Vangie Williams and John Suddarth have two things in common: politics and bowling.
Well, they may have more than two things in common, but these are two things I’m interested in.
Williams and Suddarth are two of the three candidates for the Democratic nomination in the 1st Congressional District — Edwin Santana is the other — which means they’ll square off in a June 12 primary to be able to challenge GOP Rep. Rob Wittman.
That’s the big story.
The small one is their bowling connection. Williams’ husband, Glenn, is a professional bowler, and Suddarth used to be the chief operating officer of AMF Bowling Products.
Now, will those facts affect the primary or general elections? Probably not.
Do they rank up there in importance with what the candidates would do if elected? Nope.
But do they make for an interesting commonality that tells us more about these two individuals? I would argue they do.
And that’s what I aim to do in this space from now on: relate stories small and large, yours and mine, that tell us more about the place where we live, whether that’s Prince William County, Manassas or Manassas Park.
What gives me the right to present these stories? Not much. Journalists aren’t licensed in Virginia, and mainly I’m just nosy. But here are my Prince William bona fides (if you’re wondering):
Except for a short span, I’ve lived here since 2009, in Woodbridge, just outside Occoquan.
My son has been to see Santa when the Jolly Old Elf comes by boat to that river town at Christmas, and Jackson has marched in the Manassas Christmas parade.
OK, I guess those are his bona fides, not mine, but one year I did ride around on a firetruck with Santa when he visited the good little boys and girls in Manassas Park.
I’m also a Potomac Nationals fan even though I don’t like the Washington Nationals (my big-league love goes to the Baltimore Orioles).
I once got a buzz haircut in the Town of Quantico on a dare.
I consider the bourbon chicken at the Potomac Mills food court a delicacy, and I remember when two W’s were unknown here: Wegmans and Wawa.
And, another thing about Potomac Mills, I think the skyline does look weird without the big sign.
Basically, I’m someone who grew up in Southwest Virginia but who is now a committed PWC type.
This is my home, and I appreciate the diversity we have here in all its forms. I also like that we’re near Washington, and I understand the pros of that as well as the cons, like traffic. (“How you like that Northern Virginia traffic?” I remember a relative asking after I moved.)
Speaking of that, I do claim this area as part of Northern Virginia, though I kind of like that some natives don’t, retaining a geographic identity for Prince William all its own.
Regardless of your position on this issue or any other, please let me hear from you.
There’s a million stories out there, and we need just a fraction of those to put in the newspaper. But the best ones come from readers.
So no matter what you’ve got to say, or how you say it, my ears are open.
Jonathan Hunley is a staff writer for this newspaper. His column will appear weekly, and he can be reached at email@example.com.