanted to contribute a story or two. He said yes, and all of a sudden I was working with three other people who loved writing as much as I did.

The other day, another young writer emailed and asked if he could join the group because it seemed like we were having fun, and he’d heard I knew a little about editing, so the group might be getting even bigger. That thought about one day having a site where you could be around people who loved to write seems to be turning into reality.

I don’t know where all this is going, but when the pandemic ends and business returns to normal, I am allegedly good at sales and supposedly know how to make money. For now, I’m just feeling blessed that the people I wanted to work with 5 years ago have shown up in my life, even if only for a short period of time.

It’s fun. It’s busy. It’s something my wife complains I spend too much time on. But it’s cool. I love it. And it all started with me trying to help someone.

Turns out - as it always does - compared to the small amount of help I was offering, I’ve gotten one heck of a lot back in return.

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Sunday, 29 January 2023

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Ricky LaBlue

Ricky LaBlue

A longtime sports fanatic, Ricky is now channeling that passion into the world of sports media. Meet Ricky LaBlue.

Stephen Newman

Stephen Newman

The only things he loves more than following Virginia Tech and Washington sports teams are dogs. Meet Stephen Newman.

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