August-September 2011 - Concepts Direct, Inc.



August-September 2011 - Concepts Direct, Inc.
High School
Football Preview
With Head Coaches
DeFrancesco & Thomas
Football Mom For Dummies
A Field Of Dreams
Finding The Best
University For You
50 Ways to Feed
Your Lover...Pizza!
:: 2 ::
RobiOus Corridor :: August/september 2011
V o l ume 2 , Issue 4
A ugust / september , 2 0 1 1
Photos provided by parents Dohn Guyer, Stephanie Haysley, and Janice Weaver.
Football: Coaches Interviewed
Gregory DeFrancesco of
James River High School
Kevin Thomas of
Midlothian High School
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Surviving The Road To College
Caitlin Phelan, Contributing Writer
Notes On The Run
50 Ways to Feed Your Lover
Exit Laughing
Monica Cassier, Contributing Writer
Jenna Weaver, Contributing Writer
Michele Dixon, Contributing Writer
Colleen: Michele, keep up the
good work! (The Grass was
Community Vote: Bruesters
or Cold Stone? 5 to 1
Cold Stone
Doris: The new Midlothian
Athletic Center is fantastic!
Community Vote: Chipotle
or Qdoba? Tied!
Gregory DeFrancesco
Head Football Coach - James River High School
Tell me a little about your background,
where you have coached or taught
and what brought you to James River
High School.
Teaching and coaching was a mid-life
career change for me. A series of seemingly
unrelated events led me to James River, but
upon reflection I think it was really a God
thing. . . to get me where He wanted me
and where I would have the opportunity
to pursue my true purpose. It’s actually a
very long story, but in a nutshell. . . I was
born and raised in Baltimore. I came to VA
to attend Hampden-Sydney where I played
football and baseball in the late 70’s. After
H-SC, I left behind football which had been
a huge part of my life for 15 years. I pursued
a corporate business career and moved to
Cleveland with Sherwin-Williams in the
early 80’s. I was there for about ten years. In
the early 90’s my Dad was diagnosed with
cancer for the first time. Being an only child,
I was returning to Baltimore frequently to
help my parents. I was looking to make a
move back to the mid-atlantic area to be
closer to my folks and I accepted a job in
Richmond with Circuit City. Somewhere in
there my son started playing little league
football in the Chesterfield Quarterback
League with Swift Creek. Somehow my
wife volunteered me to help coach and
I fell in love all over again with the game
that had been such a big part of my life.
It was during that time, that I would talk
about leaving behind my corporate career
one day to teach and coach. Teaching
and coaching had been something I
considered coming out of college, but the
financial realities of teaching turned me off
to the idea.
Then my Dad, who beat his cancer the
first time, developed a different cancer. He
and my Mom came to visit one weekend,
he got very sick and was never able to
return home. My wife and I cared for him
in our home for 7 months before he died.
During that time, and during many long
talks with my dying Dad, my ideas about
what was important began to change. I
was contacted somewhat out of the blue
about helping at James River and I talked
more frequently about making a career
change. My wife, who was much braver
than me, kept telling me that if I wanted to
do it I should make the change while I was
still relatively young. Shortly after my Dad
died, I made the change to coach at James
River. I didn’t have a teaching license or a
teaching job, but it overwhelmingly felt
like the right thing to do. With the help
of divine intervention all of the pieces fell
into place in short order and I have been
coaching and teaching at James River
ever since. It was the right place for me to
be. It has been a great experience for my
family. My wife followed me into teaching
a few years later and she is still teaching
fashion marketing at Cosby. My son
graduated from James River and played
for me. Both of my daughters have helped
with the football team since they were in
kindergarten. They enter their senior and
junior years this fall. I teach seniors in US
Government and I tell each class every year
that the most important thing they can do
is find their purpose and that when they
do they will find true happiness. I have
found that at James River.
What do you have the players working
on this summer?
The goal for the summer is to work hard
when you are in town, and get away and
enjoy some family time and some summer
fun before the practice starts in August. We
had a five day camp with Middle School &
High School players in June. This gives us
an opportunity to get everyone together
and develop our relationship with the
local associations like Weaver, Robious and
Teaching and coaching
was a mid-life career
change for me. A series
of seemingly unrelated
events led me to
James River, but upon
reflection I think it was
really a God thing. . .
Providence. We participated in a 7 on
7 tournament at UVA right after school
ended and then the very next day we had
31 players and 4 coaches travel to Wofford
College in Spartanburg, SC for an intensive
team camp. The Wofford Camp was a great
experience for our team. It was tough and
challenging and our players responded
and made us very proud. That experience
really laid the foundation for the kind of
team we can become this fall. Since then,
we are working out on Mondays, Tuesdays,
Thursdays and Fridays in the morning and
participating in 7 on 7 on Thursday nights
at Deep Run. At this point, the goal of our
workouts is to climatize and get physically
ready to endure the rigors of two-a-days,
so that we can get the most out of our
practice time in August without allowing
fatigue or exhaustion to distract us
physically or mentally.
:: 4 ::
RobiOus Corridor :: August/september 2011
What are you looking to improve on for
the upcoming season?
During our June camp, the players
collectively set a team goal to win The
Dominion District title this year. In order
to accomplish that we must improve
defensively. We gave up a lot of points last
year. On offense we must do a better job
of eliminating drive stoppers like crucial
penalties, mental mistakes and turnovers.
We want to take our special team play
from average to excellent. The changes
we have made to scheme, approach
and implementation have all come
about through a focus on accomplishing
these improvements.
Who are some of the returning Seniors
that will play a significant role this
season? Who are you going to trust to
lead the team?
