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A football (Photo by Dave Adamson on Unsplash)

There’s no better pairing than high-caloric food, cold drinks and the Super Bowl.

Spend your Super Bowl Sunday — next Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024 — at one (or several) of these local bars and restaurants in Arlington, serving up food and drink specials all game long.

Some of the food available for order at Astro Beer Hall in Shirlington (courtesy Farrah Skeiky)

1. Astro Beer Hall

4001 Campbell Avenue, Shirlington

Astro Beer Hall’s Super Bowl special includes a $100 food package for four people, available for both dine-in and take-out. The food package comes with one order of pretzels, one order of mac and cheese bites, one order of loaded nachos, 25 chicken wings or tenders and six doughnuts or cookies.

Visit Astro Beer Hall for both inside and outside dining, a full arcade, signature cocktails, fresh fried doughnuts, 24 beers on draft and plenty of screens for you to cheer on your favorite team.

Punch Bowl Social in Ballston in October 2020 (staff photo)

2. Punch Bowl Social

4238 Wilson Blvd, Ballston

Punch Bowl Social is offering drink specials and a scratch kitchen menu all game long during the Big Game Watch Party. Not interested in the big game? Punch Bowl Social offers other games too, including board games, ping pong, bowling, shuffleboard and more.

Revamped entrance to the Clarendon Ballroom (staff photo)

3. Clarendon Ballroom

3185 Wilson Blvd, Clarendon

Clarendon Ballroom’s Super Bowl watch party will feature a $25 bottomless Super bowl Buffet Station, an 18,000-watt sound system with game commentary, a 50-foot projector wall, a 20-foot TV Video Wall and all night drink specials, features, and giveaways. There will also be a private “tailgating: sections for reservation and a game area with cornhole, water pong and giant jenga.”

Doors open at 4 p.m. for the pregame party and super happy hour.

Crystal City Sports Pub (Staff Photo by Jay Westcott)

4. Crystal City Sports Pub

529 23rd Street S., Crystal City

Head to Crystal City Sports Pub for a third-level Super Bowl party. Tickets are required and are $60 each. Each ticket includes access to a 18ft video wall, pre-game buffet and a touchdown buffet. Beverages are additional.

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The Washington-Liberty Generals narrowly defeated the Yorktown Patriots last night.

The Thursday night, cross-county game at Yorktown’s Greenbrier Stadium ended with a score of 21-18, the Gazette Leader reported. But the night’s drama did not stop there — large groups of teens leaving the game gathered at a local shopping center and a local fast food restaurant.

Police responded to at least two locations: the Lee-Harrison Shopping Center just down the street from the stadium and further up Langston Blvd at the McDonald’s.

At least three police units responded to the shopping center, where dozens if not more than 100 teens were gathered in the parking lot, prompting a call to police about rowdy behavior and cars being blocked.

“I was working at Lee Harrison Shopping Center last night and HUNDREDS of Yorktown students flooded the area,” an anonymous tipster wrote to ARLnow, claiming that they were “screaming at each other and threatening patrons.”

The crowds could be seen in traffic camera images, above, but video reviewed by ARLnow did not show any destructive behavior.

The same could not be said about a large group that gathered at the McDonald’s at 4834 Langston Blvd last night around the same time. Police responded to the fast food joint for reports of kids inside destroying things.

“At approximately 9:51 p.m. on September 14, police were dispatched to the report of disorderly conduct,” Arlington County ploce spokeswoman Ashley Savage told ARLnow. “Upon arrival, it was determined a large group of juveniles entered a business, damaged property and stole a poster. There are no suspect(s) description. The investigation is ongoing.”

Savage, responding to a follow-up question from ARLnow, noted that the damaged items were all posters — not the life-sized Ronald McDonald figure that some teens allegedly tried to steal just before the start of the school year.

On the Lee-Harrison gathering, Savage said that “police were dispatched to the report of a large group of juveniles in the parking lot allegedly acting disorderly.”

“Officers responded to the area and the group subsequently dispersed,” she added.

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Athletic field in Quincy Park is used for soccer practice (Staff Photo by Jay Westcott)

Arlington County is looking to tweak how its athletic fields are used and reserved.

