An Open Letter

Sunday, September 30, 2012, 12:42 AM

Dear students of Virginia Tech,

I'm sitting on a futon that isn't mine, somewhere in Arlington (though I'm still not quite sure where), staring at a blinking cursor for 10 minutes, trying to figure out what to say. After driving for four hours through an abysmal rain, I attended a thoroughly overpriced game at FedEx Field, only to watch my Hokies...no, our Hokies blow another game.

Earlier tonight, Joe did a very wonderful job summing up how mediocre this team actually is. Make no mistake...it's not a good team (and for any of you completely blinded by homerism/freshmanism please watch 'Bama or Oregon, then get back to me). But do you know what? I'm glad.

I've said this privately to an assortment of people close to me; the student section sucks. It's not even a secret anymore. It's been apparent to people going to games for over a year that the students are the worst fans in the building.

Through three games at Lane this season I have seen the following: people leaving at half time, people leaving after the first quarter, people being so obsessed with turning their tickets into paper airplanes and getting them onto the field that they don't care that the Georgia Tech game is tied in the fourth quarter. I've see people boo the Hokies on both offense and defense. I see more and more people use "party rules" (it's cooler to show up late, aka no Sandman, and leave before it's dead) for games in the North End Zone. I've heard students ask why they didn't play Sandman more than once in the game. I've heard them ask why people yell stick it in (#neverforget). I've even seen students...in the North...SIT. They were actually sitting down while Tech was on defense.

It's easy to place the blame in places that it probably shouldn't be placed. For students, it's easy to tell the highbrow former students now alumni (looking at you classes of '03-08) that it's a different time now. It's easy to lie and tell yourself that no one will miss you if you leave during halftime.

This stops now.

It obviously won't, because the students that will inevitably read this blog are the ones that care. But it must. There is a general malaise over the program that reaches all the way from Jim Weaver and President Steger to the 18-year-old freshman that desperately checks their email in Pritchard to see if they won a lottery ticket.

People are so content with winning that it has turned everyone lazy. Beamer dodges the tough questions and falls back on 10-wins as his go-to statistic when asked about the team. Players seem to just assume that this will happen year in and year out. Students? In my opinion, we are the worst of the bunch.

When I came in as a freshman, Tech was coming off an Orange Bowl win over Cincinnati and the 10-win streak was starting to be a thing. My buddies and I knew two things: 1) We would throw our hearts and souls behind Tyrod Taylor and 2) That would end in a decent amount of victories. We learned how to be student fans by osmosis from students that learned it the exact same way from their upperclassmen.

But, just like any tradition passed orally (I know...I just said orally), things start to fade. Habits start to form, and fan laziness occurs. It starts with, "Eh, I can go home for fall break...it's just Duke". Then it turns to "Eh, let's leave...it's Arkansas State and we're up by 2 scores, we won't blow it," which inevitably leads to, "I don't want to go to Pittsburgh or Cincinnati, we'll probably kill them anyway."

Did you happen to watch football this season? We are going to kill no one, not one damn team. And you know what? The 10-win streak is probably going to be over. That's okay. Just like the way Beamer (sometimes) replaces seniors with more hungrier freshmen, eventually students will be weeded out. The girls that wear beige sweaters and black dresses. The bros that boo when Logan gets sacked. The young guns who love sitting in the North...and then actually sit.

This season is going to be a battle. Every single game is going to be a struggle, and there are still three more games in Lane. The question is, will you be there? Will you want to go to Duke if the team has lost 3 out of 4? Will you want to brave the elements on a cold Thursday night game to potentially watch your team get slaughtered by Florida State? Will you want to come back early from Thanksgiving break to go to the UVA game?

If you answered yes, you're in the right. This letter isn't intended for you. You bring the same amount of passion to a team that you probably care too much about, just like me. If you even hesitated responding to any of those questions? That's fine, maybe we failed you...but there's the door to the Hokie bandwagon. We'd really appreciate you to get off at the next station.

This season is going to be an adventure...and probably not in a good way. It's going to be an investment of time and emotion...but the students (especially the non-seniors) will become such better fans. You will never take anything for granted, and will cheer until the end of your time Blacksburg. In some sick way, I envy you.

Well, I've been writing much longer than intended, and I think I've made my point. I hope to see you all next home game, because this only gets better one game at a time...coincidentally, like the football team.

Regards,

Brian Marcolini
Virginia Tech | Class of 2013

Contact the editor about this post anytime by phone: (703) 646-1931 or mail: 3057 Nutley St Suite 633, Fairfax, Virginia 22031.

Comments

Amen brother

I am a 6th year (Go me!) senior, thought not all at Virginia Tech (though I have bled maroon and orange since I could walk), and it makes me so very very angry to see people sitting, people bailing. My tickets this season are right between a sorority and a fraternity (who are apparently connected, btw). I was ashamed to bring my little brother (who is 13) to the Austin Peay game this year because of how awful (and drunk) the kids in both acted. The same also bailed at halftime for the most part, of both the Austin Peay and Bowling Green games.

Is this the student fan base we have now? I wanted so badly to be in the North Endzone this season, and it makes me very mad to see it empty by halftime, meaning that the kids in those seats didn't give enough of a damn about the players, about the game, about their damn school.

I did not grow up in Virginia (North Carolina baby!) but the UVA game is the game I look forward to most every single year. If the house is not packed, if there are a ton of empty seats, no matter our record, then I fully expect to be handing the Commonwealth Cup back to UVA in my final home game as a student.

Maybe I care too much

North Carolina Raised, Hokie Bred

Everybody you are trying to reach...

...doesn't read a forum like this.

Solution

Step 1: Copy the link at the top
Step 2: Go to facebook
Step 3: Paste link to facebook

Rinse and repeat

I love this college so much that, even having graduated, I risked losing 80+ dollars to still try and get student season tickets. I've gone to every home game since 2008 (when I entered), and if I don't lose my voice at a game I consider myself a failure. I considered myself a failure when I left the Austin Peay game early because I was deathly ill. But I don't think I'm the problem.

The problem is when the North End Zone is EMPTY against Bowling Green. I have a picture of it. I was able to see two of my friends in North from eyesight. That should never happen. Ever. And I hate those paper airplanes.

