Arlington, VA

Bryce Harper saw his postseason prospects go up in smoke yesterday at the hands of his long-time former team, but the strikeout-prone Phillies slugger was gracious enough to pose with some Arlington firefighters afterward.

Firefighters were dispatched to the Pentagon City Ritz-Carlton hotel around 12:30 a.m. today (Wednesday) to assist with a stuck elevator, according to ACFD spokesman Capt. Justin Tirelli. After freeing those in the elevator, they happened upon Philadelphia stars Bryce Harper and Jake Arrieta in the lobby and asked for a photo with the former Nat and one-time Rosslyn resident.

Harper obliged, taking a photo with two firefighters outside the Ritz, where visiting pro sports teams often stay when in town.

“In Arlington, you’ll never know who you will run into on the street,” ACFD said in a tweet this morning. “Firefighters from A-shift handled a stuck elevator call and happened to recognize @bryceharper3, who happily posed for a pic. Bryce — Sorry about the loss, but thanks for being a good sport!”

Harper and the 79-78 Phillies are set to face the now-playoff-bound Nationals again in D.C. tonight at 7:05 p.m.

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The Arlington County Board will consider amending its 2o09 agreement with Marymount University to extend its support for MU athletic facilities.

At its Saturday meeting, the County Board will discuss adding 100 hours of MU field use at Long Bridge Park plus additional access of county parks for MU athletic teams including tennis, baseball, and — potentially — softball.

In 2009, the County Board and MU signed a 15-year agreement detailing the shared cost and maintenance term of at Long Bridge Park. In exchange for regular use, Marymount pays half the construction costs and makes regular contributions to maintain the field.

If granted, the new amendment would expand the contract (originally slated to expire in 2024) through July 30, 2034.

Within the new contract, the county would grant MU access to Long Bridge Park for up to a total of 540 hours per academic year.

Additional terms include:

  • MU athletic teams will be able to play on the tennis courts at Virginia Highlands Park beginning in the 2019-2020 academic year for 850 hours per academic year.
  • MU will work with the county to find a diamond field facility to use when/if MU establishes a softball program.
  • The MU baseball program will be able to use Tucker Field at Barcroft Park after the field space has been allocated to George Washington University and county baseball programs.
  • In Long Bridge Park, the county would provide a synthetic turf on the field, permanent field lines, spectator benches, access to a scoreboard, storage space for team equipment, and a Marymount logo in season, among other improvements.

Marymount will continue to make annual contributions for the maintenance of Long Bridge Park, including the cost of replacing/repairing the synthetic turf. They will also pay the current rental rates for all hours used at other county facilities.

The agreement comes at a time of heated competition for local athletic fields among sports and community groups.

Flickr pool photo by Eric

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Being a grown up means summer doesn’t come with a 2-month vacation anymore, but DC Fray still wants you to get out and play!

Leagues are happening all around Arlington this season and warm weather events are going down all summer long. What makes summer better than it was when you were a kid? The silver lining: happy hours!

Catch a buzz on and off the field with bar specials during or after your games! ​Sports happening in Arlington​ this summer include bocce, cornhole, flag football, hockey, kickball, soccer, softball, tennis and volleyball. It’s the best way to get outside, stay active and make friends.

There’s also a​ full calendar of events​ like DC Field Day, River Tubing, Speed Dating, Glow Yoga and Nationals Game Happy Hours. Soak up the fun-shine!

Sign up for a league​ // ​See the summer events

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Oliver Freeman’s goal is to have at least one Arlingtonian on a World Cup-winning team by 2030.

Freeman’s soccer program, Love the Ball, is launching its first Arlington camp this summer in a partnership with the Arlington Dept. of Parks and Recreation.

The four-day camp is planned to run from July 22-26 at Kenmore Middle School (202 S. Carlin Springs Road).

“Most of the time, we are doing soccer, but one thing that really interests me when we came to this country is soccer is not number one,” said Freeman. “It’s not the most important sport. Looking outside, I don’t see kids playing that. Back home in England, that’s all kids do.”

