This week I’ve spent a few hours watching the coverage of the Virginia Tech incident. In those hours spent in front of the television, sickened by the unfathomable horror of the incident itself and the media’s self-serving assault on the people of Blacksburg, I’ve noticed something about the students.
The students of Virginia Tech love their university.
Nearly every student interviewed following Monday’s massacre was wearing some type of Virginia Tech clothing. Sweatshirts and jackets with “Hokies” printed across the chest, or hats with the recognizable “VT” stitched over the visor. The level of pride these students display is admirable, and says something about the university’s culture. If you are a Hokie, you’re part of a family.
I am considering a trip to Blacksburg in the fall. November 10. The date the Florida State Seminoles roll into town to take on the Hokies of Virginia Tech. ESPN ranked Lane Stadium as the country’s most intimidating college venue, and for that reason I’ve always wanted to experience a game in Blacksburg.
Anyone who has seen a Hokie football game on television knows they have one of the most intense openings of any sporting event anywhere on the planet. As kickoff approaches, the football team gathers in the tunnel at the far end zone. Over the loudspeakers we hear the opening cords of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman.” The entire team begins bouncing up and down, their helmets shining in the stadium lights. As the guitar riffs amplify, the crowd works itself into a complete frenzy. The band is pounding away, the cheerleaders running the length of the field with giant VT flags. Soon there are 66,000 people bouncing up and down and screaming their heads off. I’ve been told that just before kickoff, Lane Stadium is loud enough to register an earthquake on the Richter Scale. (Click here to see for yourself.)
The fanaticism witnessed in Lane Stadium is spawned by an immeasurable pride. The type of pride that brings two complete strangers together in a small bar in some far off place one Saturday in the fall to cheer their team. Two people who have never met, but form an immediate bond, as they are part of the Hokie family.
In the wake of this tragedy, I think we’ve all felt what it’s like to be part of the family.