36°Mostly Cloudy

by Samantha Moore — November 16, 2016 at 1:35 pm 0

The Williamsburg Field Site Evaluation Workgroup, the citizen body charged with weighing in on the thorny issue of whether an athletic field near Williamsburg Middle School should have lights, is set to have its 21st meeting tonight (Wednesday).

The workgroup is preparing to write its draft report, which will be presented to county commissions next month and reviewed with the Arlington County Board in January before a final set of recommendations is presented to the Board in February.

Earlier this month the workgroup held an open house at which those on both sides — for and against lighting the artificial turf field — presented their case. ARLnow.com spoke to a number of people at the meeting.

“I’m for the fields,” said Chris Smith, a nearby resident. “I think it’s fantastic that we have the resources that we do in Arlington, and the utility of the turf fields is only expanded by having them lit at different times during the day. It gives us more time on the fields, particularly give the children more time on the fields, as the days get shorter, through the winter and I think that’s only a good thing.”

“I’m probably one of the four or five houses that are closest… whatever the effects could be I would probably feel them as much as anybody else,” Smith added. “But as a member of the local youth sports community and as a father of three children, two of whom are at Discovery [Elementary], I think it’s a better investment with the lights there.”

A number of supporters said their kids play soccer and having a lighted field closer to home — currently they must travel to Gunston Middle School or Long Bridge Part to play at night — would benefit far more residents than the lights would, potentially, negatively affect.

Opponents, however, said in their presentation that the area around the field is a “historically dark and quiet neighborhood” and lighting the field would be a slippery slope leading, perhaps, to turning “all of Arlington County into a big city with big-city traffic, noise and lights.”

“I live close to the field, my kids went to this school and we already lived through building Discovery school, the elementary school, which has been fine, actually,” said a lighting opponent who did not give her name. “But this will have games going at night, I don’t know how many nights a week, late at night. They already have games it seems, a lot, all day, all weekend. It seems like it’s just too much for the neighborhood and the lights will disturb everybody’s sleep and rest and just the peace and quiet of the neighborhood.”

“I just don’t think you have to play soccer 24/7,” the lighting opponent continued. “You know, enough is enough.”

County Board member Christian Dorsey attended the open house and said the lengthy community process — which started in September 2013 — is intended to give all residents plenty of opportunity to shape the county’s ultimate decision.

“We put together a workgroup because this is not an easy issue to decide or deliberate about,” Dorsey said. “The Board wanted to make sure we gave individuals from communities, affected communities who are also part of interest groups to really go deep into the issues so that they could give us all the perspectives that we needed to make a decision. So, this is kind of a — not the culmination — but it’s nearing the end of their work and this is really a useful way to take what they’ve learned and share it with the wider public.”

“We need to make an informed decision,” Dorsey concluded, “which is what I look forward to.”

by ARLnow.com — November 10, 2016 at 10:45 am 0

Revised Bluemont Park baseball field planThe Arlington County Board on Wednesday approved a compromise plan for a baseball field renovation at Bluemont Park.

The $720,000 plan to renovate Athletic Field No. 3 at the park, which would have converted a run-down baseball diamond to a fenced-in field with new dugouts, bleachers and other furnishings, was met with opposition from some local residents.

To balance the desires of the opponents, who mostly objected to the fence, and the supporters, who say that the county needs more fields for youth sports, the new plan removed about 20 percent of the fencing from around the field.

“When games aren’t in play, you’ll be able to walk through the area,” said County Manager Mark Schwartz. “There’s still space for Frisbee, picnicking and walking your dog. But when a game is in play, you’ll get a good baseball experience.. and a safe one.”

Schwartz also noted in a press release that the controversy — opponents insisted that they were blindsided by the plan even though a public meeting about it had been held and it was approved by the County Board months before opponents organized — pointed to a need to reconsider Arlington’s public outreach on such projects.

