SPORTS: What to watch without live action

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Photo by Werner’s World on Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

by Lilly Savin and Troy Clark —

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many sports have been forced to shut down operations until the disease subsides. Without the usual run of live programming available to stations such as ESPN, broadcasters have taken to some unusual, highly unique “sports” to fill the airwaves. You can catch marble runs, virtual car racing, and some other wacky events on all of the usual sports networks.

Indeed the sports media and event market is a large one in the United States, so filling this gap will be a challenge for even the most interesting of these new “sports.” It remains to be seen whether further cancellations will occur, which will present a greater challenge moving into the future.

Valentine’s Day: Keeping your wallet (and their heart) whole

Blacksburg, Va., Feb 11 – PLENTY OF KISSES: Chocolates, like these iconic Hershey’s Kisses, can be a great low-budget gift for anyone with a sweet tooth. Hershey will produce nearly a billion of these candies for the Valentine’s Day holiday alone.

by Troy Clark –-

Valentine’s Day will be here before we know it, and Blacksburg offers plenty for couples both young and old to busy themselves with on this special day.  Here in town, there are options for couples looking to have an extravagant experience or a calm, reserved experience away from the crowds.

According to WalletHub.com, the average Valentine’s Day couple spent almost $400 in 2019 – that’s $196.31 each, by their math – on gifts and experiences for the big day.  And with nearly a quarter of that cost going to dinner or a night out, it can be hard to choose the correct location.

“Booking typically happens fairly quickly,” remarked Shannon Faherty, bartender at 622 North. “We’re one of the hotspots for date night in Blacksburg.”

A wine bar and restaurant on North Main Street, 622 North is one of many locations in the area that provides a special, limited Valentine’s Day menu.  At a fairly affordable price of $67 per couple – or $47 without alcohol – this option offers an easy, upscale dinner at one of the highest-rated locations in town.  Faherty emphasized the care that their head chef and sommelier have put into the wine pairings with each dish, making this experience truly unique among similar offerings.

“They really take a lot of time and consideration while making the menu, and it really goes to show when we have all these people come in,” furthered Faherty.

Other restaurants in town, such as Ceritano’s, also on North Main Street, also offer a similar special menu option for Valentine’s Day reservations.  Not every couple is looking to spend a significant amount of money or time out, however, and there are plenty of ideas in Blacksburg for this as well.  Local venues are open as usual on Friday night, and the Lyric Theatre on College Avenue is no exception.  The Theatre has two showings of Uncut Gems scheduled for the night, and tickets will run $7 each or $6 with a membership.

However, many Virginia Tech students are simply staying home, or letting others do the planning for them.

“I have an exam on Friday, so I’ll take that,” said Megan Reilly, a junior at Virginia Tech.  “Then I have a date party. It’s more convenient to go to a Greek event than it is to make your own plans.”  Reilly’s sentiment echoes that of an ever-increasing demographic, with Business Insider reporting that 51% of Americans planned to celebrate the holiday in 2019, down 4% from the previous year. Reilly also mentioned how she has been inundated with homework so far this year, which has made Valentine’s Day hard to plan around.

No matter the choice couples make this year, there is always a backup plan: McDonald’s in Blacksburg will be open until midnight on Valentine’s Day.