The first home football game is always exciting – there’s just so much anticipation.
We’ve been training all summer for this game and the opportunity to play in front of a, hopefully, packed house. We’ve got a great team this year and we’re matched up against #22 Syracuse.
Oh wait … was I supposed to be talking about the first American football game? I was talking about the real futbol – the beautiful game that I’ve played since I was three years old. I guess American football can be pretty exciting too, though.
This year, the first home game means the last home game for me and the last time to start jumping.
This is my senior year and, unless I miraculously pull a Van Wilder and stay for another three or four years, I won’t be returning to Blacksburg next fall. Knowing that I will be leaving the Burg so soon makes this game more important than it usually is.
Somewhere amid all the hype and excitement I forgot to sign up for the lottery last weekend (whoops), but luckily for me this is the first time since 1998 that the game wasn’t sold out.
So yesterday morning I snagged a free student ticket from Cassell Coliseum, which saved me the embarrassment of being the bum outside the stadium pleading for a ticket.
The first game is an opportunity to put all that pre-season hype to the test.
Is the recruiting class really all it’s cracked up to be? How will the new coaching staff fair in the intense game time environment? How far will we make it this year? Let’s face it, we always end up at the Chick-fil-A Bowl or the Orange Bowl anyways.
The first game is often less than it’s cracked up to be, but I think it’s always been more about the hype than the actual game. Most of the teams we play we should blow out anyways (except when we played JMU my freshman year, but let’s not talk about that – actually, let’s never mention it again).
It’s not going to be that gripping match we’ll see later in the season. It’s probably not going to be that interesting at all to be honest.
Let’s be real: My 5-8’’, 150 pound friend from Western Carolina almost walked onto the team. Granted, he’s one of the most athletic guys I know, but it’s evident that this game is not about the competition itself.
It’s about gathering the Hokie Nation and getting pumped about the season as a whole and all that it entails.
It’s about going to the first tailgate, jumping to Enter Sandman for the first time in seven or eight months and getting rowdy in the stands even though we’re winning 20-0.
Start getting rowdy, friends; it all starts tomorrow.
In my four years of high school, our football team won two games – and one of them was a forfeit because the other team cheated.
Suffice to say, I didn’t exactly catch the football fever.
Then I came to Virginia Tech, with little knowledge of football and even less interest.
I didn’t go to a game until halfway through the season of my freshman year when I happened to get a ticket from a friend.
As far as introductions go, it was pretty awful: I was woefully unprepared for the freezing wind up in the stands. It was raining. And we lost.
And yet, I loved it.
When I say I have little knowledge of the game of football, I’m not modestly underselling myself.
I genuinely know next to nothing about it.
In fact, saying that I have a “little” knowledge might actually be a bit too generous.
For instance, do I have any idea why this particular play is apparently so key? Not at all. But that doesn’t stop me from shaking my key ring with all the force I can muster.
I couldn’t tell you what a tight end does, I only just learned what the phrase “Beamer Ball” means (still don’t know what a special team is though) and the referees might as well be speaking gibberish for all that I can understand them.
But when Enter Sandman plays and I’m jumping with 60,000 plus of my fellow Hokies, my football knowledge or impressive lack thereof, is immaterial, because the best part of Hokie football isn’t memorizing stats or playbooks.
The rush of a whole stadium jumping, or the wild camaraderie of tailgating, or the silliness of trying to do the Hokie Pokie in those cramped student stands is what makes it the absolute best.
Please excuse my use of the most clichéd of buzzwords here, but football at Tech is the unmatchable because of one thing - community.
It might sound trite, considering how frequently the word gets tossed around in reference to our amazing school, but this is one instance where it’s a cliché because it’s true.
Nothing can compare to huddling in the north end zone with your friends in a valiant, but failing effort to stay warm in the Blacksburg fall.
And there’s no greater thrill than screaming “Let’s Go! Hokies!” with thousands of what feels like your closest friends.
Maybe I genuinely believe this because I’m a sap or maybe I’ve just gone and drank the Hokie Kool-Aid, but either way, I’ve been counting down the days to the first home game of the season.
And you can bet that come kickoff, I’ll be in the north end zone getting a bit rowdy and making obvious my complete incomprehension of most football rules.
Let’s go, Hokies.