It's another blistering hot home game for the Virginia Tech Hokies, and like so many games before this one, the crowd is roaring with excitement at the prospect of another Hokie victory.
Just before the half, the eager crowd pauses and directs its attention to Hokie Vision. We see a poorly drawn, cartoonish figure, beer in hand, heckling his neighbors and berating the other team. A buzzer sounds, and JERK ALERT appears in bright letters above his head. Hokie Bird has had enough of our disruptive animated antagonist, and he is promptly removed from the stadium. Our stadium has yet again been freed from the hassle of "jerkdom," and the game continues as energetically as ever.
However, our most recent "JERK ALERT" alarm has been sounded, not because of disruptive, drunken fans, but in response to our faithful leader, Jim Weaver, director of Virginia Tech athletics. This week Weaver formally announced that our tried and true "stick it in" cheer is no longer appropriate for use at football games, and that we, die hard Virginia Tech fans, must refrain from using it at future events. This is in response to, as Weaver has said, approximately eight to 12 annual complaints concerning the crude language within the cheer. These complaints are old news, as Weaver notes, but after our opening game against ECU, the athletic department felt it necessary to strike the traditional chant from the Marching Virginians' songbook.
Eight to 12 complaints annually? Let me remind you, there are about 66,000 cheering Hokies at any given home football game. Eight to 12 of them express their dissatisfaction with "stick it in" yearly. We have seven home games this year, which equals roughly 420,000 people entering and exiting Lane Stadium this season. Out of those 420,000 people, eight have complained. Obviously, the anti- "stick it in" movement is much larger than we had previously feared. How, as respectful Tech Football fans, can we expect to enjoy one of our favorite cheers when we know that eight people might be offended? Who will make sure these poor, dejected individuals see their dreams of ruining our end-zone fun fulfilled?
I'm not a university administrator, and I don't have any experience in the bureaucratic quagmire that is administrative policy, but I can comfortably assume that Virginia Tech receives many more than 12 complaints annually concerning topics that are actually relevant to the operation of this school. Striking one of our favorite cheers from the books at the behest of an extreme minority of disgruntled people takes us to the summit of defeatist policy in our athletic program's administration. I am extremely disappointed in this turn of events.
So Jim, I wish to offer you fond, heartfelt congratulations. If your goal is to ruin a time honored cheer at the whim of a dozen complaints because you can't stand up for the remainder of the school, then you're right on target. I for one will be shouting as hard as I can at our upcoming game against Ohio, and I can guarantee that "stick it in" will resonate loud as ever from the proud members of the Hokie Nation on Saturday.