Schwartz acknowledged that the County’s engagement process in planning for the renovations, which included a community meeting and digital communications, was not successful. The concerns of those opposed to the fence became known to staff and elected officials only after the County Board approved the construction contract in July 2016.

“We are working to improve the County’s processes for engaging the community across County government,” Schwartz said. “I’ve asked our new Assistant County Manager for Communications and Public Engagement, Bryna Helfer, to report back to me in early 2017 with recommendations.”

Construction of the new field is currently underway.

The full press release about the County Board’s action, after the jump.

(more…)

by ARLnow.com — November 10, 2016 at 9:30 am 0

Trump cutout goes out with the recycling after Election Day (photo courtesy Ari P.)

David Black Convicted, Sentenced for Wife’s Murder — An Arlington County jury this week found Arlington Ridge resident David Black guilty of murdering his wife. Bonnie Delgado Black was found stabbed to death in her home, which was just blocks from her estranged husband’s house, on April 17, 2015. Yesterday the jury recommended that Black serve two life sentences. [NBC 4, WTOP]

County Board Ditches New Year’s Day Meeting — Eschewing a long-standing tradition of holding its first meeting of the year on New Year’s Day, the Arlington County Board yesterday voted unanimously to hold its 2017 organizational meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 3. “We still will start our year off with the community, but without forcing employees to give up their personal and family time on a holiday,” said County Board Chair Libby Garvey. [Arlington County]

Retail Space for WeWork in Crystal City — The County Board on Saturday voted to convert 440 square feet of the WeWork and WeLive building in Crystal City to ground floor retail space, at the request of WeWork. No word yet on what kind of a retailer may be moving in. [Arlington County]

More on Park Protests — “Our Man in Arlington” columnist Charlie Clark has tackled the dual controversies of the baseball field fence in Bluemont Park (the Board acted on that yesterday, article coming soon) and the proposed Williamsburg Middle School athletic field lights. Clark concluded: “Popular sports for kids, peaceful green parks: competing Arlington virtues.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Evolent Health Stock Soars — As of 10 a.m. the share price for Ballston-based Evolent Health is up more than 12 percent today and nearly 70 percent for the year. The tech firm reported a narrower-than-expected loss and higher-than-expected revenue in the third quarter of 2016. [CNBC, Yahoo]

Board Approves Loan for Apartment Renovations — The Culpepper Garden affordable apartment complex for low-income seniors will receive needed renovations thanks to a $9.9 million loan from Arlington’s Affordable Housing Investment Fund. The County Board unanimously approved the loan yesterday. The renovations are expected to begin in the spring and will require tenants to temporarily move to other units on site while their units are renovated. [Arlington County]

Photo courtesy Ari P.

by Katie Pyzyk — November 9, 2016 at 3:45 pm 0

Simone Biles visiting Arlington gymnasts - photo courtesy Arlington Dept. of Parks and Recreation

A group of young gymnasts has been doing a lot of jumping and dancing around. This time it’s not for one of their performances, but rather because they won a visit from Olympic gold medal gymnast Simone Biles.

Members of the Arlington Gymnastics program were granted the visit today at Barcroft Sports and Fitness Center as a reward for their efforts in selling tickets to the Kellogg’s Tour of Gymnastics Champions, which takes place at the Verizon Center on Thursday.

The Arlington Gymnastics program consists of about 200 girls on the Arlington Aerials team, about 40 boys on the Arlington Tigers team and more than 1,000 weekly gymnastics class participants of all ages. They are all welcome to attend the special meet-and-greet with Biles.

Twenty-five of the young gymnasts also will be a part of the show at the Verizon Center tomorrow, according to Arlington Gymnastics employee and coach Sonja Hird Clark. The children will be a part of the opening act and for a time will share the stage with Olympians, who will be performing on various pieces of equipment.

Arlington Gymnastics membersAs far as today’s Biles visit in Arlington, Hird Clark says it’s exciting for the local gymnasts to be able to see an Olympian in the gym where they train.

