New aquatic center in Arlington gets closer to reality

It looks like the much-discussed aquatics center in Arlington may become a reality. The project will cost no more than $67 million and goes out for design-build bids this summer. Construction should begin by the end of 2018. (The Washington Post)

As reported by the Washington Business Journal, the facility “is still expected to include a 50-meter pool, 300 spectator seats, two 700-square-foot “wet classrooms,” the 10,000-square-foot family/teaching pool, 10,200 square feet of health and fitness space and a 1,600-square-foot community room. The project will also include the construction of a 10.5-acre park.”


It’s time to Go Ape!

The Fairfax County Park Authority just welcomed one of the coolest new attractions to Fairfax County. Go Ape! is a brand new, and first of its kind in Fairfax County, woodland obstacle, and zip line course. Go Ape! invites you to “Live Life Adventurously” – and they give you the chance to do just that. This is a place where you can challenge yourself to do something new or spend an incredible day with your family, friends, or co-workers.

Several years ago, the possibility of bringing this to Fairfax County came to the Park Authority. While the first thought was to put it in a different park, South Run soon emerged as the best fit. South Run is one of the epicenters of active recreation in the county. The ReCenter has a pool and provides the opportunity for people to work out, take classes or sign up for summer camps. There are also three full size and two small sided rectangular fields and two diamonds. There’s an awesome playground, an indoor turf field, tennis courts, and miles of trails.

And this focus on active recreation makes Go Ape! a natural addition. The new course was carefully integrated into the park’s topography so customers can explore the canopy while enjoying great views. Trails below the course allow people to cheer on their friends in the trees and gives them a chance to see what they are missing. Continue reading

Sports help kids’ mental health

In a recently published article entitled Bidirectional Associations between Sport Involvement and Mental Health in Adolescence, researchers from the University of Wollongong, Australia found a direct connection between a child’s involvement in team sports and positive mental health. The entire study is worth reading (note: it is behind a paywall). This is one of their important conclusions:

However, there is consensus that sport can facilitate the development of psychological well-being (17). A recent systematic review found that participation in organized sport during childhood and adolescence is associated with higher levels of self-esteem, greater social skills, and fewer depressive symptoms (14). In addition, sport participation is associated with psychological health in childhood (5), and children who drop out of organized sport show fewer psychological strengths and greater psychological difficulties than those who maintain sport involvement (35). Moreover, noninvolvement in sport puts children at a 10%–20% increased risk of mental health problems (35). Importantly, the findings of both a systematic review by Eime et al. (14) and the original findings of Vella et al. (35) suggest that the psychosocial benefits of organized sport are independent of those that can be attributed to general physical activity.

This is more evidence that youth sports can have a powerful impact on kids. Continue reading

Truly cool turf fields?

I remember coaching a U12 travel soccer team in an August tournament when one of the players started running funny. She took a few strange steps and then ran back and picked something up. Then she came running over to me to show me that the entire cleat portion of her shoe has simply detached itself. The glue had literally melted and the shoe fell apart. That is how hot that turf field got on that sunny August day.

Heat on turf fields is a persistent issue. Professional players, college players, high school players, youth players – all know how tough it can be to spend a hot, sunny June afternoon playing on turf.

But now there may be an affordable solution. Field Turf’s CoolPlay is a new material which is literally put on top of the field’s infill. The material acts as a top dressing and significantly reduces the temperature of the field by up to 35 degrees. and the additional cost is only about $35,000.

And the first of these fields to be built in Fairfax County will be at Great Falls Nike Park. Working in partnership with Great Falls Soccer Club, field 7 will be converted to this new Field Turf Cool Play system. Great Falls will contribute $855.000 of the projects $1,250,000 total cost. The rest of the funds will come from a combination of County and Park Authority sources.



DIII moves to eliminate football two-a-days

I saw an interesting post from the NCAA in my Facebook newsfeed this evening.

This jumped out at me. Two-a-days are one of those traditions that has always seemed baked into football culture. That’s what August is all about. The pros do it. Colleges do it. High schools do it. Doing otherwise would be crazy! Or would it?

Science is changing the sport of football. It’s actually changing all sports. We’re learning more about the way heat impact athletes of all ages. We’re learning more and more about concussions. We’re learning a lot more about overuse injuries.

We need to weigh what science is teaching us with all the promise and benefits of sports (at all ages). We need to continue to make sports safer for every athlete while doing everything we can to preserve the integrity of the game.

Golf’s Nomads

This is a great story I saw a little while ago on 60 Minutes Sports. It’s a story about overcoming discrimination in golf starting almost 70 years ago. This is a story of perseverance and commitment to a game these men – the Nomads – love. It’s long – almost 18 minutes. So sit back and enjoy a sports story I had never heard anything about but that we should see.

“A coach’s plea to parents”

There was a great column in Canada’s The Globe and Mail at the end of May. It’s really an open letter from a volunteer youth soccer coach to the parents of the team she coaches and all sports parents throughout the world.

Coach Alison Belbin lives in Nanaimo, B.C. The whole column is worth the three minutes to read. Here are her closing thoughts.

Criticizing your child’s coach might simply be a reflection of your insecurities or long-held regrets as a former player. That’s okay. We all have them. As adults we can understand this, but as a child, your daughter does not. She is being pulled in opposing directions between her team and her parent’s opinion of her team.

On her team, she is finding her identity and her place among her peers. It is here she will decide if that place makes her feel whole and satisfied, or if it makes her edgy and hungry for more.

Let her discover this, on her own.

Let her play.

Well said, coach!

New Facilities at McNaughton Fields Park

On Saturday, April 9, the Fairfax County Park Authority officially opened new diamond fields at McNaughton Park in the Mt. Vernon district. This was the conclusion of a $4.4 million renovation program funded through the 2008 and 2012 Park Bonds.

This was the ribbon cutting on completely renovated fields that have been the home of Woodlawn Little League since the 1960s. The project included the demolition of the four existing fields and the construction of a 90-foot diamond and a 60/70-foot diamond with grass infields along with a 60/70-foot diamond and a 60 foot diamond with skinned infields. Along with the fields, covered dugouts, bullpens, batting cages, bleachers, and fencing were also included. Continue reading

56th Annual Home Plate Awards Banquet

This past weekend, I attended the 56th Annual Home Plate Club Awards Banquet. It was a wonderful evening organized by Ron Tugwell, Rob Hahne and Joey Kamide. The event was co-hosted by NOVA Baseball Magazine.

Three people were inducted into the Hall of Fame. They included Mike Colangelo, Al Mccullock, and Dan Raley.

Mike Colangelo
Colangelo led C.D. Hylton to the Virginia Group AAA state semifinals as a senior in 1994 before his three-year career at George Mason University, which concluded with a 1997 season in which he hit. 418 with a .520 on-base average and 32 extra-base hits. The outfielder was drafted by Anaheim in the 21st round and would play in the big leagues with the Angels, San Diego Padres, and Oakland Athletics before retiring in 2006. Colangelo is the head coach at Charles J. Colgan High School and resides in Manassas.

Al Mccullock
A baseball and football coach at Herndon High School for 30 years, McCullock won 235 games and two Group AAA Northern Re­gion championships over 15 years as the Hor­nets’ head coach. After starring at Lee High School, he served as a three-year captain at Concord University in West Virgin­ia, then played for years with the Industrial League’s Springfield Rifles. Joins his father, Al McCullock Sr., in two capacities – in having a field named after him, and as an HPC Hall of Farner. McCullock is retired and resides in Leesburg. Continue reading