They Read a UVA Today Story – and Then Went on Their Own Journey Around the Wide World of Wahoo Sports

They were very familiar with the main attractions, but what the Fun Club story did was open the Deckers’ eyes to entertainment opportunities beyond Scott Stadium, John Paul Jones Stadium and Desharon Park.

“It gave us an opportunity to expand our horizons,” Rob said. “We have this great asset in Charlottesville, with top-tier athletes and facilities all over the place. Why not look under the hood and check it out?

Well-trained as an expert planner through years of juggling her sons’ baseball travel schedules, Susan began filling the calendar with games in the late summer. Their first trip to Turf Field was on August 25 to see the sixth-ranked UVA field hockey team beat No. 5 Penn State by a score of 2-1.

On Oct. 6, at Memorial Gymnasium, the Deckers put their own twist on the challenge by finding a UVA student-athlete after competing and asking them to take a photo while holding a piece of paper identifying their numbered stop on their quest.

Cavalier volleyball player Ashley Lue was the first to fulfill the couple’s request after Virginia’s game against Clemson University.

“We were kind of floundering at first,” Rob said. “We didn’t know how to document it. But then we came up with the idea of ​​having the student-athlete carry the actual tally for each event — and the student-athletes were 100 percent receptive to it. They were polite and courteous. That really impressed me.”

The Cavaliers’ participation in the photos ranged from men’s cross country runner Wes Porter on October 14 (Deckers’ stop No. 6) to women’s squash player Erin O’Connor on February 17 (stop No. 11) and women’s tennis player Melodie Collard. and Megi Navarro on March 24 (Station No. 17) to Men’s golfer Paul Chang On April 8 (Station No. 20).

“Going to all the places and seeing these talented athletes was so amazing,” Susan said. “Like golf, it’s an elite level and it’s something I’ve never personally seen before. And tennis, oh my God. I’ve been to the US Open, but you can go to Boar’s Head for free and see high-level tennis there. And you’re right next to the court. Like, you’re so close.” I never knew that and I’m a tennis fan!

“So it was amazing. Like, how in 24 years have I not come out here to watch this? And that’s also how I felt about squash — it’s unbelievable, such a high level.”

Beyond spectating, the Decker family found social value in their adventure. A conversation with the father of field hockey player Adele Iacobucci later led them to visit his restaurant in the Philadelphia area. They were also amazed by the dedication of the volleyball player’s mother who still attends her daughter’s matches despite being a surgeon in Texas.

“Our sons played college baseball (at Roanoke College and Salisbury University), so we are good at having sports parents in the stands,” Robb said. “We were in their shoes at one point and felt what they were going through — how stressed and tense they were.

“But after the competition, we got to see them meet their kids, which was great. I liked that aspect of seeing the game through their eyes. It took us back in time.”

From feeling nostalgic to gaining a new appreciation for the many distinct teams and venues UVA has to offer, the Deckers came away from their entire trip grateful for their experience.

Taking the fun club route “is not for the weary, but you’ll be glad you did,” Rob said.

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