CSL Daily

April 17, 2017

VCU Paralympic Experience Day Makes Powerful Impact

More than 150 participants flooded into the E.J. Wade Arena in the Stuart C. Siegel Center for the 2017 edition of the VCU Paralympic Experience Day in an effort to promote and enhance Sportable’s brand image, and engage the Richmond community in an amazing opportunity that provided the athletes and spectators with a memorable experience through adaptive sports. Over 50 volunteers showed up to help with the event, including CSL students and professors, Sportable employees, Capital One employees, and several members of the VCU men’s and women’s basketball team, engaging with the participants throughout the event.

“We had an amazing turn out,” said Amber Easter, a member of the group of CSL students who planned and hosted the event. “It was great to see both Sportable athletes and the community enjoying the night, in addition to seeing participants trying out new sports.” Hunter Leemon, Sportable’s Executive Director, also shared his thanks and admiration for the event at the end of the night. “Thank you guys for coming out and helping make this night a success. This event just keeps getting better and better each year it’s put on.”

The event operated carnival style, meaning that participants and volunteers had the opportunity to freely move around and participate in the offered sport of their choice. Although there were participants at all eight stations, some of the more popular sports of the night were wheelchair basketball, wheelchair tennis, and goalball.

The excitement only intensified once the wheelchair basketball scrimmage between the Defending Champions Sportable Spokes and some VCU men’s and women’s basketball players took place. Both teams played tough, fast, and furious but in the end, the VCU basketball players were able to squeak out a 4-point victory over the Spokes, 24-20.

Of course, our event wouldn’t have been made possible without the help of our Sponsors: Mobility Supercenter, VCU Health, Hallsley, Becker & Calliot Marketing, Chick Fil A Willow Lawn, Little Mexico, Capital One, and Hibernate.

April 13, 2017

CSL Set for VCU Paralympic Experience Day

by Jalen Manning, CSL graduate students

The 2017 VCU Paralympic Experience Day will take place on Friday April 14, 2017 at the E.J. Wade Arena inside the Stuart C. Siegel Center. This event will be the 3rd installment of the Paralympic Experience Day hosted by the CSL in collaboration with Sportable.

The event begins with doors opening and registration beginning at 5:30 p.m. and will conclude around 8:00 pm! The first 150 people will receive a free t-shirt! The Paralympic Experience Day participants will be taking part in a carnival style event where they have the option of playing wheelchair basketball, wheelchair tennis, goalball, power soccer, sitting volleyball, power cycling, wheelchair lacrosse, and powerlifting. Event participants will be coming from the local Richmond area.

During the event, there will be a chance for attendees to visit the vendor tables, which include Samaritan Walk, Fleet Feet, Sheltering Arms, Mobility Supercenter, The Virginia Lady Warriors, Cary Street Gym, VCU Art Club, VCU Running Club, and the VCU Eat Green Interest Group. The night will culminate with a wheelchair basketball scrimmage between the Sportable Spokes and VCU Student Athletes, followed by a raffle.

April 12, 2017

Junior Masters at The First Tee A Huge Success

by James Moran, CSL graduate student

We knew the Junior Masters at The First Tee, CSL’s first ever SEED event held in Chesterfield, was going to be a perfect event as soon as we stepped onto the course with clear skies overhead, low 80 temperatures, and a slight breeze.


Over 90 children from the greater Richmond community, many from the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Richmond, and Woodville and Manchester YMCAs, flooded into The Tattersall Youth Development Center at The First Tee Chesterfield Golf Course to learn about the game of golf and character building through creative and engaging games. There were over 40 volunteers, including CSL students and professors, the head coach and members of the VCU Men’s Golf team, and YMCA counselors, who engaged with the participants throughout the day and led each of the 9 stations.


“The kids were so excited they could hardly contain themselves this morning and registration was a breeze,” said Tiffany Haynes, Youth Program Director at Manchester YMCA


The event resembled that of a 9-hole links golf course, where each “hole” taught a different golf skill that incorporated one of The First Tee’s 9 Core Values. For example, one station involved participants attempting to blast a ball out of the sand trap, one of golf’s most difficult skills. The Core Value associated with this station, Perseverance, emphasized the importance of keeping a determined mindset in difficult situations. Another station was led by our very own CSL professor, Brendan Dwyer, who taught children how the Core Value of Integrity applies to keeping your own score in golf. Our goal was not only to introduce children to the game of golf, who may not typically have access to this sport, but to also teach how each of the 9 Core Values can be extended to their lives beyond the green.



The theme of our event, the “Junior Masters”, was a tribute to the storied Masters tournament, which was held last weekend in Augusta, GA. The participants were divided into groups named after former Masters champions, such as Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, and the late Arnold Palmer, who all have been great ambassadors for golf during their careers. We also held a Master’s-style “Par 3” contest at the Foot Golf station, where kids were encouraged to kick a soccer ball into an enlarged hole in three or fewer attempts. Finally, instead of green jackets, each participant left The First Tee as a Junior Masters champion with their very own green swag bag!



This event was also very important to extending the reach of the Center for Sport Leadership around the Richmond community for future SEED events. Junior Masters gave us the opportunity to reach out to organizations and work with kids who previously may not have received that sort of opportunity. Our group hopes that building this connection will help shape future events in the coming years.



