Darrell General winning the 1997 Marine Corps Marathon Credit: COURTESY MARINE CORPS MARATHON

The Scoreboard is a sports feature spotlighting the winners and losers, the champs and chumps, the highlights and lowlights, and anything in between, of sports in the D.C. area.

Life Coach

Darrell General started coaching high school runners at the height of his elite running career. The two-time Marine Corps Marathon champion (1995 and 1997) qualified for the Olympic marathon trials five times and ran a personal best marathon-time of 2 hours, 14 minutes, and 42 seconds in 1989—all while coaching or working another job. He’s certain he could’ve been an Olympic marathon runner, or at least seriously challenged for a spot, had he chosen to focus solely on his running.

But coaching, General says, allows him to give back to the sport he picked up as a kid growing up in Southeast D.C. General has been coaching for 32 years and is currently the cross country and track coach at George C. Marshall High School in Falls Church, where he’s been since 2002.

“I like helping people through running,” says General, who turns 53 on Sunday. “My main thing is to help kids and help them be prepared to be a better runner and in life, and go on to the next level.”

Last week, voters selected General as the winner of the 2018 FloSports Hometown Heroes award, which the live digital sports company says “recognizes the finest coaches across the country who have made an impact in their community by changing high-school-age athletes’ lives for the better.” General, one of the five finalists, took home $25,000 for winning the award.

He says that the money will help pay off his bills, and that he may eventually throw a party for the Marshall track teams to celebrate. General also credits his wife, Tammie, whom he in married in 2007, as being an invaluable sounding board for him.

The award, says General, ranks among the top of his accomplishments.

“I know I was fast enough and strong enough to challenge for [an Olympic] spot, but helping out and coaching was more important to me than trying to be an Olympian,” he says.

Looking Up

After a flurry of reports of internal dysfunction and a visible apathy on the court, the Wizards have won three of their last four games entering Wednesday night and improved to 8-12 on the season. On Nov. 26, Washington withstood a 54-point onslaught from reigning MVP James Harden to beat the Houston Rockets, 135-131 in overtime.

John Wall scored 36 points to lead the Wizards and Bradley Beal added 32 points.

“We are playing harder. It’s really simple,” coach Scott Brooks told reporters after the game. “There’s no coach, there’s no players that can overcome not playing hard. And the bottom line for whatever reason, we’ve been trying to figure out, that we have to play harder. By playing hard you get a chance to win, and that’s the easiest thing to do. It’s easy to be in shape, and it’s easy to play hard, it’s hard to play well … We have guys that need to play hard every night, and when you do that it’s fun to coach. And when you don’t do that, it’s not fun to coach.”

NFC (L)east

In ESPN’s most recent NFL power rankings, the highest-ranked NFC East team is the Dallas Cowboys (6-5) at 14th. The Washington football team (6-5) is one spot behind them. The defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles (5-6) are ranked 18th, while the 3-8 New York Giants are 27th out of 32 teams.

Overall, the NFC East is proving to be one of the weakest divisions in the NFL. No team has been able to pull away, and Washington’s next game, on Monday, Dec. 3, against the Eagles in Philadelphia could be pivotal in determining who wins the division.

All it may take to reach the playoffs is nine overall wins.