Every day is themed around a different country and technique, like a Brazil-themed day focused on dribbling or a Germany-themed day focused on passing. Freeman said kids are encouraged to wear clothing or colors from that country on those days.

The camp is aimed at kids ages 4-12 and costs $250 for full-day classes.

According to the program’s website, Freeman coached with the famous Chelsea Football Club in the U.K., coaching players in community sessions, holiday camps and advanced centers.

The Love the Ball program started in Britain in 2012 and came to the U.S. in 2016. Freeman said over the last few years they’ve seen growth and currently have 10 coaches working in about 20 schools throughout the region, but this is the first year the program has operated in Arlington.

Freeman said being chosen as a partner by the parks department is a strenuous process, but he’s hoping if this year goes well the program can expand with more camps. The partnership promotes Love the Ball through Arlington’s summer camp catalog and gives them access to the Kenmore Middle School field.

“I really hope to instill a love for the game,” Freeman said. “It’s not just a camp. Hopefully, they go home and start kicking the ball around. They have to do stuff on their own time if they’re going to be good at it.”

For the most part, Freeman said he’s also yielded to the American terminology of “soccer” rather than “football.”

“You have to choose your battles,” said Freeman. “Unfortunately, kids get too confused. If you say football, they’ll start trying to grab the ball. Sometimes I have kids from South America or Europe, and I call it football to them and their parents.”

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The 22nd annual Armed Forces Cycling Classic, proudly brought to you by the Boeing Company, is the regions premier cycling event with fun for the entire family all cycling interests and abilities!

The weekend kicks off with our Challenge Ride, a non-competitive and traffic-free ride, Saturday morning in Crystal City. Participants enjoy a 10 km course, traveling past the Pentagon, up to Rosslyn and back. The event begins at 7 a.m. and all riders must be off the course by 10 a.m.

Riders completing 3, 6 or 9 laps will receive bronze, silver or gold finishers medals.

This year, we also invite participants of the Challenge Ride to help support our official beneficiary, TAPS. Those that raise more than $200 receive a limited edition TAPS cycling jersey.

Following the Challenge Ride on Saturday, professional and elite amateur teams from the U.S. and abroad, begin the weekends racing with the Crystal Cup. Then, the prestigious Clarendon Cup, will take place on Sunday in Clarendon, and will crown the weekends champions.

2019 Armed Forces Cycling Classic Schedule of Events:

Saturday, June 1 — Crystal City

7 a.m. — Challenge Ride
10:20 a.m. — Amateur Race
11:15 a.m. — Women’s Pro/AM Race
12:35 p.m. — Kids Race (FREE)
12:45 p.m. — Men’s Pro/AM Race

Sunday, June 2 — Clarendon

8 a.m. — Amateur Races
10 a.m. — LIVE BROADCAST BEGINS (www.monumentalsportsnetwork.com/afcycling)
10:05 a.m. — Women’s Pro/AM Race
11:30 a.m. — Kids Race (FREE)
12 p.m. — Men’s Pro/AM Race

For more information on the event, the live broadcast and VIP Viewing, visit www.CyclingClassic.org.

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Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

In a shocking playoff game, Toronto Raptors star Kawhi Leonard won the series against the 76ers with a buzzer-beating three-point shot.

The tense moment of the ball bouncing precariously around the rim of the basket kept viewers glued to their screens and sharing the moment across social media.

Within moments, Ballston-based company BreakingT was turning it into a t-shirt.

BreakingT turns popular sports moments into authorized fan paraphernalia produced with a rapid turnaround, cofounder and CEO Alex Welsh said.

“The sports fan apparel market is a massive market,” Welsh said. “You can look it up, it’s between $25-$30 billion globally. It’s a global industry. We have found with our data-driven, real-time approach that there’s absolutely a demand.”

The company recently celebrated its five-year anniversary and Welsh has ambitions to keep growing. The company raised $400,000 in angel investments in 2017 and hired its first full-time employee. Now, Welsh said his goal is to raise $2 million to expand licensing and marketing.

“One of our biggest corporate objectives is to make our service and company indispensable,” Welsh said. “We have deals now with 30 pro sports teams. They see the value in what we do — the social value in these big moments.”