Of course, our event wouldn’t have been possible without the generosity of our community partners: Pearson Honda, Pepsi, Symbol Mattress, the Richmond Flying Squirrels, Hutchinson Financial Advisors, Kelly Garrison Geico, and our official lunch provider, Capital Ale House. We’re thankful for their involvement, as well as the many other generous donations we received, which allowed us to provide The First Tee of Greater Richmond with a $500 check to assist with future programming!







April 10, 2017

CSL Set for Junior Master’s at The First Tee

Junior Masters at The First Tee will be taking place Tuesday at the Tattersall Youth Development Center at The First Tee of Chesterfield golf course. This event will be the second of five SEED events to take place this spring and will also be the first ever to take place at this venue.

The day will begin with registration at 9:45 a.m. and will conclude at around 1:00 p.m. The event’s participants will be taking part in golf related activities and games focused on teaching them life lessons based on the nine core values of The First Tee. Each core value is represented by a different station with a corresponding activity. In the spirit of the real Masters, each group of kids will be named after a past winner of the legendary competition. Participants will be coming from around the local area, including groups from the Manchester and Woodville YMCA’s and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Richmond.

Lunch will be provided for all of the participants courtesy of Capital Ale House. In addition, they will all be receiving free drawstring bags with items from some more of our sponsors: the Richmond Flying Squirrels, Pepsi and Symbol Mattress.


April 10, 2017

Learning, Networking Highlight Annual Duke, UNC Visit

The timing for this year’s trip to visit the athletic departments of Duke and North Carolina couldn’t have been better. With just 2 weeks left in the semester, our graduate students are searching for their next opportunity in the sport industry. The chance to engage with sports professionals at two of the most acclaimed athletic departments in college sports is a valuable and practical exercise.

The day started in Durham, hearing from three veteran members of Duke Athletic Department: Nina King, Deputy Athletic Director, Art Chase, Assistant AD for Media, and Gerald Harrison, Senior Associate AD for Internal Affairs. Each shared their thoughts and experiences on what it takes to be successful in sport.

The highlight of the trip is always a tour of Duke’s legendary Cameron Indoor Stadium. On Friday, the famous arena had a different look, set up for an alumni reception the following day. While we couldn’t re-create any memorable moments, it was a treat for our students to soak in the history of the building and museum. Thanks to Associate Director of Iron Duke Major Gifts Ryan Miller for the tour and CSL alum Justin Jannuzzi for setting up the visit.

Just seven miles away is another famous arena: the Dean Smith Center, known as the Dean Dome. We were met by another alum Eric Hoots, Assistant to the AD and Director of Player Development for Men’s Basketball.  Our students toured the recently renovated basketball facilities before walking out on the floor. It’s hard not to be in awe, surrounded by thousands of Carolina blue seats, dozens of championship banners looming overhead.

The tour continued with a visit to the UNC Basketball Museum and then a trip to Kenan Stadium, the home to Carolina Football. The Loudermilk Center is the support facility for all student athletics and it’s there where we set up for a panel discussion and networking with members of the UNC athletic department, which included:

  • Nikki Moore, Senior Associate AD/Senior Women’s Administrator
  • Greg Beatty, Academic Counselor
  • Mike Greene, Academic Counselor and CSL alum
  • Alex Milton, Strength & Conditioning Intern and CSL ALum
  • Rachel Strassner, Director of Compliance
  • Ashley Usera, Assistant Director, Ticket Operations and CSL Alum

The discussion centered around what it takes to be successful in the sport industry. The panel shared their experiences and advice while the students peppered them with questions. At the end, there was time for some one-one-one networking between the students and the UNC staff.

We appreciate the hospitality and we are grateful to Duke and UNC for sharing their time and expertise with our students.

April 4, 2017

CSL to host 3rd annual VCU Paralympic Experience Day

by Jalen Manning, CSL graduate student

For the third year in a row, VCU Center for Sport Leadership students have partnered with Sportable, a non-profit organization providing adaptive sports and recreation activities in RVA, to host the 2017 Paralympic Experience Day. Designed to help promote Sportable’s mission to transform the lives of people with physical and visual disabilities, this event seeks to not only enhance Sportable’s brand image, but to also engage the Richmond community in an amazing opportunity to provide the athletes and spectators with a memorable experience. The 2017 VCU Paralympic Experience Day will take place April 14, 2017 at the E.J. Wade Arena in the Stuart C. Siegel Center from 6-8 pm.

“The VCU Paralympic Experience Day is a huge event for the community,” said Marielle Rando, Sportable’s Director of Programs & Public Relations. “Not only are kids and adults with physical disabilities able to check out different adaptive sports, but everyone in the community can come try. People typically have a newfound respect for adaptive sports after the event.”

The event is expected to have 200 participants, who will have the opportunity to enjoy a fun and friendly environment while experiencing the many sports that Sportable has to offer. The 2017 VCU Paralympic Experience Day will operate carnival style, meaning that participants will have the opportunity to move around during the play period and play the offered sport of their choice.  Sports offered include wheelchair basketball, power soccer, tennis, powerlifting, wheelchair lacrosse, and sitting volleyball. The night’s main event will commence after the play period, and will feature a basketball scrimmage between VCU basketball players and the Sportable Spokes, who are coming off a 2016 National Championship! Additionally, the event will be emceed by NBC 12’s Marc Davis, and will include vendor tables and a raffle.