DANNY COALE ALL THE WAY TO THE THREE

Preach it

I was in the 200s at Fedex and the atmosphere was just terrible. I saw at least three people who were too drunk to even realize there was a game, and one threw up on a mom who brought her two kids to the game to try and build the next generation of fans. Hey kudos for showing up and I'm all for adult beverages, but you're not being a good fan and you make all of us look like ish. Other people booing Logan and very few people making noise until the end. I've sat through some terrible losses (Temple, 98?) and I just don't agree with booing your own team. Plus those black jerseys from the Boise St were everywhere, and I'm of the personal opinion that those are awful and should be burned.

Agreed that I'm almost hoping we have a sub par season to weed out the crappy fans, fire up the team and get back to what we have done most of the time I've been a fan, which is just out-effort the other team.

One last thought...I'm bringing my Seminole cousin to the Thursday night game, and it's the first time I'm going to a Hokie game EXPECTING to lose. I've always been able to talk myself into some optimistic scenario, but I just don't see how we hang with them this year. My only hope is we the fans get our ish together and show him how the Terror Dome rocks at night, regardless of what happens on the field.

Always a Hokie

Always.

"We've got a lot of great memories here."
-Frank Beamer, speaking of TKP (probably)

Needed to be said

Every game I attend I think I'm going to have to slug some poor kid who is so drunk he is elbowing my wife or knocking over peoples drink or throwing up all over my shoes. Just food for thought if you are so drunk you can't communicate in english or throw up on someone's shoe you shouldn't be at a football game for a team you obviously don't care about. Give your ticket to someone who cares. I was born and raised on VT football. I didn't have the luxury to attend VT but when I was taught what football was I was taught on VT. I havebeen cheering VT since I was 5. I been here through Drunk, Al, Mike,Bryan,Tyrod all the greats. Like Brian said don't let the bandwagon door hit you in the ass on the way out. I bleed ORANGE and MAROON.

Win one for the Beamer...

1000% Agree.

It's a shift in culture. This doesn't change with winning or loosing seasons. It changes with management of the "GameDay Experience," which has fallen off.

I'll be running for VT AD this November. Stamp your ballots!

#Bando2012

Sad

This is ridiculous, what a bunch jackasses! I've been going to games since I was a freshman in high school & I've never seen the fans (especially the students) leave so ridiculously early! I remember being in high school & freezing my ass off, damn near in tears at November games. I would be begging my parents to let me leave, nope. Some might call that child abuse, but I call it teaching me to be a true fan!

I bleed maroon and orange and these students need to get their shit together or transfer to UVA.

#BEATBAMA

Watching a VT game now, the fanbase is very similar to GT now

Soon, VT will have to have start pumping in artificial noise as well. The North End Zone should be taken down at this point. It's a temporary section anyway. The MV's and the VTCC should be moved back to 50 yd line behind the visiting team. This team needs to get back to the basics and that includes the fans. Unfortunately I think the fact that Virginia has become an even more transient state with the every growing NOVA area, these new type of students when only grow. The kind of student that would once never consider VT are now going there because either the reputation has gotten better or they can't afford the private schools or both.

My days at VT were spent from 1995-2000 as a member of the VTCC. I have been to enough games since to see there is a definite change in the fanbase in the last 3-4 years. You don't even have to go to the games. It's obvious on TV as well. I was at the Orange Bowl in 2010 and remember students leaving early the 3rd quarter when the game was still a one point game. I recall no one getting excited with Jayron almost intercepted Luck for a 2nd time for a sure 6 points. I stayed until the clock turned 00:00 because I wanted to watch Tyrod's last game in it's entirety no matter how bad it may have ended.

The loyal fan base is shrinking and the fair weather fans have become a plague. Isn't this how most runs for a good program ends?

Ut Prosism. Lead me, follow me, or get the hell out of my way. Hokie for life.

Thank you Brian

As a senior at the university, you have said everything that has been on my mind this season at Lane stadium. Now bear with me as I add to what you have said(I'm new to this blogging thing)....

For a season opener, the Georgia Tech game was a disappointment. I don't mean the content of the game, it was a thriller in every sense of the word. What was disappointing was the fan base. The north end zone has fallen disgracefully from a place of euphoria and support for the team, whether we're losing to JMU in the rain or beating the dog shit out of some scrub team. It isn't matter every play was as exciting, if not more, as the last. We cheered our asses off and may have turned away on the occasional sack or offensive hiccup, but we turned right back around because no matter how bad we were performing, we had faith we could do better. We have lost that faith.

It is clear to me that the football games have become less about the football and more about how many beers you can drink, how much alcohol you can sneak into the game, or how early you can leave to go back home and either drink more or nap before going out. This is ludicrous. If you can't come to the game to support our hokies, stay home, you can do all those things you're more concerned with from there anyway.

I am most ashamed of my fellow upperclassmen. I am ashamed for them not remembering games like Nebraska, where students left and Tyrod made them regret it, games like Miami where we played a heisman hopeful in the rain and took him out of the running because he came to Lane stadium, a place of support in deafening proportions. Win or lose, and everyone was predicting a loss( if I remember correctly), we were there, we had faith. We were the David in that battle and we knew we could take down a Goliath. Because we had faith.

I realize that we're not the team we were a few years ago, we're not even the team that unofficially beat Michigan in the bayou last year. But that's the nature of college football, it's a dynamic equilibrium and the team adjusts. The reason great teams arise is their ability to cope with this change year after year. Part of that falls on the coaches and their ability to recruit, adjust, etc. the other, much larger in my opinion, part is the fan base. Why do the large teams have such behemoth stadiums? BECAUSE THEIR FANS SUPPORT THEM WHETHER THEY ARE 0-3 or 3-0. Look at coach Lou on ESPN. He's a true fan, were his health able to cope with the stress of a 20 year old you better believe he would be at every single ND game no matter the score, until the conclusion of the game. On his feet every second. why can't a bunch of young, physically active students do the same? I think it boils down to what Brian said, we've been spoiled. But that's no excuse. We've been tainted in our faith with an expectation of a 10 win season. Which doesn't matter at all if you still lose the bowl game. I don't have a single issue with an expectation of excellence. The issue I have is with the lack of support behind that expectation. Winning 10+ games a season is not a given. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication. Players lose faith as well as the fans do, they just do, it's a fact. But I'm not going to place the entire blame on the players for a lack of heart and faith in the game when the stadium is empty and no one is supporting them. I think we can all agree that if we were in a similar situation, an uphill battle with no support, we would lose heart and put forth less effort as well.

