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.
Virginia Tech | Class of 2013