Tysons, VA

Sorry, No Sports — “The Virginia High School League’s Executive Committee voted Thursday to cancel the spring sports season altogether for rest of the 2019-20 calendar year due to the coronavirus outbreak.” [Inside NoVa]

Vienna Hosting Free Small Business Webinar — “Karen Kerrigan, president and CEO of the Vienna-based Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, will lead the first online discussion from 10-11 am Wednesday, May 13.” [Town of Vienna]

Tysons Area ABC Stores Offering Curbside Service — “The Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority (ABC) is now offering curbside pickup for online orders at 15 stores in Northern Virginia.” The list includes two in Vienna (8413 Old Courthouse Road and 436 Maple Ave E.), Falls Church (7121 Leesburg Pike) and McLean (1445-B Chain Bridge Road). [Inside NoVa]

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Editor’s note: Tysons Reporter will temporarily have “Morning Notes” every weekday instead of twice a week to accommodate more news.

Looking for Senior Store Hours? — Fairfax County launched a new interactive map that lets people find stores that have shopping hours dedicated to seniors to reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus to elderly people. [Fairfax County]

Don’t Take Me Out to the Ball Game — “By this time of the early spring season, the area’s three Little League programs would have held opening-day ceremonies… None of that has occurred, because all activities in the Great Falls, McLean and Vienna Little League programs have been suspended until at least May 11 and likely longer.” [Inside NoVa]

Documenting Your Documents — Fairfax County Fire and Rescue shares tips for how people can get their medical information ready in case of an emergency. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]

Q&A With Local Restaurant — Northern Virginia Magazine’s new “Table for None” column focused on how a Falls Church Italian restaurant is weathering the COVID-19 pandemic. [Northern Virginia Magazine]

Empty Merrifield Campus to Become Field Hospital — “Northam said on Wednesday the former ExxonMobil campus in Merrifield owned by Inova Health System will be one of three field hospital locations in Virginia as it faces a surge in coronavirus cases.” [Washington Business Journal]

Booze To-Go — “[Gov. Ralph Northam] announced during a news conference Wednesday that restaurants with a mixed-beverage license from the ABC can start selling mixed-beverages for takeout and delivery. That change will become effective Thursday at midnight. Restaurants previously were allowed to sell only wine and beer through takeout and delivery.” [Inside NoVa]

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The coronavirus pandemic has put a damper on baseball season, but a Vienna family won’t let the virus strike their plans to launch a business selling baseball training equipment.

John Morabito, 53, and his two sons Nick, 27, and Dominic, 25, are the three founders behind Perfect Swings USA.

John, who grew up in McLean, told Tysons Reporter that he has been coaching baseball in McLean and Vienna since 1991. Nick and Dominic both grew up playing sports in Vienna, he added.

All three men have played at the collegiate level and have coached teams from little league to minor league players, according to the company’s website.

Now, they are looking to sell hitting tools — the Swing Path Trainer and the Tempo Trainer — to help players improve.

Turning Their Passion Into New Products

Nick told Tysons Reporter that his family came up with the idea for the tools about 10 years ago to help him and his brother get better at baseball.

“Before we ever became a business, bringing homemade Swing Path Trainers around got great feedback from baseball and softball coaches,” Nick said.

The family originally developed the trainers from PVC pipe and wood they got at Home Depot, he said.

“We had no aspirations of turning it into what it is today,” Nick said. But that changed after Dominic graduated and encouraged his family to turn their idea into the business.

“[Dominic] was either like, ‘I’m going to find a corporate job or let’s start this business,'” Nick said. “My dad was getting ready to retire… We took this on full time.”

In the last year, they’ve been working with an engineer and Boston-based Gamut Run Partners, LLC. Nick said that they have three patents for their products.

The family started to manufacture the products about a year ago, Nick said. Since then, they’ve showcased the trainers at conventions around the U.S. late last year and early 2020, according to the website.

The Swing Path Trainer ($349) helps the athlete to keep the bat in the hitting zone with the proper angle, while the Tempo Trainer (undecided price) helps the athlete’s tempo and rhythm during a swing, according to their product descriptions.

“It’s almost like a self coach for the kid or the trainer or the coach,” Nick said, adding that the products help improve players’ swing mechanics.

The products are geared towards little leaguers all the way through high school and college, Nick said, adding that “everybody” can use the products.

While they haven’t sold any of the products yet, Nick said that they have given four away — one to the UCLA softball team, another to a high school in California, a third to a man who runs a show in Texas and the fourth to “my little cousin.”

In the future, Nick said they are looking to release more products and features in the future once they finalize prototyping.