It has been my experience that our
teams with the strongest senior leadership
have been our best teams. We need
every senior to take ownership and play
a significant role. Returning offensive
starters Sam Hunt (QB / S), Austin Cundiff
(RB / CB), Nelson Harris (WR / CB) will
obviously be feature players. We graduated
a lot of talented offensive linemen. Senior
Mustafa Bahrami is the only returning
starter. He will be joined by seniors Bryan
Layne, Tyler Lucas and Rueben Blevins
who all saw significant playing time a
year ago. Senior lineman Kent Livesay has
worked extremely hard to put himself into
a position to contribute. How the offensive
line develops will determine how far we
are able to go offensively. Trey McMorris
(RB / LB) is another rising senior who has
had a good off-season and is expected to
contribute in a big way.
involvement of these parents and I hope
that by participating our volunteers feel a
closer connection to the team.
Who are some of the under classmen
that show promise?
We are excited about a lot of our
underclassmen. We think we have a good
core for several years to come. Mac Caples
and Craig Stevens, who both started every
game as sophomores last year, will play
even larger roles this year. Other rising
juniors who we expect to step up and shine
include Travis Haysley (S, WR) Austin Jones
(SS, RB), Tyler Shirley (WR, S), Wes Mason
(RB, LB), and Stacey Jennings (RB, WR, CB).
There are a host of others too numerous
to mention.
Describe your offensive attack.
We are a triple option based attack.
Think Georgia Tech, Navy, Wofford.
How are the parents and the booster
program effective in helping the players
and the staff at JRHS?
We have a dedicated group of football
parents who help in fundraising and a
number of tasks that we would be hard
pressed to accomplish without them.
Like most volunteer organizations that
group is made up of only a handful of
parents, we are constantly faced with the
challenge of getting more volunteers
involved to share the workload and not
burn out the volunteers that we do have.
The contributions range from working
at monthly Bingo fundraisers, running
concession stands, shooting end zone
video, taking and publishing sideline
action photographs and painting the
stadium field for game nights. The
players and coaches truly appreciate the
Describe your defensive attack.
We operate out of an odd front. Basically
a 3-4 base. Our intent is to maximize the
aggressive attacking nature of this defense
while maintaining sound gap control and
coverage responsibilities.
Will James River beat Midlothian
this year?
I thought Midlothian was greatly
improved last year. I think Coach Thomas
did a great job and the team clearly looked
on the right track. I know they have some
exciting young players who came out of the
Weaver program who will be moving up
to varsity this year and I expect their team
to be even better this year. When James
River opened in 1994 the Coal Bowl rivalry
was established with the winning team
keeping possession of the trophy until next
season’s game. The series currently stands
at James River 11 wins Midlothian 6 wins.
Midlothian won the first couple of years
and then the series was pretty even for the
first ten years. Since 2005 James River has
won six in a row. I expect the 2011 Trojans
to mount a great effort to take back the
trophy and we know that we will need to
play our best mistake free football to meet
the challenge and retain possession of
the trophy. 
:: 5 ::
RobiOus Corridor :: August/september 2011
Kevin Thomas
Head Football Coach - Midlothian High School
Tell me a little bit about your
background, where you’ve coached
or taught, and what brought you to
Midlothian High School.
After I graduated from Longwood
College, I was hired by my father (John
Thomas, head football coach at Colonial
Heights from 1979 - 2007) as an assistant
coach at Colonial Heights High School. I
was teaching at Swift Creek Middle School,
here in Midlothian, at the time, and was
driving 30 minutes to get to practice every
day. It was really wearing on me. About
the second or third week of the season, I
went with my father to trade films with
David Cooper, who was the head coach at
Midlothian. I had met him a couple times
before and mentioned to him that I was
interested in coaching closer to where I
lived. Sometime that spring he contacted
me and told me he had an opening. That
was in 1999 and I’ve been fortunate to
be here ever since. I was hired to teach
here about 5 years ago when there was
an opening. I actually interviewed at
James River for a P.E. job at the same time,
however the Midlothian job opened up at
Are these future Midlothian and James
River High School football players?
the same time, so I stayed. I am very happy
here, I feel blessed, the kids are great, the
administration is great, and the faculty is
When Dick Overton retired as AD,
Coach Cooper was hired to replace him.
One of his first big assignments as the new
AD was to find his replacement. Let me
tell you something, there is nothing more
intimidating than being interviewed by
the man you’ve looked up to for the last 11
years. I was very fortunate to get hired.
I’ve been around football my whole
life. As I said before, my father was a head
coach. He was actually my head coach.
When he retired, I told him that one day I’d
like to become a head coach and if I ever
got a head coaching job, I wanted him to
become my offensive coordinator. So true
to my word, once I got the job, I called my
father and told him, “I need you here.”
What do you have the players working
on this summer?
We are focused right now on building
cardio-vascular endurance, you know,
stamina, heat acclimation, getting them
together as a team, and functional strength
– a total body workout. Scott Jenkins, our
assistant wrestling coach, has been a big
help with summer workouts. We do a lot
our workouts outside because we have
to get the kids acclimated to the weather.
We are a small school, and we have a lot of
kids who play multiple sports - which I fully
support, but that means we have to make
the most out of the time that we have. We
have a core group of kids who have been
in the weight room consistently since the
season ended last year. They believed in
what we were starting to build and didn’t
want to let that slip. I’m very proud of the
hard work that they have put in to this.
What are you looking to improve on in
the upcoming season?
I think we had a hard time last year
with consistency. I feel like we made a lot
of good plays when we needed to, but
we also gave up a lot of big plays. For
example, I thought we played very hard
against James River but gave up some big
plays that we didn’t adjust to. As a coach,
I want to be more consistent and one of
my big goals is to prepare the kids more in
practice by getting them more repetitions.
Last year was more of a learning process
with the new terminology and schemes.
We did change things up but now that the
kids know our system, I want to do less
teaching and get more reps to have more
quality practices. Essentially, get the most
out of every minute.
Who are some of the returning seniors
you are excited about and who do you
plan on having lead the team?