Through Sept. 8, residents will have the chance to participate in a survey which county staff plan to use to develop policy that will “ensure more equitable access for recreation.”

The study is part of the Public Spaces Master Plan which calls for the county to solicit feedback from residents every five years on how frequently and at what times of day people use the fields.

The county started gathering feedback in 2021 and surveyed 107 people which was used to create an “Athletic Field Draft Availability Framework.”

In the initial survey, residents highlighted that there was not enough time and space dedicated to unscheduled casual “drop-in” or “community use” of athletic fields for community activities and requested better access to lighted fields — currently 36 out of 96 fields have lights — on weeknights and weekends.

The issue of access to athletic fields for unplanned athletic and non-athletic activities has become increasingly contentious in recent years.

Before it was adopted in 2019, the Public Spaces Master Plan came under fire from opponents who argued the county had set aside more space for athletic fields than it needed, reducing the amount of available land for other facilities, such as parks and schools.

In 2021, the Aurora Highlands Civic Association wrote numerous letters to the Arlington County Board and circulated a petition pushing for “open access” to nearby diamond athletic fields during hours when there are no scheduled games “to relax, throw frisbees, sunbathe, or even write petitions.”

However, proponents claim demand for scheduled use of sports fields is growing and believe the county should invest to help solve this problem.

To resolve these issues, Jennifer Fioretti, deputy director of Arlington’s Department of Parks and Recreation, said county staff have proposed two solutions via the Athletic Field Availability Draft Framework.

First, staff have developed a formula that calculates the “utilization rate” for each field in the county. Fioretti said she believes this strategy will help the department better understand individual field use, thereby improving “operational efficiency.”

“We will use the data, for example, to inform the re-balancing of scheduled activities and to create opportunities for community use that may have not been available in the past,” she told ARLnow in an email.

Second, county staff propose reclassifying the six fields currently labeled as “Drop-In/Community Use” to a “Permit Takes Priority” status.

Fioretti said the six drop-in fields, which include Gunston 3, Barcroft 5, VA Highlands 2, Westover, TJ Lower Field and Rocky Run, can still be reserved, which causes confusion because “Community Use/Drop-In” implies there are no activities scheduled.

The idea, she noted, is to “further simplify our field designations” in order to “spread scheduled community time throughout the County.”

“By eliminating the Drop-In/Community Use designation we will be identifying community time and scheduled sport specific times at more locations throughout the entire county,” Fioretti said.

Of Arlington’s 96 athletic fields, 12 are currently “Permit-Only,” 78 are “Permit Takes Priority,” and 6 are “Drop-In/Community Use fields.”

By participating in the second survey, residents will have the opportunity to provide feedback about the proposal which Fioretti said will help county staff determine whether it is “on the right track” or whether its proposal needs to be modified.

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Snow falls in Rosslyn in 2020 (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Christmas and Hanukkah are nearly here, which is undoubtedly provoking panic among last-minute shoppers.

Luckily, ARLnow has an Arlington-centric holiday gift guide for all those who looking for the perfect present for the the gondola fans and local literature enthusiasts in you life.

Below are eight great, last-minute Arlington-related gifts.

Silver Diner item up for auction (via Real Food for Kids)

After 26 years, the Silver Diner in Clarendon is now closed with the new Ballston location opening this past week. Now, a number of items from that restaurant are up for auction.

Money helps supports the local non-profit Real Food for Kids. The auction ends next week, on Dec. 22.

This summer, local elected officials again introduced joint legislation to remove Robert E. Lee’s name from the historic home at Arlington National Cemetery. While the bills stalled, it was actually George Washington Parke Custis who had the house built to honor George Washington.

This definitive biography by local author Charlie Clark provides the first-of-a-kind look into the life of George Washington Parke Custis and the history of Arlington’s first family.

Cans of New District beer (file photo)

With word coming that a new indoor dog park and bar may be replacing Green Valley’s New District Brewing, now is the time to stuff those stockings with beer.

Four packs of beer, including the National Landing IPA and Potomac Paddleboarder Blonde Ale, are available in the taproom whenever the brewery is open. All the beer is now packaged at their facility with its crowd-funded canning line.

