Editor's Note: This is TKP's official stance on how to conduct yourself Saturday. --Joe
66,233. Remember this number. It is exactly the amount of people necessary to take a structure of steel and stone and turn it into a terrorizing sea of opposition for any visiting team. Let the sun go down and an energy amasses that can go toe-to-toe with any stadium in the country. Lane Stadium is considered by most as a second tier venue behind the likes of The Big House, The Swamp, and Happy Valley heralding body counts near or above 100,000. However, the fan base is what makes or breaks the intensity. In 2005 Rivals ranked Lane as #1 in their Toughest Places to Play followed by a #2 spot in ESPN’s “Top 10 Scariest Places to Play”. Make it a night game in a marquee match up and any visiting team will give it a unanimous #1. Getting to that point however takes a lot of hard work, determination, and high tolerance for alcohol. Therefore, herein will be a go to guide for preparation if making the trip to Blacksburg this Saturday.
Tailgating is the quintessential ingredient for a successful night game experience. We all know how god awful it is to wake up from a night of rails only to set up at 8am and pack a day’s worth of food and beverage consumption into a four hour timeframe for a noon kick off. Much like our players, going into the game cold or with limited warm up reps can create a lackluster and dangerous performance. However, with a night game it’s a marathon, not a sprint. My proven method to keep an even keel is food, food, food, beer, beer, water, beer, food, beer, water, beer. As we head further into fall this combo allows for a good buzz along with the coveted “beer blanket”. In my undergrad days I made the constant mistake of hanging out with friends Jack and Jim much too early all the while going for gold in my own version of tailgate Olympics. As fun as that was, turning this Maroon Effect game into a Black Out causes obnoxiousness and miscues on key chants and plays. We want your A-game folks.
Once the last shotgun is taken it is time to make the trek from whatever length away to the majestic gates. This time should be taken to reflect on how “F’ing Pumped” you are Bro and Bro-ette’s. Not partaking in the veritable high five-a-thon and chants should be illegal. Fellow Hokies want those pipes primed with an incessant LETS GOOOO!!! HOKIESSSS!!! It is highly encouraged to be as loud as possible in front of opposing fans to offer somewhat of an appetizer before the cohesive main dish is served. Being a d-bag however is not preferred. Many visiting fans often applaud Hokies for being inviting, fun, and respectful. Blacksburg IS NOT Morgantown. We’re all better because of that.
Up to this point has been child’s play. We’ve gone through a month of boring games against lesser talent and that’s been easily visible in play and intensity of the fan base. This match up kicks off the long ACC ridden road ahead against what appears to be Heather Dinnich’s new love child. Good for them. However, they are not in Kansas…err Clemson anymore. As the 12th man we must be at one speed, go. The Enter Sandman themed jump fest is one of the most unique entrances in the country. It sets the tone for the rest of the game and can probably level a small city. This and the subsequent and deafening "Lets Go!....Hokies!" is where focus and determination are key. It takes EVERYONE to rock the house as the other team enters the field. This is a young group and will probably be the first time they have ever been in such an environment. Most likely the most hostile they will be in all year. Unnerving the competition from the get go allows our team to feed off that energy. When it comes to fruition as did in ’03 against Miami it will be one of the most beautiful things to witness. With that, the game is never over until the clock hits zero. Many made that mistake against Nebraska, including this idiot. Be your loudest on every down that our defense is on the field and church mouse silent when the offense takes the field. Also, for the love of God do not forget your keys. Holding onto a key ring with single key another had to break down for you is outright pitiful. Ive seen the magic of Disney, partied in the tropics, and been a part of some amazing games but they all pale in comparison to that fateful night my freshman year when Miami came to town so full of “swagger”. For those going I hope it becomes one for the story books. For those of you at home, we will be your voice. We Are Virginia Tech!