“The kids work so hard at this sport and it’s so exciting for them to have the chance to see an Olympian,” she says. “They overcome mental blocks and fears when they see a gold medalist walking through that door.”

The Arlington Gymnastics program is subsidized by Arlington County through the parks and recreation department. Hird Clark says it gives members of all socioeconomic statuses a chance to get involved in gymnastics.

“One of the things that excites me about our gym club is it’s all walks of life,” she says. “We have every type of child in our community… and that’s inspiring to me.”

Photo (top) courtesy Arlington Dept. of Parks and Recreation

by Katie Pyzyk — November 1, 2016 at 1:35 pm 0

The following is the third in a weekly series of articles about a “day in the life” of companies at the MakeOffices coworking space in Clarendon. The mini-series, which will run this fall, is sponsored by MakeOffices.

Move over Willy Wonka, the employees at SharpSeat are now the ones offering golden tickets. Whether for concerts or sporting events or theater performances, SharpSeat hooks up secondary market buyers with their dream tickets. The service essentially “is like StubHub, but cheaper,” say co-founder Andrew McCulloch.

He and the other two co-founders, Mike Williams and Brad Kurtzman, met while attending James Madison University and moved to Northern Virginia to take jobs after graduating. They attended a lot of ticketed events upon moving to the area and found themselves giving advice to friends looking to buy good tickets, too. But there was one major problem.

“There’s a ton of fees that we got sick of paying when shopping around on other sites,” McCulloch says. “We saw an opening in the secondary ticket market.” That’s when they decided they could do it better.

The three did a lot of research on secondary market ticket sales and ended up using their industry knowledge to start SharpSeat as a side project. “We found the average person didn’t know to look any further than Stubhub for secondary [tickets]. We saw an opportunity there to give them a better alternative,” Williams says.

They all eventually left their jobs to work full-time on SharpSeat. “We basically wanted to find a way to make tickets cheaper for the end customer,” McCulloch says. “We knew if we could find a way to keep costs down and still get access to the same tickets the big guys were getting, we could pass the savings on to customers.”

Their average day is a lot different now. The employees live in Virginia Square — two live together and the other lives down the street — so the MakeOffices Clarendon location where they work makes for an easy commute.

“One of the best parts is not having the commute around D.C.,” McCulloch says. He also found it important to stop working from home every day. “Keeping work and life separate was big for me because working in my kitchen all the time I’m [distracted]… Plus, here we’re surrounded by a bunch of other entrepreneurs that are getting things done.”

Being among other entrepreneurs has helped the employees stay motivated when doing their daily tasks, which include maintaining the website, coordinating with site developers, researching what events are coming up and fielding calls from the customer service team. And according to Williams, one of the big challenges they constantly face is marketing.

“For every business, [marketing] is probably 90 percent of the battle,” he says. “Just getting the word out there and getting people to visit the site, more than just your family and friends.”

Thanks to the business’ growth since launching two years ago — there is currently about $2 billion worth of tickets listed on the site, although it fluctuates seasonally — the team recently has been able to hire out for help with that marketing burden.

“Now we’ve hired a marketing firm to help us and we’re really looking to expand,” Kurtzman says. “This is our first business so we kind of learn as we go. We had to teach ourselves everything.”

They also outsource much of the customer service to a team in Chicago, but not all of it. The co-founders all use their venue expertise to give advice to customers who contact them looking for tips on purchasing the best tickets.

“So often people ask what’s the best value and where’s the best place to sit,” says McCulloch. “We know where you’re going to get a better value… Just little intricacies like that help out when we’re talking to clients.” Williams agrees, adding, “We have good knowledge of all the D.C. venues so we help people out” with getting the best ticket for their money.

To remain experts in the industry, the three often do offsite work — attending different types of events locally as well as traveling to other cities to check out their venues. “Obviously, it’s really fun to do that, but it is a part of what we have to do [for research],” Williams says.

Kurtzman explains that traveling to sites is how they gain knowledge of the best seats so they can offer direct customer support. “StubHub doesn’t really do that kind of thing,” he says.