Little Michael Visits Fire Station 8 book cover (via Amazon)

Help that little Arlingtonian in your life to learn local history with this book written by community leader Wilma Jones.

It tells the story of a third grader in 1955 who visits the Halls Hill fire station. For decades, Fire Station 8 was the only one in Arlington that was staffed by African-Americans.

The original station was demolished in June with a new station now in the midst of construction. It’s expected to be completed sometime late next year.

Pickleball being played outside at Walter Reed Community Center (staff photo by Matt Blitz)

Pickleball has taken Arlington by storm, even as the pickleball pop has driven some locals mad.

The county is providing a chance to get in on the craze by offering pickleball classes for all ages. The classes begin in February and continue through April, but can be purchased now.

But be careful about where you play so the county doesn’t get sued.

Inner Ear Recording Studios t-shirt (screenshot via Amazon)

Demolition day may be looming for the building that once housed legendary Inner Ear Studios, but the recording studio still lives in Don Zientara’s Arlington basement. Some have called it “the Abbey Road of Arlington.”

A t-shirt with the original Inner Ear logo is available from ARLnow on Amazon.

Ballston resident Isa Seyran serves up dishy stories in his new book detailing working in the local restaurant scene.

The subject of a recent ARLnow Press Club feature, Seyran shares a number of anecdotes in the book about working for some of the most famous chefs in the D.C. area.

Arlington Gondoliers sweatshirt

Sure, it’s actually Arlington, Texas that’s getting an XFL team, and not Arlington, Virginia, but that didn’t dissuade us from asking readers on social media what they would have named the football team.

One answer stood out:

The Arlington Gondoliers

ARLnow designed a logo and put it on a bunch of swag so everyone can support the local team that never was.

  • Bonus: Items from a local holiday market

If you are still in need of more last-minute gifts, the Forever Grateful Market in Crystal City is happening this weekend.

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Arlington Gondoliers sweatshirt

Arlington (Virginia) does not have its own XFL football team, no matter what The Rock tweeted.

It is, in fact, the Arlington in Texas that will have a team, along with D.C. and six other cities.

Given the enticing prospect of an Arlington, Va. team, however, we asked our Twitter followers what a hypothetical pro football squad should be called.

One name stood out.

So we did the only sensible thing: design a logo for this hypothetical team.

Whether you want to envision the Gondoliers as part of The Rock’s league or the new name of a certain for-sale pro team after it’s bought by a certain billionaire with a big stake in Arlington, you can now show your team pride with some exclusive merch.

In the meantime, the original way to show your gondola support has made Washingtonian’s list of 9 DC-Themed Gifts Only a Washingtonian Would Appreciate. Get the OG Gondola Now shirt here.

Note: There are dozens of websites and shady merchants that steal the designs from other sellers and offer their own counterfeit shirts. The items we sell, which help to support our reporting, are only available on Amazon with “ARLnow” listed as the seller.

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Jeff Bezos at the Economic Club of Washington on Sept. 13, 2018 (staff photo)

(Updated at 9:05 a.m.) Dan Snyder may finally be selling the Washington Commanders.

News reports yesterday heralded the news that Snyder, who has provided over a long stretch of football futility and ugly controversies, has hired bankers to explore a partial or full sale of the NFL team.

While the “sell the team” masses rejoice, it’s by no means a done deal and now speculation turns to who might buy the ‘manders.

The current betting favors Snyder selling, and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is atop the list of potential buyers. And Bezos is reportedly “looking into” buying the team, potentially in partnership with Jay-Z, People and TMZ reported Thursday afternoon. Given that Amazon’s under-construction HQ2 is in Arlington, this seems like a local story for us!

We’ve taken the liberty of coming up with six other Arlington-affiliated potential buyers, for your consideration.

Some of the following are actually mentioned elsewhere as potential buyers, while others are purely wild speculation or wishful thinking.

Jeff Bezos
One of the world’s richest men has transitioned from tech CEO to being a buyer of huge yachts and enjoyer of fancy vacations, so he seems like a Prime candidate to buy an NFL team.

