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Five Things I Learned Watching Virginia Tech Rally To Beat UNC

Virginia Tech’s comeback win over North Carolina last night was one of those games where Hokie fans should be glad the standings have only columns for wins and losses, and not areas where a game can be judged as “pretty”, “ugly” or “lucky.”

As a result, the Coastal Standings of the Atlantic Coast Conference only show that Virginia Tech is 3-0 in league games, in first place, and has a one-game lead over Miami and Virginia. But last night’s game showed more than that; here are five things I learned in watching them last night:

1. This team has heart. Yeah, I know everybody says that about their team. But last night they found themselves in a situation where only two miracles would prevent them from losing the game. They were late in the 4th quarter. A North Carolina touchdown – given the way Virginia Tech’s defense had played all evening – was a virtual certainty. That TD would have given UNC a two-score lead, and there wasn’t enough time for the Hokies to counter. The only thing that would grasp defeat from the jaws of victory for the Tar Heels would be either an interception – and there was no way UNC was going to throw the ball so close to the goal line – or a Virginia Tech defensive player came up with a hard hit or a strip of the ball that resulted in a fumble. Realistically speaking, the odds of that happening were right up there with a super model giving me a call during a timeout and asking what I’m doing after the game.

But it happened (no, not the thing with the super model). Safety Tyree Rodgers put his helmet into the midsection of UNC running back Michael Carter – who had run through the Virginia Tech defense all night with the same ease most of us would walk through a shopping mall – and the ball popped up in the air. Cornerback Jovonn Quillen grabbed it, dropped it, grabbed it again, then fell down on the two yard line. Half the miracle was done, but now the other half – having this offense go 98 yards – had to happen.

Coaches tell you in practice all the time that you can do things like this, but they rarely happen. The Hokies DID drive the length of the field, they DID score the winning touchdown, and they DID add a two-pointer to make sure a field goal didn’t beat them in the final minute. Such is the stuff legends are made of, and is also the stuff confidence, belief and heart are made of. There were probably players on the field who hoped they could do something like this, but didn’t really know if they could.

Now they know. Which could be a huge asset down the road this season.

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Remember WAGE? Well, The Station It Became Has Just Been Sold...

If you’ve been around Loudoun County for any length of time and followed local radio, you may find this a bit interesting.

It comes from website www.dcrtv.com, and notes that “Herndon-based Potomac Radio Group is buying WCRW, 1190, in Leesburg and WUST, 1120, Washington, from Falls Church-based Potomac Radio.” Selling price for each was $750,000.

If you ever followed the escapades of Leesburg’s WAGE, that station eventually became WCRW. Potomac Radio purchased WAGE, promising to keep it local, but ended up combining it with another station they owned so they could up the power and create a 50,000-watt powerhouse AM signal. The company had owned the 1190 frequency, and WAGE was on 1200, so one of them had to go. They were combined into the 1190 frequency.

To get the tower approval to up the power to 50,000 watts, these owners again had to persuade the community they would continue with local programming, which they did. But shortly after they got the approval they had long wanted, they abandoned those notions and became a brokered station for China Radio International. Such brokered programming is exactly what their other station – WUST 1120 – did. It was if that had been their plan from the very beginning.

The reason for the sale now is obvious. The owner of the company died in June of 2015, and the contract with China Radio International, according to DCRTV, is due to expire at the end of the year. The station would almost have to start over from scratch in terms of format and revenue stream, which usually makes the conditions right to sell to somebody else and let them come up with a new plan.  

It brings to a close a long and interesting chapter in local radio that I had a front row seat for, having been WAGE’s General Manager for about a year and a half before all this happened. Not familiar with WAGE? Well, here is something I wrote about them on their 50th anniversary back in 2008:

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I Still Can't Say Thanks Enough For Everything Frank Has Done

Today it was announced that a monument celebrating Frank Beamer will be unveiled at Moody Plaza, located on the Southwest corner of the Lane Stadium footprint adjacent to Beamer Way. It will happen about 3 hours and 15 minutes before kickoff of Saturday's game between Notre Dame and Virginia Tech.

My first thought was "I wonder if younger Hokies realize just how bad things were when Frank took over the program?" They probably know him as a former coach, I thought, or even a nice old man they see on television from a long time ago. But maybe not the guy who totally transformed this program into what it is today.

Three years ago, when it became apparent Frank would retire, I wrote this to summarize just how I felt. Seems appropriate to re-post it now....

To truly appreciate what Frank Beamer has done for Virginia Tech, allow me to share some of my earliest memories of being a Hokie.

The year was 1973, my senior year of high school. The check was in the mail to the admissions office, and I was going to be spending the next 4 years in Blacksburg. I picked up the Sunday Virginian Pilot in Norfolk (my hometown) and there was a story on Virginia Tech losing to Alabama in Tuscaloosa. By a score of 77-6.

That’s no typo. 77-6. Laughingstock wasn’t a strong enough word for how the Hokie football program looked back then.

My four years at Virginia Tech would be the four years of Jimmy Sharpe. The wishbone worked in the second year, as the Hokies won 8 games, but didn’t get a bowl bid. Things then fell apart as the team would go 6-5 and then 3-7-1. Sharpe would be fired. A football player would die in the dorms the day after a game in 1977, and Virginia Tech was in the national news for all the wrong reasons.

Meanwhile, teams in the Atlantic Coast Conference were the envy of all of us. Why not Virginia Tech? many of us thought, but the perception was simply we were not good enough. In 1977, an expansion committee actually sent a group to Blacksburg to examine the possibility, but they stayed all of about 45 minutes. Their minds were made up before they ever got there.