When the SharpSeat employees aren’t traveling, they take advantage of the amenities in the MakeOffices Clarendon coworking space.

“Getting dedicated office space around here… is pretty unrealistic, especially for a small company like us,” says Williams. “Even for something half as nice as this, if you want a dedicated space the rents around here are so much that it just never really made sense to us. When this space opened up we couldn’t believe how cheap it was for what you get.”

One of the perks included in that price is a set of rotating taps of regionally-brewed beers. The SharpSeat co-founders say they like to head to the kitchen to try out new brews, relax and meet employees from the other businesses in the coworking space.

“Plus, I love the massage chairs,” Brad says, as the others laugh. “I usually use them once a day.”

Between the MakeOffices benefits and the satisfaction of doing a job they love, the SharpSeat team experiences something many typical employees don’t: They actually enjoy going to work.

“At my old job, I hated going to work. Now I love coming to this office,” Kurtzman says. Williams agrees, saying with a smile, “It’s kind of crazy that we’re voluntarily coming into an office after we wanted so badly to get out of one.”

by Katie Pyzyk — October 25, 2016 at 2:35 pm 0

The following is the second in a weekly series of articles about a “day in the life” of companies at the MakeOffices coworking space in Clarendon. The mini-series, which will run this fall, is sponsored by MakeOffices.

Just like former Utah Jazz point guard John Stockton made a career of enabling Karl “The Mailman” Malone to score, the workers behind LeagueApps spend every day making assists. They strive to set up every community team that uses their management service with a slam dunk experience.

The app-based service provides a management platform and web presence for youth and recreational sports teams. It organizes tasks such as online registrations, schedules, score databases and payment collection. “It’s kind of like an all-in-one app for sports organizers to facilitate all the logistics of their registration and what they need to do during the season for communicating with their members,” says Steve Parker, LeagueApps co-founder and chief technology officer.

The service has about 50 employees in two offices: one in Arlington and one in New York. Although the New York contingent works out of a standalone office, Parker says the Arlington employees benefit from being in the MakeOffices Clarendon coworking space. “One of the things that I like, and I think everyone likes, is being around these other companies. The energy of this place is great,” he says.  “As a company, we see the value in having a nice working environment for people. [It’s] an intangible benefit that will pay dividends because they’ll feel more motivated and productive.”

Each day starts with the team having a stand-up meeting to go over what each person is working on, then the team disperses for their tasks. Although a lot of research, planning and strategy occurs in the Arlington office, much of what happens daily at this location is writing and testing code. Some businesses consider that an insular activity that can be performed remotely, but Parker believes staff members benefit from collaborating at the office.

“We can have in-person, live interactions, which are so valuable,” he says. “There’s a lot of questions that come up, issues that we encounter. Being able to talk through things and go to a whiteboard and discuss it live instead of just typing it… is a lot easier and more efficient.”

Having the two offices in different cities also creates a natural separation between the different tasks performed at each. Arlington houses the team behind the software platform and is considered the LeagueApps technology and product hub, whereas the New York office has a greater focus on business aspects such as sales, management, marketing, finance and customer success. “It’s a nice, clean delineation between what we do and they do,” Parker says.

The environment doesn’t just have a positive effect on employees. The conference rooms come in handy on the days when employees bring in clients for meetings. “The conference rooms and breakout rooms are key. We use those all the time,” says Parker, noting that clients are impressed when they visit the space.

So far, the business model appears to work. Parker says LeagueApps has nearly doubled in growth each year since its launch in 2011. “Just like any startup we’ve worked out a lot of kinks and have gotten to a point where we have a good model and we have a strong product-market fit. We’re continuing to refine that,” he says.

On occasion, the refining happens while interacting with employees at the other businesses in the coworking space. “Sometimes there’s technologies that we’re using that we can have conversations about and gain some quick insights,” says Parker.