This is getting long winded and I'm going to wrap it up now before I start repeating myself. Hokies, mainly hokie students. How do you expect to get our offense and defense fired up early in the game(when we always look flat), after halftime(whether we're trailing Duke or FSU), or late in the game( like most games this season), when half or more of the stadium is at home. You call yourself fans? No one is going to do a damn thing on that field if they don't have support or a reason to do something incredible. The reverberation of screams from hokie nation is enough to make even a mediocre team play with the fervor and hunger of the crimson tide. Those kids want to play, show them we want them to play too. If you can't get behind that, sell your tickets to someone who will and stay the hell at home where you can not pay attention to the game and drink all the alcohol you want.

Thank you for making a much needed point Brian.

Miami Heisman hopeful?

Who? Jacory Harris?

The Collegiate Times

I hope this letter makes it into the Collegiate Times. That is if the students even read the paper. It's embarassing to see the student section so empty and sitting on their a**. Have they not seen the T-Shirt, "You can sit when you graduate". Even us "old folks" in the Southend Zone stand a lot, maybe not the whole game anymore, but we stand to show our support at critical times during the games!!!
Will always Love our Hokies!!!

You read my mind. Maybe I'm just one of those crazy fans but I will always be a diehard supporter no matter what sport it is. Students need to step it up and realize what they have...a great school, a stable football program and an alumni base that supports both.

Perfect

As a graduate now living and working in Richmond, I've only been able to come to one game this year due to other commitments. The game I did make (Georgia Tech) I sat in the North End Zone through OT despite having to be back at work in Richmond at 8 the next morning. Understandably, I was beyond angry when people in front of me left early because they had to "get up so early for an 8 AM."

I don't expect everyone to care as much as I (or many of the people on this blog) do. In some ways, it might be healthier not to get so upset everytime we lose. But don't sit there and tell me how you "bleed orange and maroon" and then leave early.

We can't force people to like this team, and I get that. All I know is if I'm Holland Fisher or some other recruit and I see half empty stands after halftime I'd have to be a lifelong die-hard Hokie to honestly want to play here over a school like Alabama.

My first thought after seeing the stands after halftime of the BG game was "wow, it looks like a UVa game," and that's kind of embarassing.

I feel you.

I drove from South Carolina to the GT game and stayed through OT despite the fact that I had to get up the next morning at 4am to drive back for my Tuesday morning contracts and torts lectures.

Agreed.

I agree with a lot of what has been said. Unfortunately, I saw this type of fan behavior coming over the past years. BC 2007 is when it first pissed me off, when a quarter of the student section was more concerned about getting closer to the field to rush it with 6(!!!) minutes left in the game instead of trying to yell Matt Ryan deaf (even during BC's final drive, the rush-ready students in the isles and open space simply turned around, backs to the field, and watched the jumbotron...). Against Nebraska in 2009, the majority of students in my section started leaving to go downtown at the start of the fourth quarter before the "Miracle in Blacksburg" happened. Also in 2009 against UNC, I was in the student section where the very first paper ticket airplane was thrown. This led to a huge Facebook group that promoted paper airplane throwing to become a start of 4th quarter "tradition" (wtf are you serious? Makes me sick). And even this past weekend, when the game was easily still in flux in the second half, I overheard and saw fans leave FedEx just to hang out in the parking lot or beat traffic. I brought up a couple very good friends who are Michigan alums to tailgate and watch the game, and I was flat out embarassed that they heard and saw what I heard. They did greatly enjoy the experience though and FedEx is without a doubt not Lane Stadium, but I digress.

Those regularly on this site share the passion I have for VT football as I do and will stay until the clock hits 00:00, but complacency is running rampant. The team has the tools to turn the season around for ACC play (I actually believe this, not just regurgitating Beamer-speak. Is it going to be easy? Hell no), and as fans, we need to support our team through thick and thin, and it all starts with the students, both the ones in the stands and on the field. Support them till the end of the game. Get loud on defense. It can only be done one game at a time, but it has to start somewhere.

I'll be in the Lane Stadium stands in two weeks doing my part to promote 5 yard penalties against Duke's offense.

-VT Class of 2010 Alumni

Couldn't have said it better...

This is so true. We moved to the East stands from the SEZ this season. I thought it would be so much louder because we would be closer to the students, but what I've found is that all of the alumni around us stand most, if not all, of the game, while the students gripe about the weather or boo.

I know I am probably way off, but it seemed like when the band was banned from the "Stick it in" cheer, the students started not to care. I want the "old Lane" back. I will be there in two weeks, and I will be cheering right along with the rest of the Alums, and hopefully the students can follow suit.

Hokiewife421

When it began...

I absolutely believe this apathy began when Jim Weaver began removing the fun from Lane Stadium. It was subtle and not so subtle...having very tight security around people sitting in their assigned section, in their seat. I was blown away when someone literally asked me to move out of "their" seat in the North End Zone. Well then he proceeded to make out with his gf the whole game and repeatedly asked us to not be so loud. Not be so loud? Really.

Then there was banning stick it in. The greatest joy I felt on Saturday was when I heard that lovely refrain from someone sitting a few rows back. Not surprisingly he was about my age (aka mid-30s).

Little things like this erode the fan base. Also, probably a lot of us remember when a 10 game season was amazing...something to be in awe of, when any bowl game was a reason to celebrate. Most current students, just assume wins.

Makes me very sad. And very committed to being an even better fan.

When they banned Stick It In, I was livid. All in the name of "Hokies Respect" just ridiculous. The valiant few who have tried to keep it alive in North grows smaller every year and that makes me sad.

I'm really sorry it offends the really old alumni and those with kids but I really feel it gave the offense a little more juice to well do what the damn chant says.

I learned all the old VT game traditions from my sister and her friends who went to Tech before I got there and I thought they were awesome.

