Being primarily a sports shooter, I jump at the chance to shoot an assignment like this one. "Sadie" the horse towed fallen soldiers' carriages at Arlington National Cemetery, was a member of the Virginia Beach Police force and for the last decade, she's been a therapy horse at the EquiKids Therapeutic Riding Program in Pungo. You can read more about Sadie here.
As always, thanks for looking!
Another high school football season has come and gone, and with it came a few memorable frames as well as some new memories. One of which was witnessing Norview's Kavon Lawson catch the game-winning touchdown and on the very next play, secure the win with a game-ending, last second heave interception seen here. I've seen countless kids go on to play in the NFL and I'm sure in a few short years, you'll see some of these guys there too. As always, thanks for looking.
Just catching up on some recent work. Thanks for looking!
The season is here and like I predicted, it's hot. OK, predicting hot weather in the area in early September isn't exactly going out on a limb. This I do know: it's always a blast working the games. Below is a Week 1 recap as well as Harry's look ahead. Thanks for looking.
It's almost here. So in the meantime, get to know your 2016 Monarchs (per Harry Minium)
Five questions as ODU kicks off summer practice on Monday
Mercilessly for Old Dominion football followers, the scoreboard at Foreman Field shut down minutes after the regular-season finale last season.
Florida Atlantic had just kicked two fourth-quarter field goals to come away with a victory that knocked ODU out of a bowl game and added a bitter punctuation mark to the Monarchs' first losing season .
The score has been on the minds of the ODU players ever since. Coach Bobby Wilder made sure by having staff members place a poster on a wall that faces players as they enter the locker room.
It says, simply: FAU 33, ODU 31.
"That loss was heartbreaking," said redshirt senior TJ Ricks, who was Conference USA's leading tackler last season. "Our seniors, I came in here with them, and I felt so bad for them. No one wants to have that feeling again.
"It's so important that we go to a bowl game this season. It's the most important thing."
ODU would become bowl eligible with six victories, and a year ago, that would have been good enough. But C-USA's bowl line-up decreases from seven bowls to six, meaning seven victories might be necessary.
Prognosticators aren't optimistic . The C-USA media picked the Monarchs sixth in the seven-team East Division and USA Today picked ODU fourth. The Orlando Sentinel ranks ODU 95th nationally, and there are 84 bowl bids.
As the Monarchs begin fall workouts on Monday, here are five key questions they face:
Will the offensive line struggle again as it did last year?
New offensive line coach Chris Malone, a former Virginia Tech standout, has brought a more demanding work ethic .
Offensive coordinator Brian Scott installed a pass-option attack that should lessen pressure on the line. ODU also will employ a tight end, which should provide some additional blocking up front.
But two starters and four backups are gone from a line that often could not open holes for running backs or ODU's quarterbacks consistently.
Four players have starting experience, including redshirt seniors Troy Butler and Tyler Compton. Yet, three redshirt freshmen will play key roles, including Devin Hannan. He is slated to start at left tackle, where he will protect quarterbacks' blind side.
"We're going to be fine," Malone says. If so, that bodes well for ODU.
How is depth elsewhere on offense?
It's outstanding. ODU ended last season with just two able-bodied quarterbacks, but has six as practice begins. David Washington, who is coming off knee surgery, and Shuler Bentley split time at quarterback in 2015, and they should give Scott plenty of options.
There are nine running backs, led by Ray Lawry, the league's leading rusher last season. Backup Jeremy Cox ran well as a freshman. Josh Marriner, a transfer from UConn, will find a place on the field somewhere.
ODU has 22 receivers, including three returning starters and Melvin Vaughn, a 6-foot-3, 259-pound senior who is set to start at tight end.
Injuries to Vaughn and Adam Swann forced ODU to abandon plans to employ a tight end last season. But ODU goes eight deep in tight ends this fall, including four freshmen or redshirt freshmen.
Will the defense be better?
Yes. ODU has made gradual improvement the last two seasons under defensive coordinator Rich Nagy, who has patiently rebuilt with younger players.
There is more depth this season , with 12 safeties and 10 cornerbacks on the roster. "We've never had that kind of depth," Wilder said.
Justice Davila, a preseason all-conference pick at safety, is battling for his starting job with Rob Thompson and Denzel Williams.
Rashaad Coward, a 6-6, 310-pound senior from Brooklyn who has star potential, anchors a good defensive line. ODU will start three seniors at linebacker.
The special teams were poor last season. Will they be improved?
They need to be. ODU was last in C- USA in kickoff and punt return coverage and ninth in punting.
Wilder hired former Vanderbilt special teams coach Charles Bankins, and the Monarchs focused on specials teams much of the spring. It helps that ODU returns 42 players with significant playing time, which should give Bankins more options on punt and kickoff teams.
Freshman Bailey Cate, who averaged 44 yards per kick at Orange Park (Fla.) High last season, will be the punter. Chris Kirtley, another Floridian, is coming off a solid freshman season as placekicker.
Is the schedule more favorable than last season?
Not really. Ten opponents are the same, with Hampton and Massachusetts as the newcomers replacing Norfolk State and Eastern Michigan. ODU also plays six home games instead of seven.
The road to six victories is passable but will be difficult to traverse. ODU likely will be favored in four of its first six games, but the last six come against very good conference teams.
Early road games against Appalachian State and North Carolina State, which defeated ODU in Norfolk by a combined score of 87-14 last season, will be difficult challenges, too.
Victories in the first three home games – Hampton, Texas-San Antonio and UMass – likely are musts for the Monarchs to go bowling.
