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.
The Richmond Spiders hail out of the Atlantic 10 Conference as an NCAA Division I Men's Basketball team. After finishing ranked 24th in the nation last year, the enigmatic Spiders are primed for another successful season with 14 of 16 players returning. Backed by top cop scorers Kevin Anderson and Justin Harper, this year's squad of hard-court ballers will head into the Robins Center under the textbook guidance of coach Chris Mooney's. The ticket is valid for the best available seat in the premium section, which is located along the lower-level center and side court.
Teachers and doctors. Moms and sisters. The River City Rollergirls don't really care who you are, as long as you're ready to hit someone?and foster an environment that values diversity and gender equity in the process.
The skater- and volunteer-operated league sprouted in early 2006 as Richmond's first all-women's flat-track roller-derby association. At the start, the league featured just two teams?Poe's Punishers and the Uncivil Warriors?but has since expanded to include new members, including the Carytown Cadets, the Hollywood Undertakers, and the Jackson Wardens. All teams take falls and crack skulls as part of the Eastern region of the Women's Flat Track Derby Association. But off the track, players put away their growling game faces when participating in community-outreach programs.
Home to concerts, movies, and chili cook-offs throughout the warmer months, The Harris Pavilion keeps the fun going all winter long as it transforms into an outdoor ice rink. Starting in mid-November, the rink welcomes the community for daily public-skate sessions; its close proximity to the Historic Manassas Train Station provides easy access to both out-of-towners and zambonis on the run. Lighting and music ensure a safe, lively atmosphere for skaters all ages, and a two-minute walk in any direction yields a host of shopping and snacking options for skaters who need a break or a brief warm-up.
Fast Eddie's Sports and Billiards is the quintessential place to enjoy the game, offering plenty of TVs to watch, beers to drink, and foods to nosh. The selection of starters is diverse?as it includes kung pao shrimp, nachos, and Tex-mex spring rolls?as are the three varieties of sliders. Heartier fare varies from wild-caught salmon with sauteed veggies to a 12-ounce ribeye paired with mashed potatoes to the 1520 Club sandwich stacked with ham, turkey, and applewood bacon. The bar's namesake dish is the Big Eddie, two 100% Angus beef patty that can be topped with anything from chili and jalapenos to bacon and barbecue sauce, otherwise known as "juice" in the South.
The eight-wheeled warriors of the Rocktown Rollers skate back onto the track at Funky's Skate Center, rousing fans of all ages with 60 minutes of bone-rattling checks, pileups, and passes. Following its acceptance as a full member of the internationally recognized Women's Flat Track Derby Association in 2011, the skater-owned-and-operated squad has continued to flourish as one of Shenandoah Valley's prime sources of supersonic action and bruises that cast shadows over less impressive bruises.