MacKenzie Scott
The ex-wife of Jeff Bezos has turned her 4% ownership of Amazon into an increaingly lauded career as an unassuming philanthropist. Buying a controversy-riddled football team seems out of character, but you never know.

Ted Leonsis
The former AOL executive owns the Wizards, the Mystics, and the Capitals — which has team offices and practice facilities in Ballston — so clearly he is someone who enjoys owning professional sports franchises. But he’s currently trying to buy the Nationals so might be a bit stretched at the moment.

Charles Koch
His libertarian-leaning institute and other associated organizations are based in Arlington, and he’s got more than enough money. Plus, selling the team to Charles Koch, noted for his financial contributions to the GOP, would allow Snyder one last thumb of the nose at those on Capitol Hill most vocal about driving him out.

Michael Bloomberg
The former New York mayor’s media and financial information empire has a major office in Crystal City and he previously had a campaign office in Pentagon City for his failed presidential bid. He wasn’t able to take the White House, but maybe FedEx Field is within reach?

Sands family
Sands Capital manages tens of billions of dollars from its Rosslyn offices and its late founder, who grew up in Arlington and attended W-L High School, made the largest ever gift to the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business prior to his passing. We have no idea if they have the money — net worth figures could not be found — but this is the most Arlington-connected family with significant wealth we could come up with.

Mars family
The Mars family and their eponymous, multi-national candy corporation are most associated with McLean, where the company is headquartered, but Mars, Inc. chair John Franklyn Mars (worth some $50 billion) was born in Arlington in 1935. The family has been mentioned elsewhere as potential local buyers, though a spokesperson told ARLnow after publication that “the Mars family is absolutely not going to buy the Commanders.”

Sheila Johnson
The co-founder of BET and CEO of Salamander Hotels and Resorts isn’t on the Forbes billionaires list, but her net worth is reported to be at least in the upper $100s of millions. Johnson is a co-owner of the Caps and Wizards and managing partner of the Mystics, so she has pro sports ownership experience. Her Arlington connections include being married to Arlington County Circuit Court Chief Judge William T. Newman, Jr. and speaking at last year’s Marymount University commencement.

Given those Arlington-linked options, who would you most like to see buy the Commanders?

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Response to fight at the Pentagon City mall (photo courtesy Alan Henney)

Groups of teens were behind some chaotic scenes in Arlington over the weekend.

The latest Arlington County Police Department crime report has three separate items involving groups of juveniles. The first two incidents happened in Pentagon City, at or near the mall.

The first happened late Friday afternoon, when a group of suspects allegedly threatened a security guard during a shoplifting attempt. Three suspects — ages 18 and 19 — were arrested on assault charges.

ASSAULT BY MOB, 2022-10280198, 1200 block of S. Hayes Street. At approximately 4:21 p.m. on October 28, police were dispatched to the report of an assault by mob. Upon arrival, it was determined a Loss Prevention Officer observed a female subject allegedly conceal a pair of sunglasses before confronting her and recovering the merchandise. A group of male suspects with the female subject then approached the Loss Prevention Officer and allegedly made verbal threats while at least one of the suspects displayed a knife. No injuries were reported. The suspects fled the scene prior to the arrival of police and responding officers located three suspects in the area. Suspect One ignored the commands of officers, resisted arrest and was taken into custody with the assistance of additional arriving officers. During a search of Suspect Two incident to arrest, a folding knife was recovered.

The crime report notes that “all three suspects were released on unsecured bonds.”

That night, police responded to Washington-Liberty High School for a report of four teens sneaking into the football game against McLean (W-L won 43-13), running through the stands and twice pushing someone to the ground. The bike-riding, ski-mask-wearing suspects fled the scene and police are still investigating.

From ACPD:

ASSAULT BY MOB, 2022-10280255, 1300 block of N. Stafford Street. At approximately 9:10 p.m. on October 28, police were dispatched to the report of a fight. Upon arrival, it was determined four unknown juvenile suspects climbed a fence and entered the stands of the stadium. As the suspects were running through the stands, they knocked the male [victim] to the ground twice before fleeing the scene. The victim refused medics on scene. The suspects are described as males wearing black hoodies and ski masks and riding bicycles. The investigation is ongoing.

