The CAA Men's Basketball Championship features the conference's top programs, including George Mason, James Madison, William & Mary, Virginia Commonwealth, and Old Dominion, known for their fierce competition both against each other and noted national powerhouses. A once-a-year showcase of conference constituents, the CAA championship allows fans firsthand exposure to each team's peculiar brand of round ball, from George Mason's precision sharpshooters to the seamless passing of William and Mary's cybernetically enhanced hive mind. Each purchase gets you a one-session ticket good for dribbling duos of afternoon or evening contests.
From the outside, fly-fishing looks like an art form, with anglers harnessing the flowing, lasso-like cast framed by tree-lined mountainsides and a rock-strewn stream. But for Andrew Stiles, a fly-fisherman with more than 40 years of experience on waters around the world, a wealth of technical details supersedes this romanticized image—the physics of casting line that weighs more than the lure, the entomology of matching flies with the season's insects, the leverage required to land a 150-pound tarpon on 12-pound tackle.
This passion for both teaching and fly-fishing drives Andrew to impart his knowledge by instructing anglers all over the world. Locally, he teaches classes at John Tyler Community College and Randolph-Macon College with a curriculum modeled on the teachings of George Harvey, who developed the first accredited college fly-fishing course at Penn State in 1947. Andrew's international teaching experience includes instructing at the Euroclave Federation of Fly Fishing / Danish Fly Fishing Festival in Denmark, as well as virtually coaching clients as far away as Australia through Skype. He also develops tailored video lessons and posts a YouTube series for beginners. Throughout all of this, Andrew upholds the high standards of a fly-casting instructor certified through outdoor organizations such as the Federation of Fly Fishers.
When not teaching, Andrew travels the world, applying his tactics—such as his specialty in the double-haul method—to waters that range from the mangrove flats of Florida to the trout streams in England. “If you’re fishing for trout, you’re going to be in some of the most pristine waters in the world,” he says. An expert in fly tackle, he can also appraise antique fly outfits unearthed from attics, basements, and the forgotten prop storage units of A River Runs Through It.
One of the Science Museum of Virginia’s current exhibits includes a few basketball players—just don’t expect LeBron James or Kobe Bryant. These basketball players are two rats, playing a live one-on-one game to demonstrate operant and classical conditioning. Throughout the three-story museum, more hands-on examples of science await at five permanent exhibits. Inspect a rock from the moon, explore a life-size space capsule, and generate energy by pedaling a stationary bike. Kids can even build their own playground with materials such as mats and foam blocks.
Inside the IMAX Dome, a screen 10 times the size of a typical 35 mm screen shows a wide range of educational films. Outside the museum, plants in the BayScapes Garden thrive without pesticide, fertilizer, or the encouragement of a motivational speaker, and an onsite greenhouse offers free planting areas for visitors to contribute greenery and learn about sustainable farming.
Steve Wendt brings nearly 40 years of experience soaring the skies to his lessons at Blue Sky Virginia Hang Gliding's flight park, where he instructs gliders of all experience levels in launch methods ranging from training-hill foot launches to towing. Through personalized instruction in classes certified by the U.S. Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association, he hones flyers’ skills in solo and tandem hang-gliding and in piloting trikes and paragliders against elite racing pigeons. Using aero-towing, park staff members can tow pilots to heights of more than 2,000 feet, or get them airborne with platform and scooter towing.
Staff also outfit certified pilots and enthusiasts with a fleet of gliders from brands such as Aeros, Icaro 2000, Moyes, and North Wing, each made from aircraft-grade aluminum and Dacron sailcloth. In the event of regular wear and tear or run-ins with jealous paper airplanes, they can also sew sails, repair harnesses, and bend frames back into shape in a repair facility.
In 2011, the VCU Rams athletics program emerged under the national spotlight's brightest bulbs when the men's basketball team advanced to the NCAA Final Four as an 11-seed. But while their Cinderella story may have made VCU a household name and bedtime story for sports-loving children, it is hardly the only instance of Rams' athletic success. A perennial powerhouse on the tennis court, the men's program has raked in 16 conference championships and eight All-America selections while spending 17 straight years in the ITA top-25. Members of the Atlantic 10 Conference since 2012, the Rams don their black-and-gold uniforms to proudly represent their university at a number of fan-friendly facilities.
Since 1988, Midlothian Athletic Club has dedicated its 70,000 square feet to myriad forms of achieving healthy living. Whether members want to hone tennis and racquetball skills, break a sweat in group exercise classes such as spinning and BodyPump, or relax in a sauna, they can do it at the MAC. The staff troll a stock of cardio and strength-training equipment, including FreeMotion Elite weight machines, Life Fitness treadmills and ellipticals, and Precor machines, ready to dole out technique pointers. At the indoor pool, swimmers can get a workout on the lap lanes, slip down water slides, or pretend to be toddlers in the kiddie pool. The club also has six indoor lanes, where instructors lead water-aerobics classes that are gentler on joints than moon aerobics.
To help guests recover after a hard workout, the Midlothian Athletic Club hosts many means of relaxation. The massage therapists calibrate their fingers to several styles of kneading, including deep-tissue, Swedish, and myofascial release massage. At the MAC Cafe, chefs sear turkey burgers, bake lime-chili parmesan fries, and blend protein shakes to order for nutritious refueling.
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