Beyond just tracking trending sports moments on social media, the company also has a revenue-sharing agreement with SB Nation — a blogging network owned by D.C.-based Vox Media — where team blogs promote those viral moments and BreakingT’s associated paraphernalia.

Welsh said the NBA playoffs have been a big focus lately. The group has a license from the NBA Players Association that allows them to make official merchandise.

“We’re looking for the very specific moments in these games and what the fans are talking about,” Welsh said. “When he shot the ball at the buzzard, the basketball bounced four times on the rim before it went in. Everybody was holding their breath. It was a massive moment for Toronto fans.”

Welsh said the company’s proximity to D.C. let it build a relationship with the Washington Nationals, which Welsh credits for helping to put BreakingT on the map. From there, the company was able to expand into partnerships in other locations and sports, like a partnership with the Carolina Hurricanes.

Welsh said one of his favorite sports moments captured on BreakingT apparel was when a team leaned into being called a “bunch of jerks.”

“A sports broadcaster called the [Carolina] Hurricanes players a bunch of jerks because they started doing choreographed celebrations on the ice,” Welsh said. “It was breaking with the tradition of hockey, but fans loved it. Our social data monitors were going off about this moment. The team leaned into that, and that’s been one of our biggest hits of all time. We sold over 20,000 units of that one shirt.”

Photo via Facebook

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Arlington County has a plan to lure in fitness-lovering tourists with retro sports ads.

The County Board is considering accepting $10,000 in state funds for a marketing campaign designed to attract exercise enthusiasts to Arlington, as the state celebrates the 50th anniversary of the “Virginia Is for Lovers” slogan.

staff report to the Board said the Arlington Convention and Visitors Service (ACVS) will use the money to promote sports tourism in the county:

The goal is to attract travelers from at least 50 miles away to stay in Arlington hotels on vacation. Centered on the fall race season and major Arlington-based events like the Army Ten-Miler and Marine Corps Marathon, ACVS’s initiative will appeal to fitness-focused leisure travelers through retro, 1969-style visuals and sports accessories, along with creative storytelling via blogs, videos and national social-media influencers.

The item is included in the Board’s agenda for its meeting this Saturday.

If approved, the county would accept $10,000 from the Virginia Tourism Corporation and apply the funds to the Arlington’s Economic Development Commission.

“This fall, ACVS will use the grant funds to collaborate with local fitness and neighborhood organizations to fuse Virginia’s ’50 Years of Love’ campaign with the idea that ‘Arlington is for Fitness Lovers,'” said the report.

The report also noted the county’s 2018 ranking as the fittest American “city” — a title it won again this week.

Photo via Arlington Sports Hall of Fame

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Morning Notes

It’s Bike to Work DayUpdated at 9 a.m. — Today is Bike to Work Day and in Arlington eight neighborhoods are hosting pit stops for the annual event. [Twitter, Twitter]

W-L Crew Team Wins State Championship — “The Washington-Lee High School girls varsity eight won its first state championship in 30 years at the recent regatta at Sandy Run Regional Park in Occoquan.” [InsideNova]

RIP I.M. Pei — Famed architect I.M. Pei, who designed Potomac Tower in Rosslyn, has died at the age of 102. [Associated Press]

‘Click It or Ticket’ Returning — “As the Memorial Day holiday approaches, Arlington County Police are reminding all drivers of the importance of seat belt use. This annual campaign is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) national Click It or Ticket high-visibility enforcement effort that runs from May 20 to June 2, 2019.” [Arlington County]

Millionth MAGA Hat Stored in Arlington — “The one-millionth official Make America Great Again hat ever made is currently locked away at President Donald Trump’s campaign headquarters in Arlington, Virginia.” [Breitbart]

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Arlington’s sometimes controversial Public Spaces Master Plan was approved in a unanimous vote by the County Board on Thursday (April 25).

The idea of the update is to provide a framework for the county’s plans to preserve natural resources and public activities as part of the broader comprehensive plan. However, the meeting launched discussions over whether the county relies too much on paved public spaces, and how sports fields and mountain biking fits in.

