When our daughter first went to college, it was at an SEC school with a cherished football tradition and a fierce in-state rival. This was foreign to Jim and me, who had both gone to smaller schools right here in Virginia where football wasn’t quite such a big deal. I was shocked at her freshman orientation, where the other parents explained to me that “You choose your colors!” at a very young age.
When we moved to SWVA, we found that Virginia’s version of an in-state rivalry is alive and well between Wahoos (University of Virginia) and Hokies (Virginia Tech). Tech is just on the other side of Roanoke, and its alumni — many of whom came to the area for college and never wanted to leave — proudly sport their maroon and burnt orange.
But the UVA alumni, who are not as strong in number but as fierce in school spirit, are a loud presence here in “Hokieland.” In fact, when Jim first started work, some of his colleagues wanted to know where his sympathies lie. Fortunately for Jim, a Richmond Spider, he didn’t have to take sides.
But take sides we did this weekend, with an opportunity to join our friends the Reinhardts for Tech game against Miami University.
We enjoyed a tailgate, where members of the marching band and the cheer squad stop by just to say hi (so friendly in Blacksburg!).
We got to enjoy the exciting entrance of the team to the sounds of Metallica’s Enter Sandman.
And unfortunately, we shared in the disappointment of the home team’s fans as the game didn’t go their way.
In the end, the best part of the day was the good times with good friends, of course. And there is hope for UVA/VT harmony, as you can see if you look closely at the front yard of a farm down the road from us.
If they’ve been a “house divided” since 1954, the Turners clearly have something going for them that’s stronger than the pull of their school colors.