The Hokies were small potatoes.

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In Your Heart, You Know What's Going To Happen Next With Harper

Pineapple On A Pizza?

There are dozens of sporting events I could watch this fine Sunday afternoon, but instead of watching pro football, NASCAR or hockey, I’m watching a baseball game that doesn’t really matter to anyone in the D.C. area.

You know why.

Bryce Harper will be putting on a Washington National jersey potentially for the last time. He’s a free agent after the season, and nobody knows where he’s going to end up.

But in your heart, you really do know.

Harper has always been on loan to the Nationals until he got to the point of being a free agent. From that evening in Los Angeles in 2012 when he was called up due to a rash of injuries for the Nationals, until the day the team was eliminated from the 2018 race, we knew.

He’s not staying.

You can give me all the reasons he should stay. You can give me all the reason he could stay. But Washington – despite what he says – is not his home. Las Vegas is his home. He grew up a Yankees fan, and you can’t tell the heart what it should or shouldn’t want. His wife went to college in the Midwest.

None of those points of interest involve the Nation’s Capital.

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Five Things I Learned From Watching Virginia Tech Beat Duke

Last night’s Virginia Tech win over Duke – and the fact it isn’t raining for the first time on a weekend in what seems like 5 years – has certainly made for a much nicer and peaceful Sunday morning.

But while a much nicer deal to wake up to, there are still a lot of questions to be answered about the Hokies. Here are five things I learned in watching them last night:

1. When properly disciplined and focused, this team can do just about anything. This has been the case for Virginia Tech since the beginning of time. If you look at the three bad losses they’ve had since 1998 that made headlines last week, they always bounced back and had great games in the next one. After the Temple debacle in 1998, they beat UAB 41-0. After losing to JMU in 2010, they beat ECU 49-27.

You could argue neither UAB or ECU were any good (UAB finished 4-7 and ECU finished 6-7 those years) but Duke was ranked and the game was on the road. Hearing all week they were a bunch of over-rated lightweights who lost to a winless ODU program undoubtedly helped with that focus, so in that regard, it was a blessing in disguise.

I always thought Virginia Tech would be 4-1 after the first 5 games, with the loss being to Notre Dame. My reasoning was the team doesn’t do well when it thinks it is really good (and this goes back way beyond the Fuente era) and if they went into that game 4-0, they would probably have a top 10 ranking they didn’t deserve, think they were world beaters and maybe lose because of that. ODU stripped the team of that possibility, and if they play against Notre Dame like they did against Duke, they have a chance to still be 4-1.

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We're Now At A Fork In The Road For Virginia Tech Football...

It is a dreary morning. Raining outside. Cool. Dark. Depressing.

And, oh yeah, Virginia Tech lost yesterday to ODU. The same ODU that was 0-3 and lost to national powerhouse Liberty by 42 a few weeks ago.

Happy Sunday.

Life dictates you try to look at the bright side, put some lipstick on that pig, and put it all behind you. It gets easier over time, because the Hokies have a tendency to do things like this ever so often. An upperclassman in our dorm my freshman year at Virginia Tech jokingly told us “just remember, in the end, the Hokies will always break your heart,” and over the years I’ve determined he wasn’t joking: A brutal loss to Temple in 1998; an equally stunning defeat at the hands of James Madison in 2010; smaller, lesser ones that ended up stinging just as much in between.

This one didn’t hurt as much, I’ll admit, because of what it meant to ODU. Norfolk is my hometown, and this win was probably every bit as exciting to Monarch faithful as when the Hokies went to the Horseshoe and beat Ohio State. I even watched that upset in an ODU bar in 2014 (40th high school reunion) and some even said how cool it would be if ODU ever got to experience a win that big.

Now they have.

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Sometimes You Have To Be Careful Not To Jump To Conclusions

It is popular these days to bash younger people. It is also easy these days – thanks to thousands of hot takes you can read on social media at any given hour – to form a mindset of quickly jumping to conclusions.

And then you meet a young man like I did today named Javier.

It occurred when I was bringing my car in for regular service at the Tysons Corner Mercedes dealership. I refer to it as my “annual hosing by Mercedes” because maintenance is not cheap and they generally find something that keeps the bill around $1,000. It comes with owning a Mercedes I’ve always thought. First world problem, just accept it and get it over with.

I’m new to the Tysons dealership, and certain things about it are unimpressive. I own three cars, with the other two being a Lexus and a Volkswagen, and the other two dealerships make waiting for maintenance as painless as possible. Lexus and Volkswagen provide coffee machines, snacks, fruit, ice cream, free wi-fi, several different televisions on different channels…all the things that can make time go by quicker.

Mercedes – one of the crown jewels of luxury brands – had a coffee machine. Period. They had areas for snacks, doughnuts, etc. but they were not stocked. The men’s bathroom was filthy. There was no wifi. The guy sitting next to me said Mercedes’ wifi was listed as Penske – why you’d use Penske when you have a brand name like Mercedes is beyond me – “but don’t bother,” he said. “It doesn’t work.”

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Guest — JerryEnglish

Your walk up music!!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qev-i9-VKlY... Read More
Wednesday, 19 September 2018 22:28

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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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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broken clouds

74.5°F

Ashburn

Broken Clouds

Humidity: 94%

Wind: 6.93 m/h

Thu

light rain

73/74°F

Fri

moderate rain

67/85°F

Sat

scattered clouds

54/75°F

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.

Gone But Never Forgotten...

Doodle

My faithful dogs probably rode shotgun on hundreds of stories I've written since 2003. This one is for you, Doodle & Schnoodle.

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