One business improvement that has helped LeagueApps is choosing a handful of sports to focus on — such as lacrosse, soccer and baseball — and catering the platform to each, rather than having one generic platform that could be used for all sports. Customers get more value with the sport-specific focus because “different sports have slightly different ways of doing things,” Parker explains. “So we’ve built our platform to be customizable to all the different things that sport organizers do… our account executives and our support services are all tailored by sport.”

Although the team buckles down and works hard at the office, there’s plenty of room for being social. Such as when amidst the quiet typing and clicking, one employee nonchalantly teases another and everyone laughs. That spirit spills over from the work day into evening happy hours, sometimes on-site (MakeOffices provides a selection of locally-brewed beer on tap from four kegerators in the kitchen) and sometimes at nearby Clarendon watering holes.

“The space and location are good for team building activities,” Parker said.

(more…)

by ARLnow.com — October 21, 2016 at 9:15 am 0

Halloween-themed real estate sign in Lyon Park

Home Prices Declining? — For the past two months, the median home sale price in Arlington has declined year-over-year. For September the median sale price was $515,000, down 10 percent compared to one year earlier. [WTOP]

Record Absentee Voting Expected — The total number of absentee ballots cast in Arlington is expected to reach 43,000 this year, smashing the county’s previous record of 35,000 in 2008. Arlington’s elections office hired “considerable extra staff” this year to meet voter demand. [Arlington County]

Va. Voter Registration Extended — To make up for a system failure before the Virginia’s voter registration deadline, a federal judge has ordered registration be extended through midnight tonight. [Politico]

Budget Guidance Anticipates Gap — County officials are projecting a $5.4 million funding gap for Arlington’s FY 2018 budget. That assumes a 2 percent growth in revenue, a 2.9 percent growth in expenditures, service levels remaining unchanged and the tax rate remaining at $0.991 per $100, which the county notes is the lowest rate in Northern Virginia. [Arlington County]

Arlington Bank Robber Pleads Guilty — Arlington resident Budder Khan, 26, has pleaded guilty to robbing two banks in Alexandria. [Alexandria News]

Local Man Competing in Maccabiah Games — David Ostroff, an Arlington resident, has been chosen to represent the United States on the 35+ Masters basketball team in the 20th World Maccabiah Game in Israel next summer. Ostroff is currently raising money for his sponsorship. [Maccabi USA]

Note: Photo (above) does not imply sponsorship or endorsement.

by ARLnow.com — October 12, 2016 at 1:00 pm 0

Google Earth view of Williamsburg Middle School and Discover ElementaryThree years, 18 working group meetings and 886 pages of posted documents later, the county is nearing the final stretch of a public process to decide whether to add lights to the athletic fields at Williamsburg Middle School.

The Williamsburg Field Evaluation Work Group will be holding a public meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 2 to discuss the process and gather more community input before drafting a report for the County Board.

“Come see what was learned, ask questions and share your input,” said a description of the meeting, which will be held from 7-9 p.m. at the middle school (3600 N. Harrison Street).

The process started in September 2013, with the County Board’s approval of a new elementary school — later named Discovery Elementary — on the Williamsburg site.

Controversy over whether new synthetic turf fields should be lighted — which pitted soccer parents against a group of residents who live near the school — prompted the Board to call for the creation of a working group. The group’s charge was finally approved, after a bit of additional intrigue, in 2015.

The 15-member group was tasked “to lead a robust community process to evaluate whether or
not to light the Williamsburg synthetic fields.” At issue: whether resident concerns about excessive light, noise and traffic at night outweigh the county’s usual policy of lighting synthetic fields to maximize use (primarily for youth sports) and return on investment.

Earlier this year the timeline for the working group was pushed back: it’s now expected to prepare a draft report in November and finalize its recommendations in January. The County Board is then expected to consider the group’s recommendations at its February meeting.

Image via Google Maps

by ARLnow.com — September 8, 2016 at 3:45 pm 0

Ben RoethlisbergerPittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is helping to buy protective vests for Arlington’s hard-working police dogs.

