Stories involving anything related to Virginia Tech

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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.

But this game also could end up serving as a fork in the road for the program. When the Hokies suffered that humiliating defeat to Temple – the Hokies were ranked No. 13 and undefeated while Temple finished the year 2-9 – they did bounce back, go to a bowl game and beat Alabama decisively. Given the storied program the Crimson Tide is, that’s a nice phrase to be able to repeat.

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JUN
04
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It's Groundhog Day For "Why Didn't Steph Go To VT?"

Every spring, when Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors make it to the finals and he hits all sorts of ridiculous shots, it becomes Groundhog Day for Virginia Tech fans.

As in the day when people ask “why didn’t Virginia Tech give Curry a scholarship when his Dad was a legend there?”

Over and over again.

If you don’t know the story, allow me to tell it one more time. Steph, while in high school, was a bit undersized versus how he is now. He grew up like the child of anyone whose Dad was a big Virginia Tech fan, and Dell Curry brought his family back to the campus often to see Virginia Tech football and basketball games. Not surprisingly, Steph grew up around a lot of orange and maroon. Also not surprising: he grew up with a basketball in his hands, and started to become quite good in high school.

As the recruiting process was starting his junior year, Steph came to Blacksburg for a workout. Legend has it that the Hokies’ two senior guards and two best defensive players on the team – Zabian Dowdell and Jamon Gordon – easily defended him to the point that Steph couldn’t even get his shot off. Head coach Seth Greenberg, the story goes, decided upon seeing this that he might not be an ACC-caliber player, which was the same opinion as all the other ACC schools because none offered Steph a scholarship.

But Steph was part of a family that was Hokie royalty. So again, as the story goes, Greenberg invited Steph to walk on, with the promise of a four-year scholarship after red-shirting that walk-on year. Greenberg has said at the time he had no available scholarships to give due to some early commitments that were made that season. Given that, it sounded like a very fair situation for a player many deemed an “iffy” prospect at the time.

But there was one more contingency to the promise that has turned into a point of contention and sent the whole deal sideways. Supposedly Greenberg promised that while he couldn’t offer a scholarship at the time, should one later become available for that first year, he would give it to Curry instead of asking him to walk on.

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MAY
31
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I Really Don't Like The 1st 4 Games Of VT's Football Schedule

Today, Virginia Tech announced the exact times of its first four football games. And I until I looked at them, I never quite realized how much I don’t like the Hokies’ 2018 schedule.

If you will look to your left in the first column, there’s a block that says “On Deck” where I type in all the schedules of the area teams and sports I’m interested in: The Redskins, Nationals, Caps, Wizards, NASCAR, Virginia Tech football, Virginia Tech basketball, and the football schedules of the three main Ashburn schools including Stone Bridge, Broad Run and Briar Woods. That column shows you by day what’s coming up in the next few days, or if you want to see a specific team, or the entire month, you can just go to the menu and click on “Calendar.”

It’s an entirely self-serving exercise that allows me to check the site every morning, see what’s on the schedule, and know whether it’s going to be a good sports TV day/night, or whether it’s a good day for yard work, grocery shopping or running errands. The calendar program allows me to import items in mass, which I do for the bigger ones that are from 82 to 162 games. But since they include ads and a bunch of other junk I don’t necessarily want, I hand key in the smaller ones like football and college basketball schedules.

It was while doing this that I realized Virginia Tech’s schedule starts out fine, with a nationally televised Labor Day game against Florida State. But then the next three are potential “trap” games, and could set a direction for not only the season, but Justin Fuente’s coaching tenure at Virginia Tech.

Let me first say I love what Fuente has done in Blacksburg. The transition from legendary head coach Frank Beamer to Fuente has been seamless. He won 10 games in his first season when many would struggle to just be .500, and he came back in the second season with 9 wins, despite having to go with a redshirt freshman quarterback who had never been on the field for a single down in college football.

That’s not easy.

But the third year for a head coach in a new program is usually a barometer of where the program is going. First-year success in many cases can be due to the ability to coach talent somebody else recruited, since you pretty much have to be on elite athletes for several years to be able to convince them to come to programs like Virginia Tech.

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MAY
30
0

Don't Laugh, You're Probably Just As Superstitious Too

It just occurred to me that I may have to stop writing stuff for this site for another week or two.

It's because I am extremely superstitious when it comes to sports (don’t laugh, you know you are too). Around mid-April, the Caps were down 2-0 in the first round of the playoffs, every time I mentioned them something bad happened to them, and I stopped. They rebounded, won the series with Columbus, then Pittsburgh, then Tampa Bay.

So Friday, believing the curse was over, I started posting regularly again.

Then the Caps lost Monday night.

I realize the actions of one old man in Ashburn Farm should not have any effect on the play of a dozen or more professional athletes from all over the world who are doing battle 2,000 miles away. But sports fans are not always given to rational thought.

And I’m not alone in this regard.

I, for example, know whether my favorite team won or lost when I was wearing just about every shirt or jersey I own. If I eat a particular meal and one of my teams has a big win, I eat the same meal before the next big game. If I get up and go in the kitchen for a particular soft drink or snack and I come back and my team has hit a home run, scored a touchdown, gotten a goal, etc….I go back and get another when that teams needs a big play.

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APR
10
4

These Are Not Autographs You Will See For Sale On Ebay

Yesterday, I wrote a piece about Mitchell Gold, and in it I mention that I ended up getting a chair autographed by both Mitchell AND his dog. Some found that a little unusual.

“That’s not the only thing unusual about my Dad,” would be my daughter’s response.

But I will grant you that I do look at the whole autograph deal a little different than most. I have some sports memorabilia – an autographed picture of Julius Erving in a Virginia Squires jersey, a throwback Redskins helmet (the gold one with the big “R”) signed by Sonny Jurgensen, and a Virginia Tech helmet signed by Frank Beamer and Michael Vick.

The first one I ever pursued was Erving. I grew up in Norfolk watching the brief tenure of pro basketball in the area, and Erving was amazing. At the same time, Jurgensen was the quarterback for the Redskins, and at the age of 13, I thought he was the best quarterback of all time (still do, for that matter).

But it was Erving who soured me on any further sports hero worship. Later in life in the late 1990s, a great friend and business partner knew one of the then-minority owners of the Orlando Magic, and Erving worked for the team at the time. My friend and I were in Orlando, so he arranged for us to get tickets to the Magic game that night and meet my childhood idol.

Sometime in the second quarter, we were told if we went back to the hospitality room, Erving was there. I was introduced to him, told him how much I enjoyed watching him as a kid, and he gave me one of those “Um, yeah…nice to see you…” and walked away. Erving owed me nothing, so I suppose I should not have been annoyed by the 13 seconds of gruffness he provided. But it did tarnish some of those childhood memories, and served as a warning to me if I wanted to keep enjoying those memories, don’t meet those people in person.

Such was the case with Jurgensen, who by all accounts I’ve heard is a great guy. Several of the autographed items I have came from doing charity work for the Washington Redskins Alumni Association, as the director at the time knew I liked him and obtained them. He also offered to introduce me whenever Sonny was at Redskins Park, so I asked if it would end up being like my deal with Erving.

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