The next day, around 5:30 p.m., a report of groups of teens fighting inside the food court at the Pentagon City mall drew a large police response.

One girl who was wanted in D.C. was arrested and now faces additional charges after allegedly assaulting police.

ASSAULT & BATTERY ON POLICE, 2022-10290193, 1100 block of S. Hayes Street. At approximately 5:32 p.m. on October 29, police responded to the report of a fight involving groups of juveniles inside a food court. Responding officers separated the groups and no significant injuries were reported related to the fight. During the course of the investigation, one juvenile was determined to be wanted out of Washington D.C. and she assaulted officers as they attempted to detain her. She was taken into custody and petitions for Assault on Police were obtained.

The police response to that incident was noted on social media.

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Washington-Liberty High School football game versus Chantilly High School on Sept. 9, 2022 (via YouTube)

(Updated 09/27/22) High school football season is in play, but this year, fewer students in Arlington Public Schools will be in the stands cheering on their friends.

That is because Arlington County Police Department does not have enough officers to staff events, police spokeswoman Ashley Savage tells ARLnow.

Only students who attend the competing schools will be able to sit in the stands this year, according to one parent’s recap of a recent meeting between the Washington-Liberty Parent-Teacher Association and school leaders, which was posted to a Facebook page for parents and shared with ARLnow.

Siblings who attend other schools can attend if they come with their families, the post said. Students of the Arlington Career Center and H-B Woodlawn and those in Virtual Virginia courses can attend the games of their home schools.

This policy applies to all athletic events, not just football, the parent wrote.

Last fall, ACPD advised APS that it would not be able to provide physical security at games and special events for the 2022-23 school year due to ongoing staffing concerns, Savage said. (The police department also announced earlier this year that it would be scaling back some services due to the thinning of its ranks.)

“ACPD continues to work with APS on a plan to ensure a safe school community,” she said. “These security plans are similar to procedures APS implemented when the school board voted 5-0 to remove School Resources Officers.”

School Board members previously said they removed officers in response to arrest statistics indicating Black and Latino kids are disproportionately charged with crimes.

Despite not being in the schools daily, Savage said department participates in the school system’s Threat Assessment Team and School Safety Audit, has a liaison to APS and remains in contact with school leadership on any public safety concerns they may have.

“The decision to revise our admission procedures for high school athletic events is based on our commitment to providing safe, secure environments for students, staff and spectators, as well as to support the school staff who are charged with managing the crowds and maintaining safety and security during these events,” APS spokesman Frank Bellavia told ARLnow on Tuesday. “This has been our previous practice and is not directly related to the absence of police officers at our games.”

But some parents were surprised by the policy change, saying they only learned of it two weeks ago, ahead of the Washington-Liberty High School football game against Chantilly High School on Sept. 9.

The change has already prompted a parent to launch a petition calling for the decision to be reversed. The petition has just over 175 signatures as of publication time and the author, W-L Boosters Club Co-President Kevin Hughes, asked members of the School Board last week at their meeting to drop the policy.

“This is a small community. Many high school students attended elementary and middle school together and remain friends even though they are enrolled in different high schools,” he said in the petition. “By virtue of being an Arlington resident, all high school students should be afforded the opportunity to watch live football games in person regardless of what school they attend.”

Hughes said that most incidents occur after the game concludes, and could be mitigated “proper crowd dispersal procedures.”

APS has had its share of incidents surrounding football games. Police had to use pepper spray to break up a fight during a W-L game in 2016, Wakefield football players allegedly were the target of racial slurs in Fairfax County and some Yorktown students allegedly were sexually harassed during half-time at a game. APS noted last school year that fights were on the rise, particularly among middle-schoolers, as students reacclimated to in-person education.

And Arlington is not alone in taking steps to tighten security at athletic contests.

After a football game ended in a brawl and charges against five people, Montgomery County Public Schools now requires fans to stay in their seats and limits fans to students from the competing schools.

Some parents have expressed mixed feelings about the new APS policy, acknowledging its likely necessity while critiquing its implementation.

“At the end of the day, of course everyone I would rather have this policy — if absolutely necessary — than have them going to restricted attendance or no students at certain games,” said W-L parent Mark Weiser. “There are a lot of questions and not a lot of answers and what irks me is that the policy was thrown out there without a lot of discussion.”

