It’s Just a Game

9 Oct

Yesterday I went to Blacksburg with my mom and dad for another Virginia Tech football game. If you pay attention to college football at all then by now you know we were in an unbelievable fight against Miami. It’s all over ESPN. It was the kind of game that makes me love college football. It was the type of game that I’m sure is making me go prematurely grey.

My Hokies were looking pretty good at the half with a 21-7 lead. Then the second half happened and we found ourselves down 35-31 with only 2:52 remaining. Now here’s the one thing you need to know about Hokie football – we have no offense. We haven’t had a serious offense for years. We have great players. We have talent. But when they get on that field something happens… well I should say nothing happens. That’s been our Achilles heel for years.

So here we are, about to take the field, with very little time left. My dad and I don’t do well in these situations. He was skeptical about us pulling it out due to our disastrous loss last week (23-3 against Clemson. OUCH). I’m biting my nails and praying to the football gods and my mom is discussing alternative transportation options for herself because she doesn’t want to be in the car with us for 3.5 hours if we lose this game. About that time she looks over at me and says, “we should remember it’s just a game”. WHAT?!

Last seconds of VT vs. Miami
“These people are losing their minds.” I just love being a Hokie and this gives me goose bumps!

Okay technically I realize my very wise mother is right. Football is a game. But then why does it feel like so much more every August through December? Why do sports have such a profound impact on so many of us? And more importantly, how come some people just don’t get it?

Let’s just take a look at my day up to this point. It started with a 3.5 hour car ride with my parents. A solid 3 hours of that was spent talking football with my dad. My mom took a nap in the backseat. We touched on just about every aspect of the game. We talked strategy. We talked coaching. Injured players. Players who are freshmen. Players who are graduating. Play calling. Defense. Offense. Special teams. We hit it all in those 3 hours and I know there was more we could’ve discussed.

We got to Blacksburg and went to one of the stores downtown that sells everything from VT toilet paper to a totally necessary VT bandana for my dog. There we found a new hat for a friend who watches my dog when I’m gone and mom found a sweatshirt for me to save and give to her for Christmas. Yes she’ll most likely forget about it by then.

After shopping we headed over to grab lunch with the rest of our gang who was coming for the day. Today we were about half the size we normally are, but nonetheless we met up with 2 of my uncles (okay technically my dad is their uncle but it’s one of those weird family things so I call them what seems to make the most sense), one cousin’s boyfriend and one cousin’s husband. We had a great family lunch getting pumped for the game with the help of unhealthy bar food and several beers. We wrapped up there and moved to the parking lot to tailgate for about an hour before kickoff.

In the parking lot we ran into several friends who just happened to spot us and others who stopped by but we hadn’t seen all year. Naturally everyone is enthusiastic and happy to be there. When the time comes we gravitate towards the stadium with 65,000 of our closest friends. Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” comes on over the loud speakers and signals the team rushing onto the field. It’s time to beat these Hurricanes.

Enter Sandman Entrance at VT
If you’ve never seen the best entrance in college football then do yourself a favor and check it out.

Now what exactly does this have to do with my mom’s remark about football being a game? Well just take a look at my day… I bonded with my dad, got to see family I normally don’t get to see throughout the year, ran into old friends I haven’t seen in several years, and participated in something larger than myself. I was part of something. I belonged. I was entertained. I had something in common with people I normally would have no reason to meet. Sports don’t just elicit a happy or sad response based on the final score, it elicits SO much more.

So if you are someone who doesn’t “get it”, next time you see people shouting ridiculously at the TV, just remember it’s not really about what’s happening on the field. Join in and let the fever catch you too.

Love and Hokie football,

Let’s chat: What’s your sport of choice? Who’s your team and why?


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