So thanks Weaver for helping to erode our gameday experience.

Long Live The Terrordome

"Somebody came on the field and painted a T beside the V"

REACH FOR EXCELLENCE @goobvt_sg

Stick it in was banned 5 years ago, freshmen at tech now were in 8th grade at the time and may not really know what it is. They are probably too afraid to ask anyone as to not look like you know a freshmen. Upperclassmen need to set the example (and they are probably the highest percentage of people leaving early) and show underclassmen its unacceptable to leave early while taking the initiative to teach the underclassmen what it means to be a tech football fan, including teaching them things like what stick it in is.

Virginia Tech '12
Go Hokies and Philly Sports

Someone needs to write a front page article for the Collegiate Times to slap the current students in the face. Put up posters on how to be a proper Hokie. What about telling them how it is at the homecoming pep rally.
As an '02 grad reading/seeing this stuff is just sad...

as a current student who hasn't missed a game or thrown a paper airplane since freshman year (sorry), I cant help but be a little offended by your letter. I don't leave games early, and if it wasn't for my pussy ass friends I would be tailgating in the perry street lot at 6am every home Saturday. I loose my voice yelling for the defense and I go BANANAS when we make a huge play. so yeah, Im a little mad your questioning my fanship, I chose this school for football.

the main reason I can think of, for my class ('14) at least, for not being as Intimidating as in years past is the lack of marquee big games at home. My freshman year('10) the biggest game on the schedule was Boise at fedex. we had to then wait till we played GT at the end of the year for another comparable home game. last year the biggest game we had all year at home was klempson, but we shit the kitchen so to speak. What I'm trying to say is, in the 2.5 years Ive been a student here we haven't played a big game in lane, I missed out on Alabama in the dome and Nebraska in lane by a year, Ive never see us play WVU or anyone other than a cupcake or acc team. This is just a theory but maybe if went out of our way to play good teams early in the year at home then maybe the rest of my class would be as excited to be at the games as I am.

I'm also in the Class of '14

But are you really trying to argue this? Last year vs Clemson, the entire North Endzone was awful. The the bleachers were quiet by halftime and leaving by the start of the third quarter, it was a shit show. And that was a big game for the program. both teams being undefeated and just outside the top 10 at the time of the game. Would it be nice to have some big name opponents to play? Absolutely. But I think you missed the point.

The players are expected to bring their A game every single time they touch the field, no matter who they are playing. We as fans are supposed to bring the same thing, irregardless of who we are playing. So making up excuses about not having big name opponents really just is an awful argument. If you can only support your team to the fullest when they are playing in a big game, don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Logan 3:16

I get it, trust me I do. and I'm sorry if my argument made it sound like its only important to get stoked for big games, but what i was just trying to think of an explanation for why this years student section is so stagnant. I'm also sorry that as a current student who's devotion and support for the team is unrivaled, and whose game day never ends before the clock hits 0:00, that I get little mad that someone has to write a letter belittling and calling out my fellow class mates. my bad

If you got mad at this letter, then it's obviously not intended for you. I would never say that this applies to every student, or even a certain type of student (younger classes, older classes, greek life, girls, dudes, etc.), just that there is enough of this going on to say something.

I know so many people, now you included, that go balls out for this team (regardless of performance). There are just too many others in which this letter applies. They make us look bad, and that's why I decided to say something.

Go Hokies.

This says it all

"lack of marquee big games" . . .Listen up ya spoiled whippersnapper . . . it is only in recent history that one could even use "marquee" and Va Tech in the same sentence. And, that is the problem. Class of 2014 . . . so I am guessing you were born approx. 1992. So, your entire Va Tech exposure has been with Beamer as the coach. Several of us here are reminiscing about the time before Beamer and his first year or so (see comments that include the use of the terms "quarters" and that is not in any way relating to a drinking game . . .). At that time, nobody talked about "marquee" games. We worried if we would win homecoming. We camped out for tickets to the games . . for a team that wasn't necessarily winning. There were only 2 sides to Lane Stadium (no end zone seats), a mediocre press box. There was no "Enter Sandman" (which debuted about the time you were born). There was "all dirt roads lead to Va Tech" (a jest used by UVa students to Tech students, the standard retort being "all white lines lead to Charlottesville"). No one was choosing Tech because of prominence in a particular sport, you chose Tech because that was where your family had gone, or the campus was spectacular in October; it sure wasn't about "marquee" games.

A fan is a fan regardless of the success of the team and certainly, most definitely, without regard for "marquee" games. Stop being some sort of elitist looking for a reason to support your team and support your team simply because they are your team. And, if you can't find any friends who want to go regardless of the opponent, the time, the weather or whatever other pansy-ass reason you can conjur, then find new friends.

CTOB
It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are 20 gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg. -Thomas Jefferson
Peace is that brief glorious moment in history when everybody stands around reloading. -Thomas Jefferson

Sandman Debut

Song came out 1991
Virginia Tech didn't use it until around 2000

Of these things I am aware

I actually remember counting down to the release date. Perhaps I should have used the word "released" instead of "debuted" . . . even though it is accurate to refer to the "debute" of an album or song, regardless of today's vernacular of "it drops this Friday". However my use of "debuted" was in regard to the song/album and its "debute" by Metallica, not that the song was "debuted" by Va Tech. It would be rather moronic to think that the song, upon its initial release by Metallica, would immediately be put into use by Va Tech.

My point . . . that the song is as old as the fellow who posted about "marquee" games.

Traditions grow, and the addition of "Enter Sandman" is an example of adding to our traditions. Fans being rude - and leaving early is rude - booing players, etc., these things do NOT add to a tradition. A quick review of blogs from opposing fan bases will reveal that the common reaction to Hokie fans is how nice and polite we are, all the while cheering on our team. Could this be because of the strong military history/tradition of Va Tech? Could it be because of the idea (antiquated?) of "Virginia Gentlemen"? Could it simply be the lost art of being respectful? We could debate these things all day. But, being a fan for a "marquee" game is what was once referred to as a "fair weathered friend", and well, with friends like that who needs enemies?