Last year we returned most of our
skill positions, but had a young and
inexperienced offensive line. Most of
those skill position players are gone. We
graduated two of the best receivers in the
district. We had an all district fullback and a
three year starter at QB. Our skill positions
were “senior” heavy. They did a lot of good
things for us and will be sorely missed.
This year it is kind of flipped around. We
graduated only our center on the offensive
line, but the guards, tackles and tight end
are all returning, plus some key reserves
that got significant playing time last year.
Our left guard, Brian Jorgenson (5’ 11” –
285lbs.) has really come into his own. Our
:: 6 ::
RobiOus Corridor :: August/september 2011
left tackle Kaash McElroy (6’ 2” – 265lbs)
had a great year last year on both sides of
the ball. These are just 2 of a big group of
guys who will have a significant impact on
the line. Tight end Omar Howard is one of
the hardest working players I have ever
coached. Omar will play both ways for us.
We will rely on him heavily because he is
a natural leader. In our skill positions we
have gaps and there are some questions
that need to be answered but we will
know what we have before the first game.
I anticipate our consistency improving due
to our offensive line returning.
Who are some of the under classmen
who show promise?
We had a few sophomores last year
who showed promise. Madison Day
started at inside linebacker and led the
team in tackles. I’m looking for Madison
to grow as a player and to step up. Taylor
Stout, another sophomore, filled in when
we had an injury at tail back, so he will see
more carries this season. He is a very athletic
kid, very quick; I’m looking to see how he
improves. Daniel Jackson, a sophomore
back up QB from last year, who is very fast,
is a kid we may look at playing receiver
but still try to get him under center, too.
He’s athletic and needs to be on the field.
How are the parents and the
boosters effective in helping the MHS
football program?
I couldn’t ask for a better boosters
association. It is amazing what I don’t have
to think about as a football coach because
the boosters take care of it. They handle
virtually all of our fund raising needs. The
kids get team dinners every week. Our
end of the year banquet is amazing. So
many parents put so much time and effort
into making their son’s football experience
memorable. They are always working on
something. Our football rep, Bill Fischer,
took over having the field lined each week,
which was something the coaches used
to have to do. He formed a committee
of some hard-working dads who would
show up after a hard day’s work and get
out there rain or shine to get it done. If I
ever need anything as a coach, I know I can
go to Bill and he will do whatever he can to
help. We are very fortunate in this regard; I
know there are many schools in our district
that don’t have this type of support. I
appreciate their help so much.
What will the offense look like this year?
We are a pro style offense and I hope
that we run the ball a lot more. I think we
have a good offensive line and running
back, but let’s face it, anyone that knows
the other Coach Thomas knows he likes to
throw the football. He calls the offense and
has total control of it, so if we have a QB
that can throw the ball we will be throwing.
What will the defense look like
this year?
We do many different things on
defense, mainly because I can never settle
on just one thing, but we are an odd man
defense. We will play a 5 man front with
our goal being to stop the run. As we do
this, we will make adjustments accordingly
to compensate for a spread or passing
Help Support the MHS Trojans
[email protected] or call
Bill Fischer at 804 467-6635
offense. We tell our kids that if we can
stop the run we will have a big advantage.
. . this is a philosophy that I’ve learned
from Coach Cooper. We will use proper
techniques, read what offenses do, then
make our adjustments.
Will Midlothian beat James River
this year?
(Laughs) You know, I’d love to say “YES”
but they have had our number. It has been
6 years since we have won that game, they
have always found a way to beat us. They
have a very talented and well-coached
group. It is always a good game, but
unfortunately they have been on top the
last few times. They run a great program,
their off season program is wonderful,
they have a lot of kids coming out for
football, their kids really buy in to the
entire mindset of individual improvement
affecting their team’s performance and
all of this starts from the top. Coach
DeFrancesco spends a great deal of time
getting his team prepared all year round,
which is the reason for their success.
We’ve got a great group of kids. They
have worked very hard and are buying
into what it takes to be successful. We are
going to win games. I just can’t predict
when those games will take place or who
they will be against. 
:: 7 ::
RobiOus Corridor :: August/september 2011
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:: 8 ::
RobiOus Corridor :: August/september 2011
Surviving the Road to College:
Finding the Best University for Y-O-U! by Caitlin Phelan
As summer is coming to a close,
the reality of going back to school is
really starting to hit. If you’re a rising
senior, like me, this reality is hitting
HARD. Today I have the application for
my favorite school in hand (actually 4
copies of the application, thanks to my
wonderful Dad!) and I’m beginning to
count down the days until the early
decision deadline… which is less than 3
months away!
Thankfully, due to the major I’m
interested in and the specific size
and other details I am looking for in a
college, one university came knocking
a long time ago that I have secretly
known all along would always be my
calling… as long as I get accepted! If you
don’t fall into the small group of people
interested in early decision (which is
100% okay!), you may still be searching
for that perfect match, that “this is where
I belong” feeling, or that one building
or professor or cool person that makes
your decision click.
So, in honor of the back-to-school
season and those fast approaching
deadlines, here is my gift to you - a
complete run down on how to find the
university that best fits Y-O-U! For most
of us, unless you’re planning on going
straight to culinary school or some other
similar institution, you have two options:
a traditional education or a liberal arts
Liberal Arts
Liberal arts schools are growing and
continue to be praised for their large
amount (usually around 1/3 of your total
college credits) of general education
classes. Unless you already know that
you want to be an engineer or a doctor,
liberal arts schools are great because
they can help you discover what you are
truly interested in. Even if you go into
your freshman year with a major in mind
(the largest major for college freshmen is
“undecided”), these schools are known
for opening your eyes so wide you may
In honor of the back-to-school season
and those fast approaching deadlines,
here is my gift to you - a complete run
down on how to find the university that
best fits Y-O-U!
switch that major, possibly even twice!