Harry Minium, 757-446-2371, email@example.com
I'm re-posting my first-person Ali tribute here because I realize some folks couldn't get past The Virginian-Pilot's paywall. Thanks for looking. -JH
I had no idea who Muhammad Ali was, no idea why enormous crowds gathered as I tagged along with my dad and Ali to various events.
To me, he was my dad’s friend. He was a back-seat passenger as I learned to drive. He was a guest at our farm who slept on a couch in the den. He was a guy who joined us for family dinner.
Ignorance was bliss on my part because Ali and I had many fun moments. Had I known of his legend, our relationship may not have been as organic.
My dad was Muhammad Ali’s attorney, agent and confidant for nearly three decades. My father died 11 years ago, so over time, our families’ communication waned. He’d call on some holidays and the kids would occasionally Skype him, but for the most part, my memories come from a time when I didn’t know who he actually was.
Ali’s death brought back a rush of those memories.
We have a family farm in Afton, just outside Charlottesville, and Ali visited often. The farm is where I learned to drive. My dad had an old Jeep Wagoneer with the type of wood paneling that would make Clark Griswold smile.
I remember, like it was yesterday, driving that hideous hunk of steel all over the wide-open farm landscape, gunning the accelerator like any reasonable kid would do. In the back seat was The Greatest, bobbing back and forth like a rag doll but giggling all the while.
While flopping around the back seat as we traversed the bumpy ground and to my dad’s exclamation of “we’re going to die!”, I vividly remember Ali calmly saying in his soft but raspy voice: “Not today. Not today. Keep going, Jason!” The Champ loved to have a good time.
A few years before, at that very farm, Ali was once again spending the night. It’s a modest place, and the accommodations aren’t becoming of a global icon. Ali decided to sleep on the couch in the den because he had phone calls to make and didn’t want to disturb anyone. I remember retreating upstairs for the night.
At some point, Ali had become uncomfortable on the couch. When I woke up the next morning, there he was next to me in the queen-size bed. As I opened my eyes, he too opened his. I’ll never forget waking up with him eye to eye.
In true Ali fashion, even at first light, he looked right at me while both of our heads were still on their respective pillows and said, “What’s for breakfast?”
I finally realized the level of his celebrity when we had a big family dinner at the Omni Hotel downtown – it’s now the Sheraton Waterside Hotel. Ali was battling a sore throat and when it came time to order, I remember the nervous waiter trembling ever so slightly. Ali being Ali decided to write down on the tablecloth what he wanted.
As we were walking out after dinner, my dad, my brothers, Ali and I all looked back to see what the loud commotion was about. It was the entire restaurant wait staff playing tug of war with the tablecloth. Ali had also autographed it.
What can you say about an icon that hasn’t already been said? The last few days have been an emotional roller coaster, not just because of Ali’s death, but because it’s also brought back a lot of memories of my dad. I’m just thankful that I was too young to realize how famous my dad’s friend was.
It's been a while. Here you'll just find some clips from over the past couple weeks. Thanks for looking!
My kids go to Norfolk Collegiate, so I have kind of a personal connection to both the school and this team. Speaking of this team, they had one hell of a ride this season. Led by their big three seniors, this was really a do-or-die year for them. They peaked at #2, not just in the TCIS private school conference, but rather #2 in the entire Hampton Roads region. Virginia Episcopal, led by Kentucky commit Sacha Killeya-Jones, came calling for the VISAA state quarterfinal. It was neck-and-neck the whole way, but a key missed free throw with 1.4 seconds left sealed the deal for the visiting team. Norfolk Collegiate lost 52-51. Wow. Upward and onward, gentlemen.
I know. It seems like everytime I make an updated blogpost, I start out by saying "It's been a while." It's not for a lack of trying or because I don't have the content, but rather because I'm lazy. I said it. That said, here's some recent stuff and as always, thanks for looking.
It's been a while so I figured why not do an update featuring what is currently happening. Makes sense, right? If not, just go with it. Old Dominion University's men's basketball team is good. Not great, not terrible, but good. On Thursday, January 14 they had their nation's fifth best home-winning streak snapped. They lost the following game, too (pictured). It's been over two-years since that happened. Oh well, onward and upward. As always, thanks for looking.
ODU Football got a big Homecoming football win over UNC-Charlotte, beating them 37-34. The game came down to the last four minutes and the place was loud. It's a shame that 1/3 of the crowd left a halftime because they missed a great ending. Thanks for looking!
The 2015 UCI Road World Championships descended on Richmond. That's right, the capital city of the Old Dominion. The race is massive. Huge. The race is billed as the "Super Bowl of Cycling" and its riders include current and past Olympians as well as previous winners of the Tour de France. It spans nine days and it brings with it an onslaught of international-traveling fans and media. The local economic impact: $158-million. Whoever wins, the real winner is the city of Richmond. As always, thanks for looking!
I figured I'd dust off the ol' dusty blog after spending a couple weeks covering Redskins training camp. Thanks for looking!
As you know by now, ODU was on the bubble and didn't make it to the 'Big Dance' that makes up the NCAA tournament. Instead, they were the #1 seed for National Invitation Tournament...and they played with a chip on their shoulder with a little something to prove to the NCAA voting committee. Being the #1 seed meant that all three games were held at home -- at The Ted. Each game was great and each game was better than the last. The first game: a run-of-the-mill win. The second game: a nail-biter that came down to the last 4.3 seconds. The finale game: What else, a buzzer beater from nearly half-court that sent the arena into pandemonium. I don't normally boast about my photos, but I was more than thrilled to see my photo of Trey Freeman, the man who nailed the last-second heave, go viral. I'd say let's do it again next year, but I don't think my heart can take it.
Thanks for looking!