I don't know about you, but I appreciate these two things the most: 1. Lane Stadium for a night game is one of the most intimidating atmospheres in college football; 2. that people who meet Hokie fans, be it in Blacksburg or on the road, always comment how nice the Hokie fans are. I like winning, but I also like that people leave my home state of Virginia with the idea that Hokies and therefore Virginians are genuinely decent people.

CTOB
It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are 20 gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg. -Thomas Jefferson
Peace is that brief glorious moment in history when everybody stands around reloading. -Thomas Jefferson

Co-Sign

Its a shame that people leave these things early. You never know what your gonna miss. For example the Nebraska game in 09, or the Miami game last year.

When you wake up the next morning your should not be able to talk. Your voice should be so damn sore for 2-3 days. This goes for teams such as Duke. My voice is still sore from The Cincy game. Yea its cool to tailgate and drink before the game but once you walk into the stadium you should instantly be taken over by the spirits of rage and intensity that you will unlesh on downs 1-4 while we are on defense. I remember in 06' when we played Southern Miss. Southern Miss made the mistake of coming out first to witness entersandman first hand. I saw 2 of their players on opposite ends of their bench puke from nerves, which of course made our section go crazier. Just a small example, but shows what our environment used to be and can be like.

To any of you students out there, i guess your 4-5 years of Hokie Football is what you make of it. Mine were some of the best experiences of my life and i wish I could have them back. Yea wining 10 games a year, each year was cool, but there is so much more to it then that, that made those memories. An article like this needs to be in the school paper

-Class of 09'

@VTimHokie85

Preach.

Well said Brian.

You are right, a great majority of these kids have no idea what Virginia Tech was built on. They are just used to winning. And drinking all day on Saturday. And not showing up for the team. They show up for the party, the expected win, the tv cameras, and quite frankly, because it's trendy to go to Tech games.

I am I firm believer in the power of the 12th man. Nothing upsets me more than seeing people turn on their team and their coaches during a game WHEN THEY NEED FAN SUPPORT THE MOST. The Clemson game last year is a prime example of this. The people behind us sold their seats to some idiot twenty somethings who didn't care about anything except blaming Stinespring for everything. It was awful. At one point During the game, the even began to MOCK OTHER HOKIES for cheering for Tech. I have never, ever experienced that in my life and it was the most disappointing experience from fans that I've ever had in Lane, which is saying something because I can count on one hand the number of home games I've missed since I was 5.

So yes, long story short, people need to get behind the Hokies or get out of Lane.

Sickening!

If this is true, it makes me sicker than the way we are playing on the field. In 2001, I sat through the entire Syracuse game when it was 19 degrees and sleeting. It was literally painful to walk to my car after the game because I had no feeling in my legs. In 2003, I sat through the entire Texas A&M game, which was played during a tropical storm. I'm still wet from that game. I once shrugged off a girl that passed out and used me as support. Did I care she was now laying on the bleacher behind me? No! The only thing that mattered was what was happening on the field. I sure as hell wasn't leaving early or trying to turn my ticket into a paper airplane!

When I moved to Tallahassee in 2004, I gave all my Seminole friends a hard time about how empty and quiet their stadium was. I would say, "regardless of the Hokies' record, I guarantee you Lane Stadium will be packed and as loud as ever." I gave it to these Seminoles as recently as a few weeks ago. I got an email saying seats were still available for the Clemson game literally days before a prime time match-up against a highly ranked opponent. "Ha! You Seminoles can't even sell out your stadium for the biggest game you've played in years." Little did I know the current state of Lane Stadium.

I'm at VT now, but I've been a fan for 13 years. That's well over half my life. I have friends who were more interested in playing pong than watching the Pitt game while we were trying to come back. I can't stand that. We need a change in the ticket policies, and more importantly in the student body.

Rip his freaking head off!

Improvements

Alright everyone has identified the problem but what do we do about it? Solutions anyone?

VT is trying to grow its undergraduate student body to ~45,000 students over the next decade or so. With that, you're going to see many more students who are apathetic to the football program and do more of the things described in this thread. Also, as they also continue to increase the admission standards, you're going to see more students who have zero interest in football.

It is what it is. I hope that VT does not lose its brand as it gets bigger and potentially nerdier (sorry, nerds). Hopefully the ticket office can figure out a way to get the more rabid fans closer to the field. Otherwise, expect to see more of this.

Disagree

The Student Section is always the same size.
If the student population is growing, that means a fewer percentage of the students are going to be able to go to the games, since there is limited space.
Since there is a fewer percentage, one would think that it would be the diehard fans.

As far as academics go, look up the universities that rank higher than VT, some of their student sections are pretty crazy (Florida and Ohio St come to mind).

I'm worried about the future.

I posted this on my facebook. Here were some of the comments:

"But honestly I'm there more for the atmosphere and the friendship than the actual football game"

"I honestly just don't like football that much, if it wasn't for my many friends who went to the game I probaly would not go"

"If I want to spend money to see half the game why shouldn't I be able to?"

If you're not there for the game, why go? If this is the mentality we're dealing with these days, we have some dark days ahead.

The lottery started the downfall

I think the student section downfall started when students had to stop earning the right to get tickets by camping out for days for tickets. Taking turns with your friends hanging out in front of Cassell for a week to secure a seat gave students a sense of responsibility to rock out Lane. Only the most dedicated got in the door. Signing up for a lottery ticket is weak and I hope one day they nix that policy.

HokieSpider

My freshman year we had to camp out at War for tickets. After freshman year we were allowed to buy student season tickets, which was always the highlight of summer.

This problem is not new to this year's students. It has been going on for several years now. I used to think it was all in my mind, and a case of "things were better back in my day," but I really noticed all the empty seats during the Austin Peay game. We survived the aTm game in a freakin HURRICANE, so trust me, a little rain won't hurt anybody.

I don't want to lose another game this season, but maybe not having a 10-win season is what it will take to wake up the coaches, players, and fans.

twitter.com/weavez22

Lottery Started the Downfall

Hokiespider, you hit the nail on the head!!!! I agree, if the students want a tickets to the games they should have to work for them. The sooner they nix the lottery the better off our athletic program will be!

this is so true

the administration must know

#Whitness

Old Days

I remember the days when being able to sit in the student section and be a rabid Hokie for 4 full quarters of VT football was something to brag about. And if we couldn't get a seat there then we got a ticket (usually scalped) and stood for the ENTIRE game yelling till we lost our voices and then beating on something to be as loud as possible. If you want friendly atmosphere then try the leather jacket college in Charlottesville.