Liberal arts schools tend to focus on
the extra experiences outside of the
classroom that create a well-rounded
student, such as internships and
studying abroad. If you have dreamed
of riding elephants in Thailand or
walking down the Champs-Elysees
with a nutella and banana crepe in
hand, studying abroad would probably
be very important to you. Liberal
arts institutions have a higher rate of
students who study abroad during their
time at the university (at some schools,
70% of students study abroad at least
once before they graduate!). You may
be thinking, “Wow, how do all of these
students manage to study abroad?”
Some liberal arts universities have
gone so far as to put into place a format
for their school called the 4/1/4 (instead
of the 2 semester system). This format
has a fall term and a spring term while
also having a January or May term. This
term lets students participate in offthe-wall classes such as examining the
success, from a business standpoint, of
NASCAR, and also allows for short 3-4
week study abroad experiences and
short internships.
When thinking about a liberal arts
institution, take into consideration the
cost and the size of the school. These
schools generally tend to be private
schools, meaning that they are not
funded by the state, so they cannot offer
in-state tuition. Besides not offering instate tuition, the tuition in general tends
to be higher. On the upside, the schools
usually are smaller schools, for example,
a few thousand students versus tens
of thousands. A smaller school means
smaller class sizes and professors who
actually know your name. Though the
athletic scene may be smaller at some of
these schools, for many students, having
your professor invite your entire class
over for dinner at their house is a neat
Continued on next page ➥
:: 9 ::
RobiOus Corridor :: August/september 2011
After hearing all of those interesting
facts and cool perks, you may already
have your mind made up. However, a
traditional education is just as awesome!
Traditional universities are not known
to have a long list of general education
requirements like liberal arts schools.
If you are 100% set on your major,
hearing this may want to make you jump
up and down! No general education
requirements typically mean that when
you get to college, you can jump into that
major you have been dying to explore.
However, if you are undecided, that may
sound a little scary. Academic advising is
available and with the help of a professor
and some research on your own, you may
just have to do a little extra searching
before school starts to find out what you
may be interested in for a career. From
the college searching I have done, I feel
that traditional colleges are generally
more focused on the classic areas of
study, such as engineering, medicine,
business, and law, as compared to the
more liberal paths of study, such as
psychology, teaching, communications,
and world languages.
Traditional universities usually don’t
place quite as much emphasis on study
abroad and internships as liberal arts
schools do. But these options are still
around and are plentiful especially in
certain majors and depending on how
strong the alumni connection is with the
Since traditional schools generally are
bigger state schools, the price is usually
lower than liberal arts institutions. State
schools also offer the less expensive instate tuition, too. If you are worrying
about the big size (since most state
schools are generally those big football
schools with anywhere from 16,000 to
56,000 students), do not worry, because
there are many traditional schools that
are smaller. The perks of going to a large
traditional school tend to evolve around
two words: school spirit.
Whether it is the crazy college town
connected with the university, the ESPN
televised football and basketball games,
or that every student seems to always
have at least one piece of school colored
apparel on, it can all be very alluring.
The Right Choice
No matter where you end up, whether
it is at a small liberal arts school or a
large traditional university, that school is
bound to be a good fit. As long as they
have the major you are truly interested
in and you are happy with your classes,
the people you are meeting, and all of
the activities you are participating in,
there ultimately is no way to accidentally
choose the “wrong” college.
All of this hunting and sorting and
finding is about choosing what fits you
best, personally, whether you feel at
home with 1,200 or 48,000 other people.
Happy searching! 
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:: 11 ::
1801 High Point Ave. • Richmond
• 358-5373
With this coupon. Not to be combined with other coupons or discount.
RobiOus Corridor :: August/september 2011
may apply. Offer expires 5-31-10.
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:: 12 ::
RobiOus Corridor :: August/september 2011
Hours of Operation
Monday - Friday
7:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.*
*Until 7 p.m. on Thursday
8:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Full Service Medical,
3746 Winterfield Rd.
In-House Labs
Located at the new Winterfield Place Shopping Center
Intersection of Robious Rd. and Winterfield Rd.
Senior Pet Care
Surgical, and Dental Facility
After Hours - 804.370.0829
Laser Surgery
Wellness Programs
Grooming for Dogs and Cats
Medically Supervised
Boarding Services
ACAC Members get 10% Off
50% off
an initial examination
fee for new clients and
$50 off dental cleanings.
(Must present ad for
discount) Call for details!*
:: 13 ::
RobiOus Corridor :: August/september 2011
*expires 10/01/11. Must present ad for
discount. Some restrictions apply.
Enjoy the pool all
year long at acac!
New indoor aquatics center coming fall 2011:
• family splash pool
• warm water pool
• oversized whirlpool
• lap swim pool
• activity pool
11621 Robious Road, Midlothian | 804.378.1600 | |
Live your best.
Corporate Outings
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For Bookings and more Information:
(Mid-Life Crisis)
:: 14 ::
RobiOus Corridor :: August/september 2011
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13301 Edmonton Drive
$749,950 | 5 Bedrooms | 6 Full / 1 Half Bathrooms
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The Gardens at
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$499,900 | 5 Bedrooms | 3 Full / 1 Half Bathrooms
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Robious Forest
3406 Robious Forest Way
$425,000 | 5 Bedrooms | 3 Full Bathrooms
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2721 Arrandell Road
$400,000 | 4 Bedrooms | 3 Full / 1 Half Bathrooms
3,316 Square Feet | MLS# 1111394
Napier Realtors ERA ® Dianne W Long (804) 897-3041
Queens Grant
3136 Queens Grant Drive
$690,000 | 6 Bedrooms | 4 Full / 1 Half Bathroom
5,893 Square Feet | MLS# 1120263
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Reeds Landing
2507 Lander Court
$780,000 | 4 Bedrooms | 3 Full / 2 Half Bathrooms
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11130 Buckhead Terrace
$519,000 | 5 Bedrooms | 3 Full / 1 Half Bathrooms
3,637 Square Feet | MLS# 1100069
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2800 Barrow Place
$625,000 | 5 Bedrooms | 3 Full / 1 Half Bathrooms
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Kings Farm
2910 Mount Hill Drive
$409,000 | 4 Bedrooms | 2 Full / 1 Half Bathrooms
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:: 15 ::
3506 Knights Run Court
$539,000 | 5 Bedrooms | 5 Full Bathrooms
4,184 Square Feet | MLS# 1109712
Napier Realtors ERA ® Dianne W Long (804) 897-3041
Real Estate listings contained in Robious Corridor Magazine are re-printed with permission and brought to you by Central Virginia Regional MLS 8975 Three Chopt Road, Richmond,
VA 23229
permissions were granted
by Independent
Brokers. Information is believed to be accurate but not guaranteed
and should be independently verified.