Roethlisberger’s foundation will be distributing a grant to Arlington County Police in order to purchase ballistic vests for the department’s seven K-9s. Roethlisberger and the Steelers will be playing the Washington Redskins on Monday.

“During the 2016 NFL season, The Ben Roethlisberger Foundation will be distributing grants to K-9 units of police and fire departments in the cities and surrounding communities of each regular season away game for the Steelers,” said the quarterback’s website. “The Foundation will also distribute several grants to the Pittsburgh area. Ben invited police and fire departments across the country to submit proposals detailing their needs.”

“Our K-9s are integral members of the Arlington County Police Department, both in the field and from a community outreach perspective,” ACPD Chief Jay Farr said in a statement. “We are grateful to receive this grant so we can provide our K-9s with ballistic vests as an added layer of protection to keep them safe.”

Last season the Roethlisberger Foundation made more than $170,000 in grants to K-9 units across the country. Roethlisberger has pledged $1,000 to the foundation for every touchdown he throws this season and is seeking additional donations from fans.

by ARLnow.com — August 17, 2016 at 9:00 am 0

A mobile food vendor on Columbia Pike

County Considering Rideshare Subsidies — Arlington County is studying a plan that would subsidize rides on Uber and Lyft for residents who live in “more remote residential areas of the county where bus service to Metro stations is limited.” The plan, if implemented, would “replace some fixed bus service in north Arlington.” [Washington Post]

APS SOL Results — The results of the Virginia Standards of Learning tests are out. In response, Arlington Public Schools released a press release with the title “APS Continues to Make Progress in Closing the Achievement Gap.” It says: “In 2016, the APS met or exceeded the state passing rates on 28 of 29 assessments, across all grade levels and subjects. APS exceeded the state passing rates by 5 to 13 percentage points on 16 of the assessments.” [Arlington Public Schools, InsideNova, Washington Post]

APS Doesn’t Make Newsweek ListUpdated at 2:05 p.m. — Newsweek is out with its annual list of the top 500 public high schools in the country, and no Arlington public school made the list. In fact, only four Virginia high schools made the list. In 2010, every APS high school was on the list. APS says it has not been submitting stats to Newsweek over the past few years. [Newsweek]

Boxing Coming to Arlington This Weekend — A nine-card boxing bout will take place at the Crystal City Hilton hotel Friday night. [Fight News]

ACPD Wreath-Laying Ceremony at ANC — Arlington County Police brass laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery on Monday. [Instagram]

Lost Dog On the Pike — A woman is trying to find her lost chihuahua, which was last seen near the intersection of Glebe Road and 9th Street S., near Columbia Pike. [Twitter]

by Adrian Cruz — August 12, 2016 at 3:05 pm 0

Arlington fielded some of the country’s top youth athletes in water polo last month.

Capital Water Polo has two of the top 25 youth water polo teams in the United States after competing in USA Water Polo’s 2016 Junior Olympics in San Jose, Calif., from July 22-30.

The club, which trains at the pools at Washington-Lee, Yorktown and Wakefield high schools, sent more than 50 athletes ages 10-18 from five teams to the tournament.

The under-14 girls’ and under-12 boys’ teams were Capital Water Polo’s top squads, finishing 22nd and 24th, respectively. The under-18 boys’ team finished 44th in its fifth appearance in the tournament and the under-16 and under-14 boys’ teams finished 76th and 79th, respectively.

“I am incredibly proud of all our athletes for their dedication during the tough 10 months of training leading up to this championship tournament, as well as for their formidable play against the top teams in the nation,” coach Leslie Enwistle said in a statement. “Many of our competitors’ programs have been ranked nationally for over 20 years. We demonstrated that our coaches’ commitment to effectively develop all our athletes was successful at the highest level.”

Photos courtesy of Teresa Byrne

by ARLnow.com — August 4, 2016 at 6:00 am 0

Remember playing kickball, soccer and softball at school with your friends, without a care in the world?

