The Community’s Basketball Team

By Victoria Kidd

There’s a storm brewing in Winchester, but it’s not the result of cloudy skies or competing pressure systems. It’s the result of visionary leadership, lots of hard work, and a sincere love of basketball. The Winchester Storm Basketball Organization is the umbrella entity covering the Storm Basketball Team, the Junior Storm Program, and the Stormettes Dance Team. It was created in 2010 and has been steadily growing every since.

Mardesky Blowe, the organization’s vice president of operations, relays that the organization owes its existence primarily to the vision of Norman Blowe, Jr., a man who serves as the organization’s president of operation/general manager today. “His main goals were to provide affordable sports entertainment to the community and to give basketball players the opportunity to continue their basketball careers in a setting that could also provide a foundation for possible advancement in the basketball world,” Blowe says of Norman.


Making the team a reality required significant effort, but once all of the logistical and administrative necessities of owning a team were in place, it was time to hold tryouts, select a home game venue, and secure game staff. (One of the most important efforts was to select the team’s name. Blowe, a lifelong Winchester resident, knew he and Norman had to include the city’s name in the team’s name, but he chose storm because it is a word with “power and impact.”) The team’s first season started in December of 2010.

Growing quietly ever since, The Winchester Storm organization has seen a surge in public awareness and support. That growth has attracted sponsors such as Valley Health, Menchies Frozen Yogurt, Itimizit Organization and Micro Storage, Piccadilly Printing, Papa Johns, B105, the Family Drive In, City National Bank, Signet, Aloft Hotels Winchester, Handy Mart, Ortho Now Bone & Joint Specialist of Winchester, Sheetz, Edward Jones, Re/Max, and Bucca di Beppo. It’s not just businesses that have noticed the team’s value. The community has increasingly shown their support by attending games and other events. One could argue that such is due to the talent of the players and the team’s commitment to creating an entertaining atmosphere.

Blowe explains, “Our games are the ultimate game day experience! We provide you with a high level of basketball (that is played by all NBA rules), our Stormettes Dance Team, kid’s activities that include games we have the kids participate in at the end of quarters, mascots to keep the crowd involved, a $500 halftime shot provided by our Sponsor Itimizit Organization and Micro Storage, sponsor informational tables and giveaways, and an overall evening of exciting family entertainment!”

While game day is certainly the day the public looks forward to, it is surely not the only day the team is involved with the public. The organization as a whole—from its leadership to its players—is committed to giving back to the community. All involved understand that its visibility makes it perfectly suited to have a significant impact on the lives of others.

The team actively works to bring awareness to local charities that work in the areas of family needs, health and wellness, and education.

Blowe says, “We have hosted family bonding activities, fundraisers, and charity games for groups like the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the Evans Home, St. Jude Hospital, The Hemophilia Foundation of Virginia, and Timber Ridge—to name a few. We have camps that are held throughout the year and provide scholarships to kids who may not be able to afford the fees but still deserve to participate in the experience. We always strive to provide fun activities and fundraising opportunities to help bring awareness and give back to important groups like these in our community and in the state of Virginia.”

The Storm is always looking to increase its impact, and they have committed to an innovative way to do so for the current season. “New this 2014-2015 season we are donating $1.00 of every ticket sold at our home games to the Valley Health Cancer Center building fund,” Blowe says. He believes that this cause is deserving of support not only because of the value the center will have in the community, but also because there are very few local families that have not been impacted in some way by cancer.

Charity and service are foundational to the team’s philosophy, and their Junior Storm Program is exemplarily of that philosophy. “Our Junior Storm Program is very meaningful to us. We currently have 37 participants,” says Blowe.

“When we started this program, free of charge, it was to give youths ages 7 to 15, male or female, the opportunity to somewhat mirror the goals and aspirations of the Current Winchester Storm Organization. We teach the importance of education, hard work, and dedication in order to achieve life goals, demonstrate individual responsibility, and gain a sense of self-pride.” The program includes activities on the court, as well as field trips to local businesses where participants learn how to run a business. It’s an innovative program that helps area youth learn the value of exercise and training while building self-confidence.

In addition to the Junior Storm Program, the Winchester Storm organization is also the umbrella operation for the Stormettes, a dance team that was formed for the 2013-2014 season. “The Stormettes are a group of talented women working hard on and off the court,” Blowe relays. “They are women who have previous experience in the world of dance and are looking to continue in that world. They have opportunities of advancement in the professional world, as do the basketball players. They share the same goals of community involvement and are very proud to be a part of the game aspect as a whole. As they like to say, ‘we like to provide you with the ultimate game day experience.’”

The team is committed to providing that ultimate game day experience as a means of affordable entertainment for the community. For more information about the team, the Stormettes, or the Junior Storm Program, visit When you do, pull out your calendar, talk to your family, and schedule a date to come see the team’s talent first-hand, but be careful… one game day visit and you’ll be hooked.

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