:: August/september
Notes On The Run
“Field Of Dreams”by Monica Cassier
The start of the school year is just
around the corner. We’ll head to the
store to buy mountains of school
supplies trailing our children who will
bear a look of pitiful resignation: the
summer is almost over. However, many
will take to the fields for the ritual of
Friday Night Lights. I love high school
sports. It’s a joy to see athletes who have
graduated beyond the ankle biter juice
box leagues, flinging themselves around
the field of play, passionate about sport,
really getting it. However, there is always
the few who wreck it for the many, who
exhibit bad behavior and ruin it for
everyone else. And it’s coming from the
bleachers: “REF! ARE YOU BLIND????
I’m talking about the parents. Not all
parents, just the nutty few. You know the
kind I’m talking about: they are pillars of
society, hold good jobs, keep their lawns
neat, help elderly ladies cross the street.
Put them anywhere near a place where
their child is locked in athletic combat
and they morph into a seething mass of
screaming irrationality. They know their
children’s sports stats thin-sliced to the
nth factor, but ask them the name of
their son or daughter’s math teacher and
they look at you like you’re speaking in
Aramaic. The cautionary tales abound
of over-the-top sports parents – their
patron saint is Marv Marinovich, who
started training his son Todd to be an
all-star quarterback at the tender age
of one month. His father wondered
how well a kid could be developed if
‘given the perfect environment’. So he
set out to create it forgetting that his
grand assumption neglected the very
real fact that his kid would eventually
have to inhabit a very imperfect world.
I think Todd probably woke up one day
and couldn’t even ask himself “what do
I want to be when I grow up?” It was
probably more like “WHO do I want to
be when I grow up?” He was just a big
grand experiment, an athletic monster to
his father’s Dr. Frankenstein. The kid who
was never allowed to have a Ding Dong
growing up has spent most of the last
10 years in rehab. The moral of the story
The deal is this: nothing kills the
fun of kids sports like parents. The
remedy is simple: we need to back off
and shut up. Period. I know whereof
I speak: My name is Monica and I’m a
recovering sports parent. The following
are my own stereotypes of over-thetop parents from my years of half-wit,
unscientific and wholly undocumented
soccer, football, hockey, figure skating,
lacrosse, swimming, tennis, crosscountry field research. Yes, I know:
several of the aforementioned sports
don’t use fields. Its allegory, get over it.
The Early Achiever
It’s a late summer football scrimmage.
Parents are standing along the sidelines
chatting, it’s a lovely late afternoon, the
sun is just beginning to set. The air is
fragrant with the smell of trampled grass.
If you were to look at the field, you’d see
novice football players and 4 coaches
trying to coax some form of organized
play out of them. It would – to the
untrained eye – look like an exercise in
cat herding. Next to you is a guy dressed
in business attire. He’s shed his suit coat
and loosened his tie. He stands there,
unsmiling. “Look at them. It’s pathetic.
You’d think those coaches would have
prepared them better. Look – they can’t
even run routes.” You look at him with a
My name is Monica
and I’m a recovering
sports parent.
mixture of amusement and confusion;
you wonder if he’s joking…you say gently,
“Yeah, but… the kids are only SIX.” You
hope you see some sense of logic enter
the mind of this guy, but NOPE: you’ve
met the Early Achiever. He (or she) is the
guy (or gal) that didn’t make the cut in
high school, or made the team but didn’t
do anything extraordinary. He has ‘it’ all
figured out. “It” is the reason why he/
she didn’t make the team and usually
heavily discounts an absence of natural
athletic ability. And he is still bitter about
it. On any given day his complaints are
like a Chinese menu of excuses and the
blame will fall squarely on the coaches,
the athletic organization, or the mom
who organizes the snacks. This guy may
never graduate to full-fledged screaming
in the stands because his kid will get
sick of the constant grumbling and give
up sports for something that will not
attract the glare of parental attention,
like Accounting.
The Tennis Mom
This sports parent almost exclusively
appears on girls’ tennis teams. They are
close cousins to their northern species,
The Figure Skating Mom. They themselves
typically belong to tennis clubs and are
:: 16 ::
RobiOus Corridor :: August/september 2011
active participants in the sport. They are
rarely seen out of their own jaunty tennis
apparel, and are always well groomed.
They have an overwhelming need to take
over the tennis program and turn it into a
junior version of the country club. They
have somehow forgotten that parental
participation shouldn’t extend beyond
the checkbook and minivan. Some ban
their daughter’s boyfriend from attending
matches because “it’s distracting”. Their
daughter’s seed on the team is inversely
proportional to their mood. If another
girl challenges their daughter for their
spot on the ladder, they get so fiercely
protective they make Tiger Mothers
look like pussycats. They demand a
buffet at each tennis match that typically
includes the following list of snacks: “A
sweet, a salty, Gatorade, bottled water,
sandwiches, 7-layer Mexican dip” which
is I believe more food than is needed
for all participants in all 27 stages of the
Tour de France. When challenged on
the need for a catered affair, they will
icily respond “IT’S TRADITION”. Do not
– under any circumstances – reply “So is
rampant obesity.” Jaunty tennis attire is
not appropriate wear for a rumble.