Challenges of Starting a Business During the COVID-19 Pandemic 

Trying to start up the business has been challenging at times for the family.

Production, which involves some parts that come from China, was delayed earlier this year due to a shutdown for Chinese New Year and then slow down several weeks later to add extra precautions for workers due to the coronavirus, he said.

“We’re supposed to go into production tomorrow to start shipping May 1,” he said.

While they are aiming to start selling the products in May, that date could change. “It’s been hard to finalize and put on a date on anything,” he said.

The pandemic affected their plans to travel to conventions and tournaments around the U.S., he added.

As for marketing, Nick said that he’s trying to get the word out in magazines and publications, but has faced some challenges with collegiate baseball publications now that the season is over.

The biggest challenge, though? Nick said that making changes to the products within certain timeframes has been hard.

“We’ve run through six to seven different prototypes,” he said. “This is new for us.”

Despite their obstacles, Nick is staying optimistic.

“We’ll get through this,” he said, adding that coaches might have more time now to watch product demos than if they were traveling with their teams during the season.

Working as a Team 

The whole family works together on the new business, Nick said, adding that most of the financial investments have come from him and his father.

“Dad kind of oversees everything,” he said. “He’s mentoring us along.”

While Nick focuses on the sales and marketing side, he said his brother takes care of the operations and engineering while his mom asks people for reviews and manages the product photo shoots.

“We’re a local family. We have a lot of great relationships with local little leagues,” Nick said. “We’re looking to give back.”

Photos courtesy Nick Morabito

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Happy Friday! Here are the latest stories about the Tysons area that the Tysons Reporter team has been reading:

Inova Announced New Hospital Visitor Policy — “Inova Health System announced changes… effective at 10 a.m. on Thursday, March 12. The health system changed the policy ‘to protect the health and safety of our patients, their families and staff from the spread of COVID-19.’ The restrictions apply even to visitors who are healthy.” [Patch]

Vienna Officials Praise Low Rate for Bond Sale — “Vienna officials on March 10 issued $34.5 million in general-obligation bonds that will pay for public improvements, including a new police station. The town accepted an interest-rate bid of 1.86 percent from J.P. Morgan Securities, as well as a $3.1 million premium, which is a bonus offered by the investment firm to the town.” [Inside NoVa]

Little League Suspend Activities — The McLean Little League is suspending all activities, while the Vienna Little League “has suspended all activities through April 6, 2020.” [Twitter, Facebook]

Immigrants Contribute Billions to NoVa Economy — “A new report on the impact of immigrants in Northern Virginia found they are injecting $57.7 billion into the local economy — accounting for more than a quarter of the region’s $224.9 billion gross domestic product.” [Inside NoVa]

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The Great Eight snapped a photo with local firefighters responding to a call at a house near his own in the McLean area.

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue tweeted out the photo this morning (Friday). The firefighters were all smiles with Caps star Alexander Ovechkin, sporting a hooded Nike sweatshirt, posing in the middle.

“Yesterday after a false alarm next door, this really GR8 neighbor checked in with E442, Wolftrap, to make sure all was well,” the tweet said.

The Washington Capitals captain lives about two miles north of Tysons.

Photo via Fairfax County Fire and Rescue/Twitter

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The Super Bowl is this Sunday, meaning either the San Francisco 49ers or the Kansas City Chiefs will become the NFL’s latest champion.

This year’s Super Bowl, though, isn’t just about the game on Sunday.

Fox, the Super Bowl’s host, is running a campaign to extend Sunday festivities into “Super Monday” — an unofficial holiday giving football fans and Fox viewers a chance to win $10,000, Adweek reported.

“The network’s ‘Super Monday’ campaign, which kicked off during the final weekend of the NFL regular season on Dec. 29, features the ‘Mayor of Monday’ (played by Saturday Night Live alum Finesse Mitchell, who appears in Fox’s new sitcom, Outmatched) telling sluggish office workers that he has created a new holiday,” according to Adweek.

What are your plans? Will you be observing “Super Monday” or heading back into the office? Let us know in the poll below.

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The Super Bowl is this Sunday (Feb. 2) and a local non-profit is sharing drunk driving prevention tips ahead of game day.

Based in Falls Church, the Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP) is urging people to wear seatbelts, designate a sober driver and consider using ride-sharing services or public transit.

“Even if you have every confidence in your own ability to not drive impaired, that confidence doesn’t extend to the next driver,” WRAP’s President Kurt Gregory Erickson said in a press release.

