Arlington, VA

Dog parks, basketball courts and volleyball courts will reopen Friday, along with gyms and restaurant dining rooms.

Arlington County announced that it was reopening the additional park facilities as Northern Virginia enters Phase 2 of the reopening. The county previously reopened athletic fields, batting cages, tennis courts, tracks and picnic shelters last Friday.

Arlington Public Library, meanwhile, will offer book returns and pickup service at Arlington Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street) starting Monday, June 15.

Under state guidelines, the Phase 2 reopening will allow restaurants to open indoor areas at 50% capacity and indoor gyms to open at 30% capacity. Social gatherings of up to 50 people will now be permitted.

In a press release about the reopening today, Arlington County encouraged residents to continue taking safety precautions to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection.

“Arlington will maintain a Safer at Home strategy, with continued recommendations for social distancing, teleworking and requiring individuals to wear face coverings in indoor public settings,” the county said.

The press release also contained a gentle reminder that parking restrictions were never lifted during the pandemic.

“The public is reminded that parking meters are being enforced,” the county said. “Motorists should be particularly mindful of posted signage in commercial areas as businesses are beginning to reopen.”

More from Arlington County, below.

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The volleyball coach at Marymount University knows a thing or two about the sport. Off the court, he’s a professional player, himself.

This summer, coach Hudson Bates will compete in pro beach volleyball tournaments in Seattle, Los Angeles and Chicago, according to a university press release. In between competitions, Bates will also be gearing up for the next volleyball season at Marymount.

“It keeps me busy,” Bates said. “I usually go from playing in a beach tournament over the weekend to recruiting at an indoor club tournament during the week.”

Bates is the university’s first men’s volleyball coach. The program was started three years ago and Bates was hired a month before the first season started.

“We had to scramble to put a roster together from nothing,” he said. “They called us the Bad News Bears. But I got hooked up with a couple of players. We found a few who were already here who had played in high school. We even had a few who had never played before.”

The first year, the team ended with a 9-20 record. Last year, they went 14-20, but this year Bates has high hopes, he said.

“Getting those wins is just like a drug,” he said. “It keeps you going back for more.”

Bates started off as an indoor volleyball player, playing  in college at George Mason University. After graduation, he spent two years as an assistant coach for the school, while also training with the USA National Team. Bates has also played professional volleyball in Puerto Rico and Qatar.

Back and knee pain forced him off of the indoor court and outdoors onto the beach.

“Now I like playing on the nice, soft sand,” he said.

Despite the pain from playing indoors, Bates will often demonstrate moves for his players and join them in practice. This helps the players to learn, said Tomasz Ksiazkiewicz, a junior volleyball player at Marymount.

“We always talk about leading by example and Coach Bates always lives up to that rule,” Ksiazkiewicz said. “I have never seen him take days off either at the gym, court, or his office. If you see him around he’s always working on something or helping others out.”

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Sand volleyball at Quincy Park (photo via Arlington Parks and Recreation)There are dozens of lighted athletic facilities in Arlington’s parks — like turf fields, basketball courts and volleyball courts — but not a single sand volleyball court is among them.

At least one Arlington resident thinks that should change. Mikael Manoukian, who says he’s an Arlington native, told the County Board on Saturday that the county has 26 lighted rectangular fields, 19 lighted diamond fields and dozens of lighted basketball and tennis courts.

“There are 11 sand volleyball courts and none are lighted,” Manoukian said. He advocated putting lights on the volleyball court at Quincy Park in Virginia Square, which is currently undergoing the design process for a renovation.

“Every other facility at Quincy Park — the basketball court, tennis court, soccer field, diamond field — has lights,” he said. “And there’s good tree coverage if light pollution is an issue. Perhaps money could be found outside the maintenance fund to do that later.”

County Department of Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Susan Kalish confirmed that there are no lighted sand volleyball courts owned the county. In fact, she said, sand volleyball lighting hasn’t even been formally proposed, as far as she’s aware.

“I’ve never heard about that before, that would be a new one,” she said. “So many of the other sports have user groups or things that, and volleyball doesn’t necessarily. There’s no one coming forward to say a lot about that.”

There is some good news for Arlington volleyball players, however. There are two privately owned, but publicly accessible, lighted sand volleyball courts at 2451 Crystal Drive in Crystal City.

Photo via Arlington Parks and Recreation

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