The Soccer Mom
Hasn’t this one been done to death?
Yeah, I think so.
The Lemon
This parent is pretty bitter. A close
relative of the early achiever, this parent’s
child somehow manages to stay with the
sport. The child can be gifted or not, a
starter or not. The complaints aren’t
usually about the performance of his/
her child but about other kids out there,
usually those that are better/faster/
stronger. There is an inherent need to
chip away at a performance. The amount
of kid-bashing that goes on would make
a Child Beauty Pageant Mother proud.
Anything is fair game: their equipment,
perceived dedication at practice,
performance on game days, their
ethnicity, shoe color, parents’ professions,
suspected mental defects. They often
accuse other players of cheating. You can
spot these people from afar by simply
looking for a guy who is surrounded by
other parents squirming to get away.
One of my son’s plays the cello, and I tried
to imagine a couple of parents engaging
in this behavior at an audition.
This is how I imagine it to go:
Parent A: Did you see Billy?
Parent B: Yeah. You know he’s going to get
the first chair, he’s so good.
Parent A: Pfft. I know, pathetic. Do you
know his private instructor? NOT EVEN
Parent B: Ok, but…
Parent A: And his parents? They have the
orchestra director WRAPPED AROUND
THEIR FINGER. He gets to leave early
because of his private lessons.
Parent B: Well, yeah, but the kid is nearly a
prodigy, they’re saying “Julliard”
Parent A: With that instrument? YOU’VE
GOT TO BE KIDDING ME. He doesn’t even
Parent B: Well the music he plays, it’s so
You get my drift.
The Thief
When I was growing up, there were
these two girls – a year apart in age who were incredibly gifted runners.
Ridiculously so. They were a year apart
and were breaking national age-group
records in middle school. Their father
was beyond intense. I mentioned him
to my dad a few weeks ago and he
replied “He was a monster”. If the girls
didn’t run the time he demanded he
was known to hurl empty soda cans at
them and scream at the top of his lungs.
I’m not sure if the girls ran out of fear or
the need to please but by the time they
were seniors in high school these girls
who had competed at the national level
were washed up, burned out, barely able
to win a local meet and rebelling hard
against their dictatorial dad. I competed
against these girls and despite their
handing me my rump in every single
meet, I really felt sorry for them. I’d see
them out on training runs and there was
no joy in their face. They’d be out there
pounding the miles with this look of – I
don’t know – maybe, uncontained fury. I
always wonder what happened to them.
I couldn’t imagine running with that
weight of my parents expectations on my
I used “Mr. G” as an example of the
over-the-top parent, and we’ve all seen
them out there. Their kid isn’t necessarily
a national caliber athlete – that is wholly
immaterial. The deal is this: they’ve stolen
the dream from their kid. Whatever
fun their child had is long gone and has
been replaced by the expectation to
perform at a certain level for the benefit
of the parent. Somehow the term “extracurricular activity” is lost in the equation.
They morph from reasonable people to
thinking the balance of the earth rests
in the outcome of the sporting event.
Somehow their entire ego is wrapped
up in it, that if their child (or child’s team)
fails, they have failed, they lose too.
They’ve forgotten the meaning of the
word ‘spectator’.
I witnessed perhaps the worst
example of this at a lacrosse game this
past spring when a father was thrown
out of the facility for verbally harassing
and threatening the referee. I watched
this man – who is probably a pretty
reasonable guy – spin up and out of
control the further his son’s team fell
behind. His intermittent shouts turned
into a full-throttled barrage of insults
at perceived missed calls, accusations
of favoritism and finally – the coup de
grace – threatening bodily harm on
the ref. Finally – after 30 minutes of the
Continued on page 22 ➥
:: 17 ::
RobiOus Corridor :: August/september 2011
One Day
Guest Pass
Try out our facility for
a day at no cost.
Call for details
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• Group Exercise
• Aquatics
• Tennis
• Basketball
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(804)-330-2222 • (804)-330-2247 (fax) •
:: 18 ::
RobiOus Corridor :: August/september 2011
by Jenna Weaver
Nothing beats a hot, cheesy pizza on
game day. Its the perfect food to share
with somebody while watching your
favorite team on cable, or grabbing a
slice from the concessions at the stadium.
Easy Pizza Dough Recipe
(serves about 4)
✽ 1-1/4 cup hot tap water
✽ 1 packet of active dry yeast
✽ 3 cups bread flour
✽ 1 teaspoon salt
✽ 1 tablespoon white sugar
✽ 2 tablespoons Olive oil
✽ 1 teaspoon garlic salt or any other
seasonings of your choice (I sometimes
like to add dried Italian herbs)
Pre-heat oven to 425º. In a bowl,
dissolve the yeast in the hot tap water
and let stand for around 5 minutes. In
another large bowl, combine the flour,
salt, sugar, garlic salt, and olive oil. Mix
with spoon. Combine with yeast mixture
and mix until well blended and dough
is tacky. (It should pull away from sides
of bowl) Cover and let rise until volume
has doubled, this will take around 3040 minutes. Turn dough onto greased
cookie sheet, pan, or pizza stone. Press
down and stretch out the dough with
the back of a spoon or your finger tips to
form the desired shape on pan. (If dough
is too sticky to work with, sprinkle a little
more flour on top.)
Top with your preferred toppings and
sauce. Bake in preheated oven until crust
is golden brown, around 20 minutes. Try
out new toppings and combinations. My
personal favorite is some combination
of salami, pineapple, mushroom, and
onion. The possibilities are endless when
it comes to topping your own pizza! 