For hosts, WRAP encourages bars to stop serving alcohol at least one hour before the game ends, to serve food with alcohol and to never serve a person who is drunk.

Other tips include using a non-carbonated base in alcoholic punches so that the body absorbs the alcohol faster and offering non-alcoholic beverages.

“Motorists in Greater Washington who suspect that they are sharing a roadway with an impaired driver should report such by safely dialing 911 in the District of Columbia or Maryland and #77 in Virginia,” Erickson said.

Photo by Dave Adamson on Unsplash

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Laura Schwartz is a licensed Realtor in VA, D.C. and MD with McEnearney Associates in McLean. Reach the office at 703-790-9090.

If you’ve ever read any of my bio, you know that I was a softball player in college at the University of Rochester in New York.

I was an All-American, both academically and athletically. My husband was a soccer coach in Loudoun County for Potomac Falls High School and I coached Varsity Softball at Yorktown High School in Arlington for a few years around 2007. My boys are both heavily involved in baseball and basketball sports around Vienna. To say we’re a sports family is mildly understated.

Having started my kids playing in the i9 program has been so much FUN. Something I think gets lost these days in kids sports. I’m highlighting the program, which is a franchise, but is locally owned by a Vienna/Oakton family for the entire Fairfax County franchise.

They offer programs that start as young as 3 years old for both girls and boys and goes up to 13 in flag football, soccer, basketball, baseball, volleyball and zip lacrosse.

The programs for the little kids is usually once a week for an hour: a 30 minute practice followed by a 30 minute game. They have a weekly sportsmanship value that’s discussed in detail. Things like positivity, teamwork, humility and listening. For the younger kids, one kid from each team gets a medal per work for demonstrating that value (every kid gets a medal by the end of the season).

Here’s the reason I love the program so much: the guys who run it every week are passionate. They all have day jobs, they do this because they LOVE it. They love working with the kids to teach them the sport and they’re so enthusiastic you can’t help but love the experience.

Special shout out to Mervin who runs a lot of the Vienna location sports — we’ve had him for soccer, baseball and basketball now and he’s hilarious. He’s so good with the kids, good about getting parents involved in the right way, and encouraging a good time. For their first and last games, they usually do fun events like letting the kids run through a banner with music playing, or run down a line of outstretched parent hands for a high-five while they announce their names.

If you have kids who may be the ones who hide behind your legs at first (I had one too), these guys go out of their way to get those kids into it. No pressure of course, but little things like giving them a jersey and asking them to hold a ball, because you know if they’re holding one they’ll start dribbling it. Then try again next week.

In a world where there’s so much pressure on kids so early, i9 brings back what youth sports should be: FUN.

Thank you Todd Peterson for running such a wonderful organization!

For more information on the program, visit i9Sports.com.

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Laura Schwartz is a licensed Realtor in VA, D.C. and MD with McEnearney Associates in McLean. Reach the office at 703-790-9090.

New year, new goals.

If your goals include more experiences with your kids, we have some great local sporting teams that won’t break the bank but will get you to see something new. If you’re a college sports fan or even just want to go to a high school game, there are plenty of choices to take your little one to. Make sure you sign up for emails so you’re aware of when these options take place.

George Mason University Men’s Basketball: “Star Wars Day” on February 15 at 4:30 p.m.

Through the Super Reader program, if kids read 2 books, they can claim free tickets to the game. For the adults attending, the program also offers discounted tickets once you register the kids. They get to walk onto the court before the start of the game and they get a free green cape (that reads Virginia529). Parking is free.

Washington Wizards Game: Kids Day is January 12

Lots of pre-game activities for kids beginning at 10:30 a.m., which include LEGO activations, face painters, balloon artists, games and the mascot G-Wiz appearance. There’s a CertifiKID deal that includes a t-shirt.

Harlem Globetrotters at EagleBank or CapitalOne, March 20-21

Another CertifiKID deal for tickets to all 3 shows, and includes 35% off tickets.

Another option is to check out the local high school teams. Each sport has their scheduled published online so you can pick the one that best fits your schedule. Here’s the Madison Basketball Schedule and the Marshall Basketball Schedule. Both will likely have a small admission fee.

You can also check sites like Groupon for D.C. sporting outings as well.

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Lamar Jackson, a quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens, was spotted doing some shopping ahead of the holidays at Tysons Corner Center.

Jackson went to the mall on Monday (Dec. 23), CBS reported.

He gifted his teammates with Rolex watches for Christmas, CNN reported, although it’s unclear if he bought those at Tysons or somewhere else.

Several people tweeted about spotting Jackson at the mall.

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