The last game that mattered this much was against the 'Canes in 2003. If you've been reading and following my writing here then 1) virtual high five 2) you know that's my all time favorite game. The buildup to the '03 season was very similar to this one. Everyone expected us to be in contention for the National Championship, because we showed some glimpses of excellence in '02, and, well, talent wise we were loaded. Things were looking promising until we sentenced hundreds of couches to death by gasoline and match on a Wednesday night in Morgantown.
But, it was supposed to be our year...
All of Hokie Nation was disappointed, some Hokies were pissed, others lost their faith. It seemed like the end of a good run. Does that remind you of the mood this past week? As a naive 19-year-old student I got engulfed in every bit of the negativity. Thankfully I got smacked in the face. No not literally, a friend, sorry bro I'd name drop you but I can't remember you, IMed me the most God damn beautiful thing ever written concerning Hokie football: Will Stewart's Make it Real. It was a simple request for Hokie Nation to show up and support the team at "The Walk".
Tell them you're behind them. Let them see that last Wednesday night, when they felt totally alone on Mountaineer Field, they weren't. You were at home rooting them on, just as upset as they were over what was happening, but this Saturday, you're back anyway, right behind them again.
The thing is, you've got to do your part. These kids leave it all on the field not just every Saturday, but every day that they practice, and days and months in between. As Hokie fans, you're proud of the part you have played in their success, from buying season tickets, to packing the stadium and being loud, to traveling by the thousands to the bowl games, so the next bowl invitation will be quick to come.
You've been there for the good times and been a part of the success. Now it's time to circle the wagons. Time for everyone to do a little extra.
I've never seen a team more inspired to play a game of football that night, and I'd like to think I had a little something to do with that. Just like each and everyone of you do too. I think that's why we all take the losses so hard. We are proud to a fault.
Last Saturday morning before the JMU game I was jogging and passed a twenty-something couple wearing maroon and orange. I hollered, "Go Hokies!" as I passed. I got a couple of sunken looks and a soft spoken, "Yeahhhh...", in return. Quite frankly, that was bullshit. The idea that the season is over after two weeks is bullshit.
But, it was supposed to be our year...
I know, believe me I know. My brain told me otherwise, but I believed my heart. I thought this would be the year. Not too long after we lost to Boise State I was concocting crazy scenarios in my head that would get us into the Championship Game. If Miami beats Ohio State they could be 10-0 and number one when we play... We'd have another chance to win a statement game... And maybe Boise will slip up... Then we lost to JMU. We're not winning the National Championship this year, and neither are 118 other teams. It's time to move on.
There are still plenty of reasons to be excited. And no, I'm not talking about the ACC Championship, or a BCS bowl, or anything else big picture. How about the simple satisfaction of watching the Hokies play football games. We didn't win a damn thing last year, yet we all were straight giddy when Ryan Williams was draggin' corpses into the end zone, proud of the guys for how they went toe-to-toe with Alabama, and delighted when we beat Tennessee. We just need to give these guys a chance to shine.
I'm not asking you to go to The Walk. Will made that the cool thing to do. What I am asking you to do is simple, show your pride, and get behind this team 100% no matter what happens. Cut the crap and get positive. If you're a student on campus wear blinding amounts of maroon and orange today. If you get to work and have some stupid shit taped to your cube courtesy of a JMU or UVa coworker, crumble it up and throw it at him or her. Remove every song from your iPod except Enter Sandman. Right now, is the most important moment this season to be a Hokie.
Negativity time is over. Let's go!