We all remember those days, playing all afternoon until the sun set… and then moving indoors, having fun with friends before and after dinner.

Don’t settle for leaving those great days in your past — United Social Sports is offering tons of great social sport league and events near you this fall.

Meet new people (or join a team with your friends) and have fun while staying active. Players can join solo, with a small group or a full team.

Registration is now open… but act fast, Fall registration always fills up fast.

Choose your favorite sport to see open leagues near you:

Or check out one of these upcoming events:

pubcrawl-cta-img-630 Rebellion-event-email-CTA-630

The preceding post was written and sponsored by United Social Sports.

by Michael Doyle — June 16, 2016 at 5:30 pm 0

Penny Ingles (photo by Michael Doyle)Arlington resident Penny Ingles needed a mid-life course correction.

So she picked up the javelin, of all things, and now the career firefighter who turns 40 on Friday is standing out, in more ways than one.

“It’s not every day you see a firefighter with javelin in hand,” Ingles acknowledged.

A captain with the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service, currently serving as Metro’s fire department liaison, Ingles has been preparing for the U.S. Police & Fire Championships to be held June 18-25 in San Diego.

She aims to win.

Last year, months after she first started training with coach Daniel Colina, Ingles placed second in her age group at the World Police and Fire Games in Fairfax with a javelin throw of 16.25 meters. She likewise placed second in her uncrowded age group at the USA Track & Field Masters Outdoor Championships held in Jacksonville.

Ingles has successfully hefted other events, as well, including the hammer throw, shot put and various weight throws. Along the way, she’s lost weight, won medals and made herself over, several decades after competing on the Yorktown High School track and field team.

“This has been a tough road, being an adult learner,” Ingles said. “I will sometimes get discouraged because I am not throwing as far as I think I should. My coach has to remind me javelin takes years of practice to learn and master.”

Ingles started from scratch, as must others. Only 18 states currently allow javelin at the high school level, and Virginia is not among them. The fear of spears dropping down like errant drone strikes also complicated Ingles’ search for an Arlington practice field.

“‘You can’t be throwing that around here,'” Ingles said, recounting the typical response from various authorities.

For the sake of perspective, the qualifying distance for women’s javelin at this year’s U.S. Olympic Team try-outs is 54 meters. So far, Ingles’ personal best is about 18 meters. On the other hand, javelin is not strictly the prerogative of youth. Last year, a Long Beach, California police detective in her late 40s out-threw all other women competitors at the U.S. Police & Fire Championships.

Raw will counts.

“Penny is very competitive, oh my goodness,” said Colina, an Arlington resident who set a school javelin record at Keene State College in New Hampshire. “She’s someone who has high goals. Whether she has a 12, 15 or 18-hour shift, she’ll still come back and train.”

On a recent weeknight, Ingles arrived for her weekly session at Chinquapin Park next to T.C. Williams High School. Earlier that day, she had juggled myriad emergencies. A Metro worker had collapsed near the East Falls Church station. A wheelchair-bound person had fallen onto the train tracks. A few insignificant fires needed extinguishing.

After changing into her workout clothes, Ingles conferred with Colina. She is recovering from a foot injury, so must account for that. After some warmups, she laced her high-top spiked shoes and took up her javelin: A seven-foot, four-inch domesticated weapon that weighs 600 grams and places unusual demands.

“Javelin,” Ingles said, “is extremely technical.”

Throws, Corina explained, should be launched at a 37-degree angle, with adjustments for wind conditions. He reminded Ingles to keep the javelin “glued to the temple” as she prepared to toss. The run-up and launch itself is an exercise in controlled aggression, a test of core strength and flexibility. Injuries are but one quick twist away.

“The javelin throw in particular is such a violent motion, when you generate speed and then almost have to come to a sudden stop, and use your hips to drive forward again,” Colina noted.