I live in SC now and my daughter turned 6 this year. She probably makes more noise when we watch the games at home then some of the turds who sit in the student section now. She keeps asking when we can go to her first home game because she is ready to jump when Enter Sandman comes on! She is the type of future fans i hope we see more of.

VTMidge-Andrew Shields

stick it in

I just wish the underclassmen would do the correct stick it in cheer. No matter how loud my section yells it, the group of frat boys behind us yells it wrong.. obviously sophomores, and unfortunately they are getting other unknowing students to join in with them.

Bringin It Back

Since Weaver doesn't control the Highty Tighties, we tend to play it every once in a while, not that it can be heard very well. That said, if we want people to learn the cheer, the best way is to bring it back for real. And the best way to do that is for people to ask for it. The current drum captain, who tells drumline what to do, is pretty susceptible to peer pressure.

Stick It In

isn't coming back...at least from the MVs. Our band director has pretty much stated his job is on the line if MVs bring it back into Lane...no matter who or how it starts. Whether or not that's entirely true is another thing...but I don't blame the guy for not wanting to risk throwing away a 25-year career. It comes up every year but athletics has made it pretty clear on that one...as shitty as it is...

Read it again

I know you guys can't play it. Weaver has you by the balls. I specified HIGHTY TIGHTIES. We don't give a good goddamn what athletics says, since they don't control our budget and whatnot. HT trumpets will also be bringing back Three Blind Mice as early as homecoming if the refs make us play it, and we're gonna push for Na Na Hey Hey to make a comeback. Keep in mind, there's two bands here, and one of us has the ability to tell Jimmy boy to suck it.

Gotcha

Misunderstood when you said "bring it back for real"...I thought you meant like the old days before Weaver and his bullshit. But seriously...go for it. Our drum line tried to replace Stick It In with another cadence where the chant would still fit...but it seems like they have to rotate it in with everything else and can't play it exclusively in the red zone. I would love nothing more than to "stick it [in]" to Weaver in any means possible, since he does have our collective balls in a vice grip. Power to you guys...I'm sure y'all will have the support of many of the MVs who wish they could do something.

And extra points for trying to bring back Na Na Hey Hey...it's ridiculous the things that Weaver cut under the umbrella of Hokies Respect...

The best part is where you use the hash tag relating to the murder of 31 of your classmates to discuss a f****** football cheer

I can say with 100% certainty that's not what Brian was referencing. I read the post when he originally sent it to me after midnight, and again this morning before it was published. If I had even the slightest doubt that was what he was referencing I would have never of published it, and he would never write for the site again. It was a tongue-in-cheek aside, a little humor, in an otherwise serious, as far as football is concerned, post to never forget about the Stick It In chant that Weaver essentially banned a few years ago.

Honestly, I think it's a brazen and baseless accusation.

But that hashtag has no other context, right? At least in reference that things happen to our school?

The hashtag is #neVerforgeT and seeing as he didn't use the capitals, I sincerely doubt that he was making that sort of reference.

Logan 3:16

Maybe he wasn't. I just was sincerely bothered by it. Struck me as flippant and I thought I'd say something. I shouldn't have taken so harsh a tone. I just, when you are making a joke about something that "happened" at Tech, you should probably take as many pains as possible to avoid even coming remotely close to touching on something like that.

Best idea

I would agree with you on that. Maybe everyone should decide to be that much more devoted to showing others what a REAL Hokie fan is. Not next gameday but everyday?

VTMidge-Andrew Shields

In the context of remembering those who were lost I've seen it as #neVerforgeT.

I've seen it as a joke in a thousand other places on the Internet, from

to #neverforget.

Again, that wasn't his intent, and the conclusion you made is extremely illogical based on the subject of the post (Virginia Tech students and their indifference to the game).

Correct. I've seen it all over the place as a joke, but I think our school has an encapsulated context that can never be ignored. Thus, I don't think it was a baseless accusation.

But it was rude, and an intentional attempt to be rude. I probably should have taken 30 seconds and let it go. I'm sorry

Unnecessary

No need to read into what was said or to come back at a fellow Hokie like that. Assuming you are a Hokie since you say "your classmates" which makes it sound like you have no affliliation.

VTMidge-Andrew Shields

I did go to Tech. And I said, I was really too harsh there. But it bothered me to the point where I couldn't not say something

Student section gone awry

This captured what I was telling people during last season about how bad our students have became. In section 1 Rows VV and WW, we have a fraternity that sits in front of us and at the Georgia Tech game two of them faced the wrong way the entire game, one was groping his girlfriend, and another was about to fall over drunk while trying to buy more airplane bottles off of another brother. The only time they paid any attention to what was going on is to BOO our own Hokies when there was a bad play. I even get looks when I yell until I lose my voice when we're on defense and when shaking my keys on a 3rd down defensive stand. The direction of the student fan base is just sad...

Side note, we aren't UVa ties and dresses aren't game day attire...

Pat Snellings
Vice President, VT Bass Fishing Team

I am not 100% sure that the 10-win sound byte will go away...if we get 10 next year but not this year, people will just say "9 of the past 10 years"...

Today's youth are, quite simply, spoiled.

It is very simple, the youth of today are spoiled and don't understand hard work.

I will show my age, something a lady is not supposed to do!! My freshman year at Va Tech was Bill Dooley's final year. Therefore, like so many others, I have seen the program grow and prosper under Frank Beamer. Even as a freshman, with Bill Dooley coaching, we went to each and every home game and stayed for the duration, no matter the weather. Why? Because Tech notoriously plays 55 minutes of ball. You never know when during the game that 5 minutes of inactivity is going to come, but it will. Hell, that 5 minutes may be split into 5 one-minute segments, but inevitably, it will come. Years after leaving Va Tech, I moved to the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. And, yep, that's where I lived when Va Tech met FSU for the national title. Me, a stalwart Hokie fan, deep in SEC country. I'm pretty sure you can imagine. (And, yes I know, FSU is not SEC, but at the time Tech was Big East, so ACC, SEC, no matter, I still got chided all season about "real football".) But, I am still and always have been proud to be Hokie. It is all about tradition, a tradition that is strongly tied to VPI&SU being one of 6 Senior Military Colleges. That is a very select group, second only to the service academies.