:: 19 ::
RobiOus Corridor :: August/september 2011
Auto • Home • Business • Life
Exit Laughing: “Football Mom for Dummies”
by Michele Dixon
My future as a Football Mom was
sealed when my son was 6 months old.
The burden of carting Thomas, a grinning
pudge-ball, around on my hip during
a Fourth of July party was wearing me
down so I handed him off to my cousin,
Brian. A graduate of an NCAA Division II
school where he’d played both football
and baseball, Brian is a gentle giant with
a recruiter’s eye. He hefted Thomas up
and down a couple of times to gauge
his size, looked me dead in the eye and
said, “Shelly, if you let this kid play soccer
I will kill you.” Football was scary to me
so I encouraged Tom to try other sports.
Ignoring Brian’s threat, Tom played soccer
in 1st grade. He lost all enthusiasm for the
sport shortly after I kicked a soccer ball
straight into his “stuff”, as he put it at the
time. We tried basketball in 5th grade.
Tom, stocky and short (then), excelled
at lumbering up and down the court,
displayed the ball-handling skills of a
cinder block, and assumed the admirable
position of “Space Heater”.
Three months after the basketball
debacle, Tom announced that he wanted
to play football. I was horrified; Jim,
Tom’s step-dad, was triumphant. He shot
every one of my Football Mom concerns
out of the sky with constant Football Dad
propaganda. I heard “he’s not going to
get hurt,” and “football will be the best
thing for him,” so many times that it wore
me out. I filled out the Weaver AA form
and wrote a check.
Now, the things that I don’t know
about the sport of football would choke a
horse. I don’t care about the technicalities
and a playbook looks like hieroglyphics
to me. I do care, deeply, about retaining
my sanity and I love my kid to bits so
what I have learned, firsthand and from
other Football Moms, may serve as a
reference for the uninitiated. I give you
my perspective, a “Football Mom for
Dummies”, if you will.
Football Players Stink
There is no odor more pungent than
that of a football player immediately after
a hot, humid August practice. The smell
will drive you backwards, away from your
precious child. And, when said precious
child tells you that he’s offered a ride
home to three other players, you will find
yourself in hell’s foyer. The only way to
survive is by rolling down all the windows
and hanging your head out. All the
way home.
Care and Feeding of the Football Player
Shortly after Tom became serious
about football, his body became serious
about growing. Thomas has grown so
much, so fast over the past 2 years that I
once asked him if he could feel it – it’s got
to hurt. And he’s not done yet – the only
real injury that we’ve faced was when
he aggravated his growth plates last
season. I’d rather he still had baby teeth
than active growth plates. He’s thrilled;
I’m horrified at the thought of living
with the Incredible Hulk and simply try
not to make him so angry that he turns
green and bursts out of his clothes. Jeans
that fit him yesterday won’t fit him next
month so I just let him wear shorts all the
time. Lesson learned.
If your football player is like mine, he’ll
chart his growth all over your house. Buy
a fat gum eraser from an art supply store
– they’re the best at erasing all the I’mmeasuring-myself-again pencil marks
from your doorframes. Don’t repaint
your ceilings until you can either convince
him that he doesn’t need to see if he can
touch them today or he actually grows
tired of being able to palm the damn
things. Don’t be embarrassed when your
Now, the things that I don’t
know about the sport of football
would choke a horse. I don’t
care about the technicalities
and a playbook looks like
hieroglyphics to me.
friends come over – they’re likely to be
football moms, too; they understand.
A rapidly expanding kid will teach you
this: there is Not Enough Food in the World.
Mealtimes now occur on a revolving
45-minute cycle and, thankfully, Tom can
cook most of them for himself. My job is
to foot the bill, stock the pantry and the
fridge, and keep my hands away from his
mouth. Note that football players can’t
tell the difference between real Oreos
and the 100-count-pack-for-a-dollar icky
store-brand cookies as they never let
food sit on their tongues long enough for
flavors to register. This fact is particularly
handy because:
His Teammates are Your Kids, Too
They’re called a Team for a reason –
you will never find a football player by
himself. Resign yourself to a house full
of teenage boys who can recite the
contents and chronology of every item
in your pantry. Don’t be surprised when
you find yourself at Kroger, purchasing
Twinkies for Luc, Salt & Pepper potato
chips for Sean, and the ingredients for
Coca Cola barbecue sauce to slather on
chicken for Peyton. Buy another chicken.
Pack extra granola bars in your player’s
Continued on next page ➥
:: 20 ::
RobiOus Corridor :: August/september 2011
mid-practice meal because big, scary
Kaash once shook him down and your
growing boy needs more than dirt and
hose water during a sweltering August
workout. Learn that Kaash is actually a
teddy bear and use the extra granola
bars to bust his chops a little.
The benefits of the team mentality
are numerous. If they’re at your house,
you can see what they’re up to – if you
dare to look. If they’re not at your house,
rest assured that one of their other subMoms has an eye on them. Don’t call the
police when you haven’t seen one of the
boys for a week but don’t be surprised
to find that you miss him terribly. Know
that they’re good kids, they have each
other’s backs and they will police each
other, when necessary. They’re always
happy to see you, are quick to give you a
hug and they’ll make you laugh. You will
end up taking them with you on family
Aside from having to feed it, all that
size and strength isn’t so bad to have
around. Football players will lend a hand
if you need to move a heavy piece of
furniture. When you’re faced with a really
messy project, you’ll have a pre-built
team of burly young men who know how
to work together and will do so willingly.
It will cost you 2 coolers of Gatorade
and 8 feet of Jersey Mike’s subs and the
smartass in the bunch will tease you
about how many dry, brown Christmas
trees were in the pile, but all those dead
shrubs and branches and crap from
your side yard will be gone and you’ll
have learned some colorful new words
and phrases.