Michael Hanna, a member of the Environment and Energy Conservation Commission, noted that while the plan would add to public spaces, more needed to be done to differentiate green space from other uses. County Board Member Katie Cristol agreed with Hanna later in the meeting, saying moving forward the county would need to do more to separate those uses.

“For a long time in our site plans, we’ve let concrete be public spaces,” Cristol said. “Plazas have a role, but in recent years [we] have tried to recognize the nature of biophilia.”

During the years-long public engagement process about the plan, which was last updated in 2005, arguments emerged over what shape Arlington’s public space should take. County staff said there were several issues raised by the public in the final stretch of the approval process that would require future assessment after the plan’s approval.

One source of public consternation throughout the planning process was what critics said was inflated estimates of demand for sports fields. Peter Rousselot, an ARLnow columnist and leader of the Parks4Everyone advocacy group, argued that athletics fields were being over-reserved rather than over-used, an inefficiency leading to an artificial appearance of demand.

County Manager Mark Schwartz noted that the county is reviewing its scheduling process. The plan includes analyzing field utilization to improve data on current and projected uses as a priority for the plan.

The final version of the plan also swapped the earlier estimates of future need with a more general arrow indicating whether demand is expected to increase or decrease. The language concerning the need for two additional diamond fields by 2035 was changed from “Arlington will need…” to “Arlington could need…”

Still, Justin Wilt, a member of the county’s Sports Commission, stood by the earlier projected needs and said his commission urged the construction of at least one multi-use athletic center in Arlington, citing a lack of indoor recreation activities in the county.

Another group advocating for a space in the plan were mountain biking enthusiasts. Several mountain biking advocates attended the meeting, including a parent who said he had to take his children out to Reston to access mountain biking trails.

“I’m here to support off-road cycling facilities in Public Spaces Master Plan,” said Grant Mandsager, a public speaker at the hearing. “These facilities are in high demand and can be a great benefit to Arlington residents.”

While staff said there was a demand to add mountain biking-specific paths to the plan, the potential impact on natural resources in areas those paths would cut through would require further study.

“The advisory committee felt this issue raised too late in the process,” said Hanna. “To proceed with mountain biking… all ramifications need to be examined, particularly the threat to natural resources.”

In the end, the approved version of the plan settled on:

“Interest was also expressed in mountain biking, however, prior to exploring potential locations for mountain biking, the community would need to have a more robust and broad conversation.”

Parks4Everyone said in a statement this weekend that it was pleased with the final Public Spaces Master Plan, which “has the potential to address community needs, maintenance, and field priorities through data-driven transparency and prioritization of financial resources and land being appropriately allocated.”

“Only after residents pushing, Commissions digging in, and a decisive January 8th Civic Federation vote… did the PSMP become more reflective of the core issues affecting our parks,” the group said. “The PSMP needed to convey the priorities and needs of the vast majority of Arlingtonians including more trails, green open space parks, and natural areas.”

The final version of the plan also included several recommendations highlighted as actions critical to the success of Arlington’s public space system:

  • Add at least 30 acres of new public space over the next 10 years.
  • Secure or expand the public spaces envisioned by sector, corridor and other plans adopted by the County Board – including the Clarendon Sector Plan, Virginia Square Sector Plan, Courthouse Sector Plan, Rosslyn Sector Plan, Crystal City Sector Plan, and Columbia Pike Form Based Codes – and ensure they provide amenities that meet the county’s needs.
  • Utilize level of service as a planning tool to manage public space assets efficiently.
  • Analyze athletic field utilization to improve data on the current use and assess future athletic field needs.
  • Ensure access to spaces that are intentionally designed to support casual, impromptu use and connection with nature.
  • Complete the implementation of adopted park master plans.
  • Develop park master plans for all new parks or when renovation of an existing park requires a major rearrangement of park amenities.
  • Ensure and enhance access to the Potomac River, Four Mile Run and their tributaries while improving the tree canopy, native vegetation, and other natural resources along waterways.
  • Expand Arlington’s network of connected multi-use trails.
  • Update the Urban Forest Master Plan and Natural Resources Management Plan through a combined process.
  • Protect, restore, and expand natural resources and trees

Prior to the County Board’s 5-0 approval of the plan, Chair Christian Dorsey noted that few parties would be fully pleased with the compromises made in the plan.

