Guest Author - Donna Ledbetter
Without professional NBA, NFL, and MLB sports teams, Virginia may not seem like an eventful destination for sports fans. On the contrary, Virginia shines. Its focus on minor league and other sports set it distinctly apart from neighboring midatlantic states with professional teams.
Noting first the geographic location of Virginia, travelers will find that the state lends itself well to both water sports and winter sports in addition to traditional team sports. The coastal terrain of Virginia is suitable for sports like sailing, swimming, and volleyball, each of which stand as popular spectator sports for many enthusiasts. Virginia’s mountainous terrain is ideal for a variety of sports, from hiking and mountain biking to skiing and sledding.
Golf is another popular sport in Virginia that draws crowds from both local and international circles. In fact, Virginia is so renowned for golf that it has been host to more than a handful of tournaments sponsored by the United States Golf Association. The Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, Virginia, has hosted several of these, and it also boasts of having the oldest continuously used first tee in the world.
Of similar status is Virginia’s position as part of the Sprint Cup NASCAR races. The state as a whole has nearly 20 speedway courses, and among them is the legendary Virginia International Raceway, touted as having one of the most premiere road courses in the United States. Many professional driving athletes look to Virginia’s speedways as testing grounds for more advanced runs.
Hockey, Soccer, Baseball
Three team sport favorites—hockey, soccer, and baseball—have homes in Virginia as affiliates to their major league counterparts. Below is a list of team names. A visit to one of their games will be a refreshing contrast to the highly commercial, high-ticket price seats of professional team games.
Hampton Road Mariners
Bristol White Sox
With such variety of activity and spectator sport available, Virginia is a quiet, understated mecca for the sports enthusiast. The state offers travelers opportunities to see the other side of their favorite pastimes and encourages renewed appreciation and interest for the professional sports they love.