In the past years, you can read any number of blogs about “Hokie Respect”. This is what being a Hokie, be it a student, alumni or a fan, is supposed to be. RESPECT. And, well, in my opinion, that is what is happening. Our children and young adults (and, being a grandmother, I can use that term) aren’t being taught respect as we were when I was growing up.

CTOB
It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are 20 gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg. -Thomas Jefferson
Peace is that brief glorious moment in history when everybody stands around reloading. -Thomas Jefferson

It's the same for basketball too

This probably deserves its own post, but most students will only show up for the Duke and UNC games if that. They only want to go to the best games so they can say they were there or have an excuse to get wasted. There's no real investment in the team. Last year I went to the Penn State game, which was a weekend game, and granted it was before exam week, but there must've been 200 students there. It's just plain embarrassing. If I was a prospect there's almost no way I'd come here if I had other offers. Why wouldn't you go to a VCU or somewhere where the students actually care about the games.

Ticket Issues....

One of the biggest problems I've seen with basketball is the availability of tickets. Hokie sports should be something you go to with your close friends that are just as passionate about Hokie Nation as you are. When the lottery gods only give one person in your group a chance to buy season tickets, and when entering the individual lottery you and your friends get drawn for different games it's hard to actually want to go. Athletics needs to get their stuff straight so students that want to go to basketball games get tickets! First come first serve tickets will get the students that actually want to be there in the seats!

Pat Snellings
Vice President, VT Bass Fishing Team

Just wish every student would read this...

Please pass this on. It is a major issue. I used to come to games as a kid and get to see how wild Lane was by sitting in the student section with my brother, so when I finally became a student and went to the games every week, I didn't always see the same hype and passion. I just thought I had built it up in my head or had a different perception as a kid. BUT this has helped me to realize that THERE IS a problem with the students, and that it is growing. Everyone seems to have become more occupied with 'going hard' before and after games or care more about their fraternity or sorority, etc. One of the biggest reasons I never joined one was because people let it become all they cared about and take precedence over the school. With that being said, I am not against them and definitely don't think they are the only issue with students being 'True Hokies' but don't let it or anything else make you miss out on the bigger picture of what Hokie Nation really is all about. This is VIRGINIA TECH and we may be a lot of things now with all our growth but FOOTBALL is our trademark and is what has helped shape this great, family-like community into what it is today. We have to turn it around and soon so we don't lose that and because our players count on us to inspire them to go out there and play hard. So we need to ALL step it up. And I have many friends that are not the problem this article discusses, but then I have some that are. I'm not calling any of you out as a person, but I certainly am as a HOKIE.
Thank you for reading.
I know I may care too much, but I'd rather care too much than not enough.

“Look at this…this is just spectacular. These people are losing their minds. This is beautiful.” - Mike Patrick

i absolutely love this post. thank you

For those who don't know, I'm a senior in high school from NJ, both parents are alums, I've worshiped the Hokies since, well, ever.

These students need a reality check. They need to toughen the fuck up. They aren't at the game to have fun. They are at the game to make sure the Hokies win and the other team loses.

I have season tickets in the East Stands, but I believed the NEZ hype and 'sat' there for my first time ever for the Georgia Tech game. I sat front and center of my section and literally cheered my nuts off, screamed my nuts off, high-fived my nuts off, and hugged-as-many-strangers-as-possible my nuts off. I created an energy there, the kids there can attest to that.

As Georgia Tech scored the go-ahead touchdown late in the 4th, a girl and her mom (?!) headed for the gates. As they walked by, I absolutely let them have it. Went batshit crazy on them. They deserved it. Who do they think they are?

The point is, theres only 6 home games a year. SIX. Screw the 'hey hokie nation' thing, screw the paper airplanes. Screw everyone who isnt ready to lose their voice.

I will (hopefully) be a student next fall, and I will (definitely) be at the Alabama game down in Atlanta, and I will (absolutely) raise hell.

LETS GO HOKIES!

#Whitness

I blame the weight loss. Somewhere in those fat cells was his mojo that has been melted off. Clearly, Coach Beamer needs to sit down at an all you can eat buffet for a few weeks and get his mojo back.

For your protection, this comment was laced with large amounts of sarcasm.

Couldn't not comment

As previously stated many times, it's incredibly annoying how many people go to the games just to get hammered and pass out or incoherently fall on people during the game. We need people to go to the game, and support the team, through the good and the bad. There are so many fair weather fans right now. I grew up in Blacksburg and have been seeing this for YEARS. Students have to support the program. This isn't a party, it's a football game.

Blacksburg High Class of 2008
VT Class of 2012

Couldn't Not Comment #2UK

Honestly reading this, I got so mad!!

You folks all put it really well and I fully agree with everything you all said. Clearly this letter is not for us! I just want to say that your all incredibly lucky to live in and around Virginia. Living in London, I cant even get out there at all unless its a flight to NY and then meandering on to Va.

Absolutely take advantage of the fact you can go week in week out, get geeked up for spring game etc, whilst I am at home, 5 hours ahead, trying to find a decent stream online.

#GOVT!!

Young guns

Well said.

I think that our passionate student section is dwindling because all these freshman were born in 1994... Seniors in 1990 (no excuses for them).

They were 1 year old when the Hokies had that amazing 1995 season and Sugar Bowl victory, and by the time they were 6, they were probably sleeping instead of watching Michael Vick dazzle the nation in New Orleans against FSU. I was born in '87 and have been attending VT home games since 1993, but my memory really only extends back to that '95 season. I remember going to the swamp and getting shalacked by Tennessee and Peyton Manning. By the time I got to Tech, most of the Freshman had similar backgrounds. Parents attended Tech, they'd been fans since they were infants, and they knew how to act. Attending games that past few years, I've definitely noticed a drop off in that kind of passion. Some of them are more interested in dressing up like a Joker or a duct tape costume (good on ya btw) but then the students chastise those fans for being "too into it".

