I took the assignment as the Skipper's first "commander." I was in charge of all of the loading and firing at the Thanksgiving game. It was a very high scoring game. But before the game, the announcer asked for a minute of silence for President Kennedy. I can remember how completely silent that big stadium became. I could hear the chains on the flagpole clinking softly on the far end of the stadium. After that, the team came running in and I decided to fire the Skipper. We popped in one of the mustard bottles. What a blast! The enclosed stadium concentrated the sound, and football players nearby were practically bowled over by it. The VMI corps stopped cheering and just gaped at us. We had a winner.
Near the end of the game, our team made a touchdown, and I threw a charge down the barrel. I was not prepared for what happened next. The resulting blast sent a shock wave across the field and through the stands, literally smashing its way through the press box, cracking the glass plates, and snapping reporters' heads back.
Immediately, a policeman came running over. "Aim that thing in another direction!" he yelled. My ears were ringing so much I could barely hear him. We did turn Skipper around, however, and aimed it toward the end zone.
On the next firing, one of the VMI football players was about 20 yards in front of the cannon when it went off. I didn't see him until it was too late. When the smoke cleared, he was gone. I guess I would've heard something if the Skipper had actually blown him away. Wherever he went, I'm certain it was a moment he has never forgotten.
The above paragraphs read like they've been quoted from the comic The Adventures of Skipper #1. Isn't it something magical when ordinary things such as: humans, sharks, or cannons transform into something more than the flesh, teeth or iron that make them up? Skipper isn't just a cannon, he's a symbol of Virginia Tech football. He's gritty, reliable and hardened. There's the touchdown, the extra point and, in Lane Stadium, Skipper's roar—the knockout punch straight to the opponent's gut.
Ladies and gentleman there are 50 days until Virginia Tech football kicks off. Let's go!
Trivia*: Who was Skipper named after?
*The first person to leave a comment with the correct answer gets a point. At the end of the season the most points wins a free tee from GameDay Passion.