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About RichlandsAlum
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  • Biography
    A complicated man, nobody understands me but my woman. Can you dig it?
  • Location
    Your imagination
  • Interests
    Chinese arithmetic
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  1. Pro Soccer Thread (Premier League, MLS, etc.)

    Liverpool supporter here. (And the less said about the Champions League final, the better. Thank you very much.) Got tickets for the ICC match next month in Charlotte against Dortmund and we are looking forward to seeing the Reds live. Of all teams at any level, this is probably my strongest allegiance in soccer (and my kids would probably say the same) -- even though the primary reason behind our support is pretty dumb, to be honest. In terms of MLS, I follow DC United primarily because they're the closest franchise to my residence (and we have gone to more than a few matches at RFK over the years). Oldest son pulls for LA Galaxy, which makes things a bit interesting in our house. If San Diego is ever granted a franchise, I would have a strong inclination to follow them (mainly to aggravate the eldest boy). We also watch La Liga primarily for the quality of play. But just to stir controversy there, two of my sons support Real Madrid, one declares for Barcelona, and I pull for Atletico. And our travel club has some formal connections to Swansea (EPL) and Rangers (Scottish Premiership), so I have some interest in them. Really enjoy international competition, but I think USA soccer still has a way to go in terms of being truly competitive. Since USMNT failed to qualify for the World Cup, I find myself guided by ancestry in terms of a rooting interest this summer. Strongest personal ties are to England, so I'll be following Three Lions for as long as they are in the running.
  2. 2018 ADM numbers

    Another fun dynamic within the Augusta County footprint is the adjacency/presence of two independent city school systems (Waynesboro and Staunton) and a number of private schools with full athletic programs that are within reasonable commuting distance. The allegations of recruiting by certain SW Virginia football programs (*ahem*) pale in comparison to the outright solicitation and marketing of players and programs that takes place there. My sister lives within the city limits of Waynesboro but was a faculty member at Stuarts Draft for many years. My nephew started high school at Draft, was strongly "encouraged" for his entire four years to stay at Waynesboro, and ultimately graduated from a nearby private school in Charlottesville (where he had accepted a scholarship to play basketball). And during that entire time Robert E. Lee and a couple of other public schools were whispering in his ear. So yeah, I can definitely believe that the Augusta school system has a policy directive which places value on its schools' ability to compete on a state level.
  3. Class 2 Girls Soccer

    Still a fantastic run by the Lady Blues and a memorable season. Congrats to Coach Lindsey and her charges.
  4. 2018 ADM numbers

    I'm not sure how much of LCA's agreement with the VHSL is public -- mainly because it was a settlement reached as a result of threatened litigation. To start with, I find it extremely hard to believe that they've lost 74 students since 2015. I suppose it's possible in the wake of their decision not to pair enrollment at LCA with guaranteed admission/reduced tuition at LU. But I'd still love to know how the VHSL is vetting their reported numbers. Another alleged detail of their deal was that all of their participants will have to be drawn from the attendance area of the Lynchburg City School district within a certain period of time. Not many people in this area trust them to stick with that -- and the perceived administrative costs and difficulty associated with enforcement seem to be pretty significant as well. And if it were enforced, one would think that this would actually reduce their numbers for classification purposes -- even with the multiplier in effect. Not sure why the VHSL didn't test this in court (although I have my own theories about that).
  5. 2018 ADM numbers

    Couple of thoughts.... 1. There are at least one (and probably two) too many classifications within the VHSL. One for the smallest schools and one for the largest with two in between should be completely sufficient to ensure some level of competitive equity. The current system of six -- with its constant bouncing up and down for most schools from 2A to 4A -- completely wrecks any aims or notions of scheduling consistency (which in itself is a hardship, IMO). 2. Admittedly I'm no fan of Liberty Christian Academy competing in the VHSL at all, but their ADM numbers bear extremely close scrutiny. You guys in 2A are not going to be happy about playing their semi-professional/international teams if and when they drop down to that level.
  6. 2D Regionals

    Offense sells tickets. Defense wins championships.
  7. Getting some personal insight into college recruiting