Together, while the sun settled, Ingles and Colina advanced up and down the Chinquapin Park field: The firefighter throwing, the coach guiding, both perfecting their atypical craft.

“I like the fact that I compete with other people who are older than I,” Ingles said, “just really special older people who have the drive to do their best, not necessarily to win.”

Michael Doyle is a reporter in the Washington bureau of McClatchy newspapers. Follow him at @MichaelDoyle10.

by ARLnow.com — June 10, 2016 at 9:45 am 0

Star Wars-themed Grace Community Church service in Arlington (Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman)

Petition for New High School — A petition urging Arlington Public Schools to build a new high school, rather than cramming more students into existing high schools, has nearly 1,000 signatures. The petition states that APS is considering “double shifts, online classes, and mandatory off-site internships” to help with the high school capacity crunch. [Change.org]

Hero Cab Passenger Saves the Day — A passenger in a Barwood taxi jumped into action, grabbed the steering wheel and steered the cab to safety after the driver passed out behind the wheel. The incident happened Thursday morning on the GW Parkway between Chain Bridge and Key Bridge. [WJLA]

No Quidditch in Arlington After All — Those hoping to see some elite-level quidditch playing this weekend will have to hop on their brooms and head to Annandale. Major League Quidditch was unable to conjure up an available field on which to play in Arlington. [ARLnow]

Del. Lopez on Trump — In an op-ed in El Tiempo Latino, Del. Alfonso Lopez (D-Arlington) writes: “It is rare to find bipartisanship in a presidential election year, but Trump’s bigoted comments about a Latino judge are so horrifying that many Republicans are joining Democrats in decrying them.” [El Tiempo Latino]

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

by Jackie Friedman — June 7, 2016 at 12:30 pm 0

Major League Quidditch screenshot (via mlquidditch.com)

Update at 4:30 p.m. on June 9 — The match has been moved to Fairfax County. It will now be taking place Saturday, June 11 from 3-6 p.m. at Phillips Programs (7010 Braddock Road) in Annandale, according to the league.

Update at 1 p.m. on June 9 — It seems that Major League Quidditch may need a magic wand to make its Arlington match happen this weekend. Originally set to take place at Tuckahoe Park, organizers then switched the venue to Thomas Jefferson Middle School. But that location is also in doubt.

From an Arlington Dept. of Parks and Recreation spokeswoman:

Not sure about how they thought they’d play in Tuckahoe Park, which is under construction. But we got a request to use the public field at Thomas Jefferson Monday night. We let them know that field is for drop play and can’t be reserved. And with this short notice (and with all the makeup games dues to the rain last month), we don’t have a field for them. They didn’t respond back to us so I’m not clear what their plans are. I guess they will work some magic?

From Major League Quidditch’s Amanda Dallas:

We’re working on securing a field at a school in Annandale… We’re just double-checking the field is the right size. Usually our scheduling isn’t this chaotic.

(Updated at 1:15 p.m. on June 8) An athletic competition, inspired by novels about a young wizard, is coming to Arlington this weekend.

The Washington Admirals, the D.C. area’s local quidditch team, will play the Ottawa Black Bears on Saturday, June 11 at the Thomas Jefferson Community Center (3501 2nd Street S.). Tickets are free and all ages are encouraged to attend.

According to the team roster, the Admirals consist of 28 players and a head coach. The team competes in Major League Quidditch, a national league with a regular season that runs from June 1 to August 30. Sixteen teams are divided up in four geographic divisions — North, South, East and West.

Quidditch, for those who are unfamiliar with the sport invented by author J.K. Rowling and featured in her Harry Potter novels (and movies), is described as a competitive, co-ed and semi-contact sport that’s a mixture of dodgeball, rugby and tag. Major League Quidditch rules call for teams of a half dozen players running around a field with brooms between their legs, trying to score points on a field utilizing a series of balls and hoops.

Quidditch is played by “thousands of athletes all over the world,” according to a CBS News profile of the sport that aired in April.

×

Subscribe to our mailing list