Game days are back — and so are the heavenly grounds of the North End side of Lane Stadium. If you are so lucky as to survive Center Street, with its precarious live music stages, collapsing pong tables and the occasional frat boy carrying what looks like a bamboo tree, then you will experience the joys of Hokie football. With these great games comes some great hunger.
When you are standing in the North End, several things might cross your mind. How will I stay on this bleacher? My calves are in severe stress from this jumping. Why is there a horse on the jumbotron? Where did my roommate go? Why am I so hungry?
Being a Hokie fan at football games is no easy task — but at least the food is easy to find.
Of course, the classic. Nothing screams being a Hokie more than cannibalizing your mascot. If you think your girlfriend is cute, wait till you see her turn into a full caveman right next to you as she gnaws off chunks of turkey meat straight from the massive drumstick. You might want to watch your fingers and toes if you go home together. Many rumors have circulated about where these delicious legs come from. Is that what happens to the forearms of unruly concession stand workers? Do incoming freshmen have to sacrifice a limb of their firstborn to get into engineering? Is the meat really just made of the ground-up hopes and dreams of students thinking they’ll ever pay back their student loans? Maybe so. But one thing is for certain — when you find yourself as hungry as a lost Otter Sandman in the Duck Pond, that turkey leg will revive you faster than GPAs drop after leaving online classes.
There are few things as unappealing as the way snot-yellow cheese slithers out of the nacho cheese pump — but when you’ve got a hankering for some dietary troubles, this is truly the one for you. These might be a better snack for later game days. In the warmer, earlier game days, you often will find yourself being cooked alive on the skillet of North End, so you most likely will not find burning the inside of your mouth as well as the rest of your body to be desirable. This snack can be messy, but don’t worry, you’ll find plenty of napkins standing right in front of you (located on the backs of your peers' spirited game day apparel). Everyone knows that maroon and orange look best when streaked with nacho-cheese yellow! If your friends try to steal this tasty treat from you as you walk back from concessions, be sure to inform them that it is “not-yo cheese” and they will certainly think you’re the funniest person alive and respect your wishes.
If you can shove one of these bad boys down your esophagus all at once, you will be the champion of North End. Especially if you are a freshman. Upperclassmen will not harass you; in fact, they will most likely stay very far away from you. Even if you don’t finish your hot dog, just put it in your pocket for later. Everyone needs a midnight snack after a game day!
If you did not beat the lines to get into various bars in Downtown Blacksburg (and if you are 21+) you can now top off your game day with some beers at the concessions! Everyone surely wished this was available at the six overtimes of the University of North Carolina game in 2019. The rain might have seemed a little less cold and miserable then, especially if you happened to be one of the unfortunate souls who did not have an interest in finishing the game but was staying for a friend. One of the beers available was even released by Virginia Tech itself, the Fightin’ Hokies Lager! Now, if you haven’t given Virginia Tech enough of your money through tuition, Hokie spirit gear and season ticket passes, you can donate more by buying some spirited drinks on game days.
Last but not least, even though West End technically is not located in the concessions of Lane, it is an easy and tasty place to get food after all that jumping. Especially if you leave before the first quarter — which is about as bad as telling an engineering major that they’re not that smart. Whenever you do leave the game, there is the warm comfort food of West End waiting to embrace you with open arms. West End has everything from the thick quesadillas of Grab and Gobble, the succulent steak of J.P.’s Chop House or even (if, for some reason, you’re feeling healthy after a game day) the giant salads from Leaf & Ladle. It’s also a great place to find your roommate if you’re a lost freshman after a game day.
No matter which game day food you decide to go with, make sure you enjoy every second you’re in those stands. If 2020 has shown Hokies anything, it’s how quickly things we took for granted can be taken away. So during this football season, be sure to jump extra high on those bleachers, take the biggest bite out of your turkey leg and hug your friends extra close. After a year and a half like this past one, it’s due time for the Hokies to fill up Lane again.