However... if these kids are legacies, shame on their parents... because they definitely remember those seasons.

I suck at this rambling thing. GO HOKIES!

VPI '10 (5 1/2 Years, 5 Summers)

Dispassionate Fans

I was at Tech when Beamer came on board. I was in the VTCC, so I got to attend games for free when I was not away for the weekend for National Guard responsibilities.

I can't say I really remember how the games were - other than we lost ALOT, but over the years - I have attended many a game, and NEVER left before the last second ticked off the clock. I have been there for losses to Temple - yeah - I know, and wins against UVa.

I was there for the Thursday night loss to BC in the miserable cold, pouring rain and watching Ryan having a miraculous final 2 minutes. Did I leave - NO. Did I arrive on time to work the next day in Richmond - YES. Was I horse and sick from the nights festivities - YES.....But that is what makes me a fan.

I was there for the 2010 win over GT - biting my nails thru the 4th quarter - to see Wilson seal it for us on a 90 yard return.

I missed last season (actually going to a game), but I faithfully watch them either on TV or streaming - and yell when they make bone-head plays and scream my a$$ off when they score - what makes me a FAN.

I hope lackluster start of the Hokies doesn't continue, but none-the-less, I will be there - screaming my head off for 60 minutes and willing the Hokies to a win, and hoping I don't witness what you describe here.

Attended VT - 87-88

This year I have season tickets in the North and I have had to bear witness to this catastrophe. Fans aren't fans anymore, when we played Bowling Green, what better football day could you have asked for? The weather was perfect, the game was in front of you, it was a picture perfect Saturday in Lane Stadium. Yet people were clearing the stands....it hurt to see so many of them leaving at half time, and even in the third. I was embarrassed that some of them were my friends. What else is better that you could be doing on that Saturday? This trending tide of laziness and lack of loyalty has to be turned around. I stayed until the final seconds drained off the clock, and my sought after frustration from everyone leaving the stadium at once wasn't even waiting for me when I got out, because there was no one left to leave. I will be there for every other home game and I just hope to see the seats filled.

Nostalgic Much?

I was shown a photo today of what Lane Stadium looked like during Enter Sandman during the Marshall game in 2005. And guess what, the North End Zone was HALF EMPTY. It's posted under the comments for this letter on The Key Play's Facebook page. This letter acts like everyone was always excited for mediocore games until this year. Well guess what, that's not true. It sounds like someone has the attitude that everything in the past was so much better than things are now. People have always left bush league games early, especially when it's raining, like it was during the Austin-Peay game. And no matter what college game you go to you are going to have drunk people. It's always been like that, and always will be like that. So don't act like everything that you have witnessed this year is new, because it's not.

That picture

Still has more people in it than the entrances to the Austin Peay or Bowling Green game. And at least those fans stayed most of the game.

Logan 3:16

Re: That Picture

Honestly, it's about the same. And I doubt everyone stayed for that whole game either. The only differnence in then and now is that we are losing and not playing well, and people are angry about that and want to take their frustations out by pointing fingers at people.

Since you went there

Got this from Oregon's website, they were in danger of their home sellout streak breaking at 82:

The sellout streak trails only Nebraska (318), Notre Dame (225) and Virginia Tech's (87) as the nation's longest.

Got this from hokiesports.com:

A large part of that impressive record is the home-field environment created by the fans as Lane Stadium has been sold out for 87 consecutive games entering the 2011 season, starting with the final home game of the 1998 season against Virginia.

My take: VT being 3rd is very impressive, I think it is good to have high standards for Hokie fans, but we need to know how good we have it compared to other programs. Yes sometimes people show up late and leave early, for good and bad reasons. Some people do get way to drunk just about everywhere. It could be alot worse though folks.

Commitment

I grew up outside that other college here in VA - you know the one......I think we have won the last 8 games against them or so...but I wanted to go to Tech and join the VTCC there.

I was hooked - the campus, the spirit, college football - until then I had never really watched it. I transferred in for Winter Quarter (yeah - I'm that old - quarters) after Beamer's first season, but was anxious about getting into the games come Fall.

We were not good - we won 2 games that year - one to Cincy - of which I missed because I think it was over Fall Break - and earlier in the season to Navy, but that was the first weekend of the month and those were typically my weekend drills for the National Guard.

I left Tech the following Spring over a difference of opinion - they thought I needed higher grades than I did :)

I continued to be a fan - I loved the school regardless.

I went to a few games here and there and always loved the atmosphere.

Went to the 1996 win over UVa - one of my favorite games of all time. I was driving in and as we drove up 460 - a UVa fan had hung a disparaging banner on the overpass leading into Tech, and since traffic was at a stand-still - I put the car in park, ran up the embankment and cut down the sign to whoops and hollars and honking horns.

Saw Tech lose its Homecoming game to Temple in 1998 - but hey - it was Tech - we do lose a few, but beat Bama in the bowl game that year.

I stood - read this - STOOD for 4 quarters of football in 2007 to watch Matt Ryan in the final 2+ minutes come back from 10-0 score to win the game - did I leave with 4 or 5 minutes left because in traditional VT weather, no team could possibly come back? No - not even the number 2 in the country - when they had not done ANYTHING against us thus far could manage it, but I did stare in disbelief as it happened. It was a long ride back to Richmond to be at work the next morning.

The following week - after the GT win, I knew we had a shot at the ACC Championship, and pre-ordered my license plate ACC X2 - I FELT it - we would not lose to BC again - and went crazy at our win.

I attended the 2010 Thursday win over GT and ordered ACC X4 the next day - certain to replace ACC X3 I was currently sporting until December.

Last year - I had the same feeling as I did in 2007 - but unfortunately it did not materialize and I had to let my ACC X5 reservation slip, but all is not lost Hokies - we still can win the ACC this year, and win or lose, even if we lose out the year - I am a FAN - and will be until I die.

Attended VT - 87-88

Quarters...

Ah, yes....the quarter system....I remember it well.

Take the shortest route to the ball and arrive in bad humor.

As do I

I actually preferred quarters to semesters!!!

CTOB
It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are 20 gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg. -Thomas Jefferson
Peace is that brief glorious moment in history when everybody stands around reloading. -Thomas Jefferson