Nationals

NFL-bound Oday Aboushi helps Staten Islanders

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NFL-bound Oday Aboushi helps Staten Islanders

NEW YORK (AP) Miles from home, Oday Aboushi watched all the news reports and felt helpless as Superstorm Sandy tore through the neighborhoods in which he grew up.

The offensive lineman from the University of Virginia, a potential first-round pick in the NFL draft, knew what was happening: homes of friends destroyed, parts of Staten Island where he once hung out under water.

And Aboushi, all 6-foot-6 and 310 pounds of him, couldn't do a thing about it.

``Yeah, it was a little tough hearing about all the damage being done and having your family on the island, as well, close to the water,'' he said Saturday. ``We were blessed to have nothing happen to us, my family. But just to hear about what was happening and seeing pictures of what was going on here was so nervewracking.''

Done with his studies - officially a UVA graduate as of this week - and looking toward an NFL career, Aboushi needed to take care of things back home.

He trained for a week at Athletes Performance, a pre-draft camp, in Pensacola, Fla. Aboushi then returned to Staten Island and the Midland Beach neighborhood, one of the harder-hit areas along the east coast of the New York borough, to lend a hand to nearly 1,000 residents in need of food, clothing and supplies.

``On the way here, I drove past New Dorp Lane and Midland Beach and to see how the houses look now, which I know wouldn't even compare to how they looked the day after the storm, it's definitely an eye-opener,'' he said. ``It makes you feel blessed and privileged to be in a position where you can actually give back and help people.''

Aboushi was joined by his family in giving out donated items at the Olympia Activity Center, a modest building usually used for parties, banquets, meetings and sports events. On Saturday, it was a makeshift safe haven for families still without heat, homes or food. Across the street, the ruined innards of some homes sat in large metal dumpsters. Other houses still had their windows ominously taped - just as they were before the storm hit on Oct. 29.

Hundreds of people lined up outside the center, which had a banner draped across the entrance: ``Occupy Sandy Relief.'' Inside was a room filled with canned goods, dry food and mounds of warm clothes, including 100 Reebok winter coats donated by Jets linebacker David Harris. Mark Rosen of Sabrett Hot Dogs had nearly a half-dozen vending carts set up outside to cook thousands of free frankfurters for anyone who came by.

Aboushi, wearing an orange Virginia Cavaliers hoodie, also spent time signing autographs for fans proud of the local kid who came back to help.

``It brings you back to earth where you think to yourself, `I could be that person or that could be my family,''' Aboushi said. ``So I know if I was in that position, I know people would be trying to help me, too.''

Aboushi grew up in Tottenville at the southern tip of Staten Island and went to Xaverian High School in Brooklyn, right over the Verrazano Bridge. In the days following the storm, Aboushi read on Facebook and Twitter about how some former high school classmates had been hit hard, guys with whom he spent time in class and on the football field.

``I knew there was something I needed to do about it to try to help,'' he said. ``People are cleaning up and getting better every day, so I didn't want to wait until it was too late to help. And I wanted to do it before I even got to the NFL.''

That time is coming soon. Aboushi is expected to be picked in the first round or early in the second, at left or right tackle. He is athletic and agile. He was a first-team all-ACC selection this season and was an early roster selection to the Senior Bowl on Jan. 26 in Mobile, Ala.

Aboushi will remain in Staten Island through the holidays and then return to Florida to train for the Senior Bowl.

``I'm going to enjoy my family and enjoy my city over the next week,'' he said with a big smile. ``I'm not going to see a lot of people for a long time with all the training, so it'll be nice to hang out with everyone.''

After the Senior Bowl, Aboushi will prepare for the NFL combine in Indianapolis in February and try to impress scouts. Then he'll find out what his future holds with the April draft.

``It's encouraging to see those projections and have people noticing you, knowing that your hard work is paying off,'' Aboushi said. ``Growing up, when I picked Virginia, I had this in my head from Day 1. This has always been part of the plan. So to see it come together, there's nothing better.''

Moments after saying that, some of the first groups waiting outside were let into the center. Aboushi was there to greet them.

``This was the next big thing on my calendar,'' he said. ``I was prepping myself for it and busy getting everybody on board with it. I was anxious about it, but the day for me to help is finally here.''

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Nationals-Phillies postponed on Monday night

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Nationals-Phillies postponed on Monday night

WASHINGTON -- Bryce Harper came back to the District on Monday. No baseball was played.

Rain storms cycled through the DMV starting around 6 p.m. at first delaying the series-opening game between the Nationals and Phillies, before it was finally postponed at 10 p.m. The game will be made up as part of a split-doubleheader on Wednesday. The first game is at 1:05 p.m., the second at 7:05 p.m.

The Tuesday starters for both teams remain the same: Patrick Corbin for the Nationals and Jake Arrieta for the Phillies.

Washington will need an extra starter during the week because it is playing seven games in six days. For instance, the Nationals could call someone up to pitch the first game Wednesday, and have Max Scherzer pitch on regular rest Wednesday night. The doubleheader being played Wednesday instead of Tuesday allows the Nationals plenty of time to import a starter for the day, if they choose to do it then.

However, Tuesday’s forecast is also rain-filled. Stay tuned.

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The Capitals were mentioned on Jeopardy! and of course we're proud of it

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The Capitals were mentioned on Jeopardy! and of course we're proud of it

The Stanley Cup no longer resides in Washington, and all eyes have shifted toward the offseason as the Capitals look to retool for next season. But, that doesn't mean we can't stop and appreciate the magical 2018 season now and again.

A week after reminiscing about the championship run and ensuing parade, the famous game show "Jeopardy!" gave us one more moment of glory on Monday night.

One of the clues featured in the latest episode had the Capitals as the answer and even featured Alexander Ovechkin.

It appears that one of the contestants did answer it correctly. More importantly, according to the replies, it was also cleared up that no one brought up the Pittsburgh Penguins during that round. 

While it may be somewhat hard to cope with the fact that the Capitals will not be enjoying another offseason of championship partying in 2019 we can take pride in the fact that the question was about the Caps winning the Stanley Cup, and not centered around a dreaded title drought.

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