Nicknames are Forever
Some of the more colorful things that
you will learn are the names that football
players call each other. Those names will
stick. Forever. Do not try to figure out
why your kid got that particular nickname
unless it’s something obvious or you
wish you’d thought of it yourself. Don’t
feel bad when you start calling your son
by his football name as you can morph
that nickname into a term of endearment
by, say, adding a cute little suffix to the
original name. Hence, I now call my son
Titzilla, Titster, Titzenstein, Tits-a-roni,
Titso…you get the picture.
But try not to yell his nickname during
a game. Which brings me to:
Game Day Etiquette
You will be excited. You will yell and
cheer. Your vocalized aggression will
amaze you. Remember how many hours
you spent instructing your child to “play
nice”? It is, now, perfectly acceptable for
you to yell, “Hit him!”
You will be uncomfortable, not
because you’ve recognized a hidden
tendency toward violence but because
the bleachers were designed to
anesthetize all the nerve endings in your
butt by the middle of the first quarter.
Buy a seat cushion, preferably from the
team’s merchandise table. Buy a teamlogo blanket at the beginning of the
season because, while you’re sweating
in September, you’ll be freezing in
November. Icy cold, hard metal bleachers
are the #1 cause of football mom frostbite
butt. By the time you thaw out all the
good logo blankets will be gone and
you’ll look like a dork wrapped in some
ratty old thing from your linen closet. Do
NOT use a leopard print Snuggie unless
you want to embarrass the hell out of your
son. Do NOT bring pom poms to high
school games – they were fun during rec
league but nobody’s going to be looking
at your pom poms now because they’re
all busy looking at the girls who actually
look good shaking pom poms. Root for
your team, despise the opposing team,
and buy lots of merchandise and junk
food from the concession stand.
Know, too, that you’ll have to volunteer
some time to support the team. Jim tells
me that the Chain Gang is the best job
because there is, I guess, some prestige
in standing on the field, holding a stick
and wearing an orange vest. I wouldn’t
know; I refuse to wear that color, ever,
and women are rarely chosen for the
Chain Gang. Perhaps the guy who picks
the Chain Gang thinks that women,
while skilled enough to swirl a wooden
spoon around a pot on a stove, aren’t
talented enough to hold a stick still and
upright for 15 seconds. Whatever. Aim
for the Concession Stand – it requires
more skill. Recognize this phenomenon,
though: people can stand in line for
10 minutes, watching the action inside
the stand, reading the menus tacked
up everywhere, and checking out what
everyone else is buying. But, as soon as
you say, “What can I get for you?” they’ll
either draw a blank or ask for something
that you don’t have. This is a good time
to harvest the patience sowed by your
kids asking “Why?” so often that you
made up illogical answers. Stay poised
when helping a customer understand
that “blue” is not in the list of “red, yellow,
and orange” Gatorade now, nor was it in
the list the first three times you told him.
Smile and apologize for not offering surf
and turf on the concession stand menu.
Display your grace at all times – unless
it’s Homecoming and you’re working
the half-time shift, when it’s perfectly
acceptable to belch and say, “I just ate
the last one.”
The Highlight Reel
Your football player will recap every
play of every game. Lie through your
teeth and tell him that you saw it. Don’t
try to use football slang; if you call it a
pancake, he’ll tell you it was a waffle and
your lie will be exposed. Just shut up and
listen…and lie.
Hall of Fame
Honor the people who have made a
huge difference in his life: his coaches.
You don’t have to like them but you do
Continued on page 22 ➥
:: 21 ::
RobiOus Corridor :: August/september 2011
Continued from page 17
"Field of Dreams" ➥
panning to a shot of you, the weeping
parent who drove him 2 HOURS A DAY
THE CHILD! Cue the sappy music…
STOP!!!! STOP IT RIGHT NOW. I know, it’s
hard, but there is a cure. Be the ride, the
checkbook, the reasonable cheerleader.
Let the coaches teach them a bit
about life using the field of play as the
chalkboard. Let their teams be THEIR
TEAMS; you can cry and cheer for them,
not with them, because you are – I’m
sorry – an outsider. Back off, loosen
the apron strings, and if you’re sitting
on the side lines, for heaven’s sake put
away your whistle. Most importantly
recognize your kid’s dream as theirs
and theirs alone. They should have sole
dominion over them, they are entitled
to it. And you’ll see that in play – not in
sleep as Shakespeare suggests – what
dreams may come.
And if you can’t do that, then bring a
big roll of duct tape. 
screaming (during which a substantial
gap opened up between him and the
next person) – the ref threw a yellow flag
for an offense committed off the field of
play. He motioned for the coach, met
him mid-field and said – very loudly – “I
NOW!” The man threw his hands up
in the air and stomped away before he
could be escorted out. I felt only pity for
his son, who was left to finish playing the
game. I wondered how he managed to
play with the humiliatingly heavy cloak
of his father’s public shame draped
squarely on his padded shoulders. For
these people, there is only one cure:
As parents, we need to recognize
that our child’s best might not be THE
BEST. And while we may dream of our
son or daughter reaching the highest
pinnacle of sport, of imagining them
standing on the top podium, belting out
the Star Spangled Banner, the camera
Continued from page 21
“Football Mom for Dummies” ➥
have to respect them. Appreciate the time
and effort that they expend teaching your
child the value gained from hard work,
how to persevere in the face of adversity,
and the nobility in winning – or losing –
when the players respect the team and
the game.
We were blessed with terrific rec
league coaches and they have my undying
gratitude. I am always thrilled to hear
Tom address them as “Coach”, a point of
pride for himself as well as for them. It is
my heartfelt wish that your son’s football
experience is as overwhelmingly positive
as ours has been. Good coaches will make
that happen. I love you guys; you know
who you are. Go Weaver!
My family is immersed in football. It is
Tom’s love, his passion, his talent and his
guide. Tom would like it to be his future;
I want whatever makes him the happiest,
but, hey, I’m just his mom.
Go Midlo! 
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RobiOus Corridor :: August/september 2011

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