“It’s an exceptional document that reflects an extraordinary effort,” said Dorsey. “I realize there are people engaged in this project who aren’t thrilled with everything that they see, but again, if we take that non-specific, line by line lenses and look at it comprehensively, we have to recognize that this is a tremendous step forward.”

Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick

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Next week, Kenmore Middle School will be recognized as one of the country’s top five schools for including special needs students in its community.

The Special Olympics selected Kenmore last fall and will present the Unified Champion Schools National Recognition Program award next Friday, April 12, from 1-2 p.m. at the middle school.

Winning schools were chosen based on demonstrating “excellence” for including special needs students in sports and youth leadership, among other benchmarks.

The award is being presented alongside ESPN.

Yorktown and Washington-Lee high schools are also Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools, according to a map of participants.

The program reported that nationwide 6,500 schools participate in the program, which allows 272,000 students to participate in sports inclusive of special needs.

The Unified Schools Program is managed by the Special Olympics and funded via a grant from the U.S. Office of Special Education Programs, per its website.

Separately, President Trump recently backtracked on his administration’s plan to cut funding for the Special Olympics after public outcry mounted in support of the program, reported Politico.

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A pawn shop in Crystal City has not one but two of the most rare items around: Lombardi trophies. And that’s not to mention the Super Bowl rings.

Eric Rizer, the owner of Royal Pawn at 507 23rd Street S., says a former Denver Broncos player — he wouldn’t say who — has parted with the two Super Bowl rings and trophies, which date back to the team’s championship 1997 and 1998 seasons.

The trophies are replicas, made by Tiffany & Co. and about 75 percent of the size of the real trophy, of which only one is made for each Super Bowl-winning team. Starting players are eligible to buy the replicas after winning the big game, Rizer said, adding that he has verified the authenticity of each with Tiffany via an engraved serial number.

While the sterling silver trophies are more rare than the Super Bowl rings, the rings come with a higher price tag thanks to what they’re made of: 14-karat gold and a combination of white and canary yellow diamonds.

The trophies are on sale for $10,000 each, while the single-horse ring is $25,000 and the double-horse ring is $30,000, Rizer said. He said interest in the NFL’s highest prizes has been high, with kids frequently stopping by to gawk at the trophies and rings, which the store allows.

Rizer says he even brought one of the trophies to the nearby Crystal City Sports Pub for its Super Bowl viewing last month, attracting lots of attention.

While Rizer would not reveal the name of the seller, he did say that it was a Pro Bowl-caliber player who — despite playing for the Broncos — currently lives in the D.C. area.

Royal Pawn opened in Crystal City in 2017 and has other locations in Vienna and Alexandria. Rizer said he had been “dying to open” along 23rd Street S. in Crystal City and is now doubly excited about the location, given the arrival of Amazon’s new office campus, which is currently under construction.

More on the rings and trophies from Royal Pawn’s Instagram account:

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You are seeing that correctly, folks. This is one of the most rare sets available ANYWHERE! Pictured are Denver Broncos Super Bowl Players Rings AND Trophies from both the 1998 and 1999 Super Bowls! These pieces are guaranteed 100% Authentic and are from a starting player who was also retired in Denver’s Ring of Honor! The Trophies are solid silver and made by Tiffany & Co. Only starting player and coaches are eligible to receive a copy of the Lombardy. Give us a call today for more information, or stop on in and give them a look! (571)483-0041 #RoyalPawn #ArlingtonVA #DenverBroncos #SuperBowl #LuxuryJewelry #Tiffany #TiffanyandCompany #SportsJunkie #Collector #Denver #Colorado #SuperBowlRing #NFL #NFLnetwork #ForSale #Gold #Diamonds #JewelryAddict #MensJewelry #Championship #ChampionshipRings

A post shared by Royal Pawn Of Crystal City (@royalpawnofcrystalcity) on

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