This story has been updated to include comment from Arlington Public Schools. 

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Morning Notes

Clouds over Rosslyn (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

New Football Coach for Wakefield — “For someone who has never previously been a high-school football head coach, Darrell Weeks’ vast and diversified experience in the sport certainly makes him qualified. Now his chance has come. On March 30, the 45-year-old Austin, Texas, native was announced as the Wakefield Warriors’ new head coach during an after-school gathering in the high school’s town-hall area. Weeks, a special-education and math teacher at Wakefield, has been out of coaching since 2010.” [Sun Gazette]

Target Opening Delayed — “The new Target at Pentagon Row didn’t open today. Opening has been pushed back a week to April 10. No carts yet.” [Twitter]

ACPD Looking for Missing Man — “MISSING: ACPD is seeking assistance locating Shaun… [age] 39. Described as a White male, 5’7″ tall and weighing 145 lbs. He was last seen on the afternoon of March 15 in the 1400 block of S. Joyce Street” in Pentagon City. [Twitter]

Honor for Clarendon-Based Axios — “@axios Congrats on being named on @Comparably’s Best Places to Work in Washington, DC Metro Area 2022 list.” [Twitter]

Peter Chang Responds to Award Nod — “‘We were surprised this time it’s the outstanding chef category, not the regional. It’s such an honor to be recognized among all the talented chefs,’ Peter Chang told me in an email through his daughter, Lydia Zhang. When Zhang informed him of his nomination, he says, his response was, ‘OK, what’s next? We have a business to run here.'” [Northern Virginia Magazine]

Clarendon Bars Win ‘Fake ID Awards’ — “Last night, @ARIArlington recognized two security guards and management of two restaurants (@dontitova & @BarBaoVA) during ACPD’s sixth annual Fake ID Awards. The recipients were recognized for their excellence in detecting false identifications and preventing underage drinking.” [Twitter, WTOP]

Amazon Pledges Millions More for Housing — “As it seeks county approval for the next phase of new HQ2 construction, Amazon is pledging a $30 million contribution to support affordable housing in Arlington. The figure was revealed in county documents posted online this week, as Amazon’s latest HQ2 development proposal is set to go before the county planning commission on Monday.” [WJLA]

Nearby: Armed Robbery in Falls Church — “City of Falls Church Police seek two men who are suspected of armed robbery. At about 3:30 today, police responded to a tobacco and vaping shop in the 1100 block of W. Broad St. for a report of an armed robbery. Store employees told police that two men entered the store, one showed a handgun, and demanded valuables. There were no injuries. The men seemed to arrive and leave by foot.” [City of Falls Church]

It’s Monday — Partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 57 and low of 37. Sunrise at 6:49 am and sunset at 7:36 pm. [Weather.gov]

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With a flurry of touchdowns, an Arlington girls flag football team won the NFL Flag Football National Championship in Las Vegas this past weekend.

The Virginia Hurricanes, a team made up of sixth grade girls mostly from Arlington, dominated the competition in their age range during the six game tournament. The team routed their opponents during the tournament by a combined score of 96 to 8.

The team has been playing together for about three years. That continuity and cohesion is what makes this group special, the players tell ARLnow.

“We have all the right pieces. So, when it all fits together and is working, it feels like we could beat anyone,” quarterback Zoe Connor says.

Receiver Adriana Ordenes agrees, saying it’s the sometimes unquantifiable traits that can turn a good team into a great one.

“It’s a team sport. There’s not just one player that does everything,” Ordenes says. “Everybody is working together.”

Coached by Mike Rivera, this isn’t the first time the Virginia Hurricanes has won or participated in the national championship. In fact, two other girls teams he oversees — including the Virginia Girls 14U and the 12U squads — made it to this year’s tournament as well in Vegas, also playing extremely well.  Additionally, he runs a program for girls basketball teams.

But Rivera says the sixth grade Hurricanes were particularly successful due to that togetherness.

“They just have a lot of good team chemistry,” he says. “They’re great kids who get along well and are so supportive of one another. They are very unselfish.”