    Varsity season is over for us now. After winning the first regional playoff game in school history, LHS bowed to perennial power Western Albemarle in the Region 3C semifinals. Son averaged about 20 minutes per game and did score a goal. Not a bad outing for a sophomore. But sitting the bench was very, very hard for him and it really had an impact upon his level of enthusiasm for the game. He's accepted an invitation to take a different direction in terms of travel soccer this fall, which could have some really great benefits for him if he wants to pursue them -- but he seems ambivalent about that at best. On the academic side, he is enrolling in the early college option this fall -- which means that he should graduate in 2020 with both his high school diploma and an associate's degree. He is appropriately focused on the challenges associated with that (he will be taking the highest offering of Calculus available -- roughly equivalent to what Engineering and Architecture majors have to complete in their freshman year at Virginia Tech). He's also broadening his consideration of college choices. He now says he wants to stay in Virginia, but he's open to all options. And on a recent visit to another school, he commented favorably on the fact that it is considerably smaller in size than Virginia Tech. He continues to get a lot of correspondence from college soccer coaches -- but the most persistent ones are either outside of the Commonwealth or they are smaller colleges that don't really rate at the top of his list in terms of academics right now. If he changes his mind and decides that he is really serious about soccer, I think he might still have a shot (a low percentage one at that) of being offered a spot on the roster of a Division II or very low tier Division I school. But I don't see his worldview changing. And I am perfectly fine with that. Meanwhile I'm observing a couple of other kids who have expressed an interest in playing college soccer, and I'm perplexed by their experiences. The really talented player I mentioned previously has gone to the effort of putting himself out there and setting up the online profiles -- and he is getting very little response. My hypothesis is that it's because he doesn't stand out in terms of size and speed -- he's small and quick, just like most stereotypical forward players. Another local kid who is very talented looks like a lock to play Division III ball but is getting no attention at all beyond that level. So at least in soccer, here's what I think I'm learning about the college recruiting process: 1. The top programs (Division I and perennial powers) already have their own talent acquisition process in place -- and it skews rather heavily toward international players and the most elite level of travel ball players within the country. 2. The rest do the same thing. But are satisfied enough in taking the leftover talent that is not culled by the top programs and/or taking the best travel players on a descending scale and a more regional (or state) basis. 3. Most programs beyond the top tier have algorithms in place to identify and invite outliers at an early age (based on whatever data or combination of factors that they have identified as having value). These are invited to camps where they likely compete for the spots on the roster that are not occupied by players at the two previous levels described above. Depending on the level of the program, I'd guess that players in this tier have a 25% or lower chance of ultimately being invited to play -- and there is little or no possibility of receiving a scholarship offer. 4. It also appears that a lot of Division III schools will often harbor one or two spots for the very best regional players in their particular area -- probably in an effort to generate or maintain some level of local interest. So from a Virginia perspective, unless you are a player on a Champions League level travel team, you hit one or more of the data points established by a program's search algorithm, or you're a major producer for a travel team that plays in a Top 6 league (as defined by VYSA), college soccer is a long shot with a probability somewhere less than 5% for even the most talented players. I do think that players who fit in my category #3 above would be compelling to follow, but my operating theory right now is that (like my son) they tend to weed themselves out of the process. If/when I see anything different, I will share it.
  8. Graham 2018 home games

    Of course it was going into Bluefield's "general budget." The City owned it and operated it as a General Fund activity. From the 2016-2017 audit, the City of Bluefield received line item revenues of $332,350 for "Rents, Royalties, and Concessions," $506,773 listed as "Contributions from Other Entities," and $655,490 designated as "Parks and Recreation." Impossible to tell exactly which revenues were tied to the stadium, but a quick overview suggests these as likely sources related to the operation. Compared with $1,815,320 in expenditures for "Parks and Recreation" it appears that the facility was not generating nearly enough revenue to cover its operating, capital, and/or maintenance expenses, the schools and colleges weren't contributing enough to offset those costs, and the taxpayers of Bluefield were making up the difference. I'd like to be able to dig deeper into the line items themselves, but it appears that the City Manager made a good recommendation in terms of pure business analysis. Financial information for WV cities can be viewed online at https://www.wvsao.gov/LocalGovernment/Default
  9. VA High Athletics

    Again, I don't know a lot of the local specifics, but the City of Bristol has made some perplexing decisions in its efforts to chase revenue -- first entering the cable business and now chasing retail development. Somebody ought to introduce reversion to Town status as a matter for serious consideration. (Same is true for all Independent Cities under 20,000 population -- particularly for those south and/or west of Salem.)
  10. VA High Athletics

    If I'm reading the facts correctly (and it's possible that I am missing something), the school system will be receiving an additional $940,000 from the Commonwealth of Virginia. If the City reduces its contribution by $545,000 then the school system would still be ahead by almost $300,000 compared to the current fiscal year. How does this qualify as a "cut" in overall funding? EDIT: I did see that there is $500,000 of federal money on the table that is likely to be withdrawn from the budget, so that does put the school system in a $200,000 hole (all other things being equal). I don't know a lot about assessed values in Bristol, but if the folks there want the City to make up that difference it could probably be done for a nickle increase in the real estate tax rate. Seems that everybody expects an enhanced level of service, but nobody wants to pay for the cost of that enhancement. Local government is fun.
  11. Getting some personal insight into college recruiting

