Footballs are again filling the air. Thomas Dale, Bird, Matoaca and Meadowbrook will again be providing the thrills of Friday Night Lights as four of the finest programs to be found anywhere. Excitement is high as the coaches have been preparing their troops throughout the month of August to take the field this week. As I have said many times in this column, you owe it to yourselves to get out and support these programs and all they represent.
In the college ranks, The University of Virginia opens their season hosting the Richmond Spiders. The folks in Charlottesville feel that this will finally be their year. For the last decade, the ‘Hoos have played second fiddle to that other program in Blacksburg. Better recruiting and a third year under Coach London makes this a put up or shut up season. Locals Morgan Moses and Anthony “Ant” Harris stir local excitement. Meanwhile the Hokie train keeps rolling as Frank Beamer continues to hit 757 hard enabling him to replace outgoing players with no apparent drop-off. Logan Thomas appears to be the next Cam Newton. Coming fast in the rearview mirror, the ODU program has gone from infancy to the big-time in five short years. The toughest ticket in town is now in Norfolk.
On the pro circuit, RGIII is the real deal. Elaborate defenses will challenge him, but his presence will bring renewed excitement to Redskin fans. The massive Steeler Nation that populates local watering holes may have some competition, especially with the retirement of James Farrior.
Lance Armstrong has been the big news this week. The man who has battled cancer while doing the impossible in cycling surprised the world by waving the white flag, choosing not to fight the charges of USADA. In spite of passing some 600 drug tests, it appears doping evidence may just be too overwhelming to fight. Armstrong may be stripped of his titles, but the good he has done through his foundation will continue to help those families fighting against cancer. His foundation has paid particular attention to those of limited means. Lance Armstrong has put together an incredible record in the sport whose reputation for performance enhancing drugs and procedures rivals only professional wrestling.
Our home team, the Washington Nationals find themselves atop the National League East entering the last month of the season. For Nationals’ fans, it has been a fun ride from worst to first. It looks like a thrilling month lies ahead as Richmond’s other favorite team, the Atlanta Braves are just behind the Nats. Around here, this pennant race could be one for the ages.
Finally, I extend an invitation to our readers to get off the couch and jump into the race. The Kiwanis Club of Chester is sponsoring a 5K race on October 27. The Kiwanis Club uses this race as a fundraiser to support local high school key clubs, The Chester Arts Foundation, and local food banks. Kiwanis funds always remain local (www.chesterkiwanis.org). A week prior to the 5K, on October 20, CCHASM will be sponsoring the Spirit of 76 Bike Tour. Participants will traverse their choice of either 76 or 40 miles of Chesterfield County countryside, raising money for emergency food and financial services in our community (www.cchasm.org). Last but not least, Chesterfield Parks and Recreation is sponsoring a family kayak tour at Henricus this Friday, Aug. 31. Fun and informative, this leisurely paddle begins at 4 p.m. Details: 804-318-8735.