The tournament is sponsored by the NFL, with each team representing an NFL franchise. The Virginia Hurricanes won the regional tournament in New Jersey in June, so they went to Las Vegas representing the New York Jets. The NFL team provided apparel, jerseys, and brand new cleats to the players.

Like any great team, they did overcome some challenges along the way. Lyla Kelly, who plays cornerback on defense and center on offense, has cystic fibrosis, which landed her in the hospital at times during the season. But she says that her teammates always picked her up by checking on her and not missing a beat when she couldn’t be on the field with them.

“It’s so welcoming and everyone always supports me with everything,” Kelly says. “There’s not one person who treats me any differently.”

Her teammates agree.

“Lyla is such a great athlete and teammate. Nobody really notices [that she has cystic fibrosis] all that much,” Connor says. “On our team, she’s just a really good player. And a really good friend.”

The teammates talk about how Coach Mike Rivera, who lives in the Woodmont neighborhood, makes the sport fun for them, but also knows that he’s focused on the same thing they are: winning.

“Coach Mike… makes it so much fun, but the [coaches] don’t make too much fun so that we all goof around. We get serious,”  says Ordenes. “And I love winning.”

When the final whistle was blown and the Virginia Hurricanes knew the championship was theirs, they celebrated by “screaming and jumping around” and drenching their coaches with water blasters (the tournament was also sponsored by Nerf).

But Kelly, Connor, and Ordenes all say that their work isn’t done yet. Sure, winning one championship is nice, but they hope that bond they have will help them win again next time.

“We just get each other,” Ordenes says. “We’ve been playing with each other for so long that we know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. We all help each other out on the field.”

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Morning Notes

The Rosslyn Christmas tree (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Koch Groups Moving to Ballston — “A group of nonprofits founded and supported in part by billionaire Charles Koch are moving to a combined 185K SF in the Ballston Exchange office complex owned by Jamestown, sources confirmed to Bisnow. Stand Together, Americans for Prosperity and the Charles Koch Institute, in addition to affiliated organizations, plan to occupy the space in 2023, a source familiar with the deal said.” [Bisnow]

Football and History in Halls Hill — “They were there — about a hundred mostly Black residents and former residents, gathered together on this sunny, crisp Thanksgiving morning — for the neighborhood’s annual Turkey Bowl… For more than fifty years, so-called ‘Old Heads’ in maroon jerseys and ‘Young Heads’ in yellow have squared off in this Halls Hill tradition — ‘since before Martin Luther King’s birthday was a holiday,’ says one longtime resident, Paul Terry, who has been living in Halls Hill since 1968. ‘It’s always fun.'” [DCist]

Parent Group Demands Schools Stay Open — “‘Students belong in school. Closing school buildings did nothing to reduce or mitigate spread the first time we tried it, and caused extensive harm that has yet to be remedied,’ said Arlington Parents for Education in a Dec. 21 statement. Prior to departing on a two-week holiday period, school-system leaders gave no inkling that a return to online-learning was anticipated, although Superintendent Francisco Durán did encourage families to behave responsibly over the holidays so schools could remain open in the new year.” [Sun Gazette]

Long-Time Local Judge Retires — “Having served the people of his hometown in judicial robes for a quarter-century, George Varoutsos was honored Dec. 17 as that tenure came to an end. Varoutsos – a judge of the 17th Judicial District Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court (serving Arlington and Falls Church) since 1998 – was lauded by colleagues and civic leaders during a ceremony held at the Arlington County Justice Center.” [Sun Gazette]

No Candidates for Dem PR and Equity Roles — “The Arlington County Democratic Committee’s upcoming leadership election will feature three contested races, eight unopposed races and three where no one filed by the Dec. 10 deadline… Three elected positions – voter-support chair, press-and-PR chair and inclusion-and-equity chair – did not receive any candidates and will be filled later.” [Sun Gazette, Sun Gazette]

It’s Thursday — Today will be sunny, with a high near 41. Sunrise at 7:24 a.m. and sunset at 4:50 p.m. Tomorrow, Christmas Eve, will be partly sunny, with a high near 53, with rain possible overnight and on Christmas Day. [Weather.gov]

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