Game plan: At play on the fields (and courts) of the University of Virginia

Photo: Ashley Twiggs Photo: Ashley Twiggs

Ralph Sampson, Dawn Staley. Malcolm Brogdon, Tiki Barber. Leah Smith. It’s no secret that many storied athletes have graduated from the University of Virginia. What may not be as well-known, though, is that athletes (of both the varsity and casual variety) don’t spend all their time at venues like Scott Stadium, the John Paul Jones Arena or Davenport Field. There are plenty of lower-profile outdoor spots on Grounds where anyone can enjoy a game of pickup soccer, basketball, football or softball—and who knows Hoo you might run into.    

Now that they’ve had some time to recover from the premature and disappointing end to their 2017-18 basketball season, Kyle Guy, Ty Jerome or Isaiah Wilkins might be up for joining you in a game of H-O-R-S-E on one of the Dell basketball courts, located near Ruffner Hall on Emmet Street.

It was recently announced that two-time Super Bowl champ and UVA alum Chris Long is the featured speaker for this year’s Valedictory Exercises. But before he takes the stage on May 18, maybe you’ll find him tossing the pigskin around at Carr’s Hill Field, three acres of artificial turf on University Avenue.   

Washington Nationals first-baseman and former Virginia baseball standout Ryan Zimmerman won’t have much time to spare now that the Major League season has begun, but who’s to say he wouldn’t be up for a little batting practice at Copeley Field on Massie Road (across from the North Grounds Recreation Center) if he’s on Grounds come fall?

Sure, Danielle Collins recently defeated five-time Wimbledon winner Venus Williams at the Miami Open, but if the one-time Wahoo and two-time NCAA national singles champ has a break between WTA events, she might swing by her former home courts at the corner of Emmet Street and University Avenue and give you a few pointers on your backhand.

The next time Olympian, FIFA World Cup champion and two-time Hermann Trophy winner Morgan Brian is in town, the UVA First-Team All-American probably wouldn’t be opposed to joining a game of pickup soccer at Mad Bowl, the three-acre natural grass field behind Madison Hall that was one of the university’s original playing fields.