    As for our personal situation, the dose of reality that we have accepted has been an overwhelmingly positive thing for our family. My wife and I have never discussed our personal thoughts about college soccer directly with our son -- which is admittedly odd given the fact that I've posted a lot of very personal information about it here. While we've always said that it was up to him, the attention that he was getting did inflate our own egos quite a bit and had begun to affect our view of the game. Having confessed my own sin of pride, I have to say that there is actually a tremendous sense of relief and enhanced enjoyment of watching him play now. Without saying so, I think our son's interest in playing soccer in college has been largely theoretical. He's now saying on his own that it doesn't really figure into his plans. He just wants to enjoy his experience playing high school soccer without any outside considerations affecting that. Don't get me wrong -- he still takes it seriously and strives to do his best. It's just not viewed as any kind of a means to an end -- it's now its own thing that we can all just appreciate. Of course things could change between now and the time he actually graduates. But now I'm trying to help him with his consideration of colleges, and I find myself in the odd position of encouraging him to at least explore other options besides Virginia Tech. :-)
  12. Getting some personal insight into college recruiting

    Apologies for the fact that this is not soccer related -- and it also has nothing to do with our personal situation -- but I thought the following story from the Roanoke Times was worth sharing. http://www.roanoke.com/sports/high_schools/early-softball-recruiting-to-end-under-ncaa-rule-changes/article_cde826fc-dcc3-56b3-8086-37d16401b4ab.html Millie Thompson (who is quoted and referenced in the article) is a classmate of my son. She's a good kid who comes from a great family. But the process they are going through is pretty surreal. Three thoughts of my own from the article: 1. I don't like the use of the word "de-commit." It's very reasonable for young kids to change their minds, but the truth is that there is never really any commitment until somebody signs a document; 2. With notable exceptions, I can't imagine that there are many HS sophomores who are truly settled on a specific college major -- and in any case, I don't think they should be; and 3. I'll be surprised if she actually enrolls at Clemson.
  13. Getting some personal insight into college recruiting

    Another one of my weird foibles is that I really don't like capital punishment, but I tend to embrace the Native American concept of Blood Law. I feel completely abandoned by the "two party" system. But I'd probably be willing to vote for you if you ran for something. :-)
  14. Getting some personal insight into college recruiting

    Back to our personal experience on the athletic recruiting front, I have an immediate update from yesterday. Our bubble was effectively popped last night. I say that because my son did not play a single minute in a match that his team ultimately lost in overtime. The only obvious explanation is that he was not good enough to contribute to the effort. There were only two other field players who did not play, and they have already had the experience of sitting for the entire match for most of the season. So my conclusion is that it's unlikely for him to obtain a spot on a college team (which are relatively few in number and coveted by several outstanding players) if he can't secure a spot higher than the bottom of the depth chart for his high school team. If my son does follow up on any of the camp invitations, I think it's clear that he would find his role in the recruiting process similar to that of the "x number of other applicants" that are reported when an announcement is made about any new hire. If this comes across as bitter or harsh toward my son, that is not my intent. My purpose in this thread all along has been to provide some objective insight into the way the college recruiting process works -- at least for soccer. Without commenting too much on the children of other people (which I find awkward and distasteful), I am aware of several talented players my son's age who are performing at a very high level locally. But in at least one of those cases I know that they have not been contacted by any college programs -- despite the fact that this particular player is making headlines as a sophomore starter. He has a serious interest in playing at the next level, but he's still waiting for them to find him. I would assume that it's simply because he's a sophomore -- but that doesn't jibe at all with my son's experience and they have the exact same level of access to the process. Time will still tell. I think my son's fate is pretty well sorted out -- and reason applies perfectly to his scenario. But it will be interesting to see what happens with this other kid.
  15. Getting some personal insight into college recruiting

    This is extremely interesting information. A lot of fodder for some very serious discussion. Thanks a bunch, sixcat! Not sure that I have standing to comment on this potentially volatile issue, but I think Virginia Tech does face a very persistent race issue. Although there was a noticeable minority presence in the community during my time there (well... at the very least it was certainly more diverse than Richlands) my perception is that it was not statistically representative of either the national or state population. And I doubt that things have changed much. I don't wish to make this too political, because my own political views are very complicated. (For example, I am probably very liberal in terms of my views on race, but I am generally opposed to the concept of affirmative action.) That said, I would actually be very happy to learn that my alma mater isn't reaching out to students like my son because it is targeting its efforts toward attracting a more diverse student, faculty, and staff population. My cynical suspicion is that Tech isn't really doing anything at all. On a much broader level, the apparent direct relationship between a college's selectivity and its consideration of race is very interesting indeed.
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