For Southern WV Fans, Va. Tech Game Means a Little More
Greenbrier County WVU Fans Discuss Disdain For Hokies.
For WVU fans across the country, there is a great disdain for Pitt, Notre Dame, Ohio State, the SEC, the ACC and probably a few more.
But for fans in southern West Virginia—in this case, Greenbrier County—the passionate dislike for the Virginia Tech Hokies is a whole new animal.
And the reason is because there are Hokie fans everywhere. EVERYWHERE. It is sickening.
On a typical day in the Greenbrier Valley, it is not at all uncommon to see at least 10 Hokie hats, shirts and shorts. Just the other morning I was driving down the road and saw two Virginia Tech car decals and a license plate on the front of a totally different vehicle, and where I was going is only four minutes from my house.
When second year Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente was asked earlier this week about this Sunday’s matchup being a rivalry game, he downplayed that fact stating that the players on each team knew nothing about the past rivalries as the current players were just little kids at that time.
While that may be completely true, I guarantee you the fans of each team remember and remember well.
Back in 2003, with WVU stumbling to a 2-4 start to the season under Rich Rodriguez, the Hokies came to Morgantown for a primetime game with a national ESPN television audience.
To make a long story short, Rasheed Marshall hit Travis Garvin for a long touchdown pass, Frank Beamer smacked Ernest Wilford in the head on the sideline and the Mountaineers cruised to a 28-7 victory in a game that turned their season around for the better.
Then in 2004, WVU made a return trip to Blacksburg, VA where vulgar things were shouted at my group while walking into Lane Stadium. It poured the rain from the opening kickoff to the end of the whistle making it a miserable watch. To add to the misery was the fact that West Virginia lost 19-13 and what turned the momentum in that one was a bad call on WVU safety Jahmile Addae after he laid out a Tech receiver over the middle, and the ref called a personal foul on Addae. The Hokies took advantage and never looked back. It was a terrible call then and I still have not forgotten it today.
During WVU’s magical Sugar Bowl season in 2005, they finished 11-1 and their only loss was to Virginia Tech. According to Tech fans, they won the Sugar Bowl that year since they beat the Mountaineers, but they have never been anything short of delusional.
There were many more games as well, but to talk about them all would take weeks.
Hokie fans in this area are also very confusing.
Ninety percent of them have no connection to Virginia and love Virginia Tech football, but could not name one player on the Tech basketball team. That’s because they either follow Duke or North Carolina on the hardwood. I asked a friend back in high school this question:
“Why don’t you like Duke football and Virginia Tech basketball?”
His response was “because Tech sucks at basketball,”
Typical bandwagon fans.
A couple local Mountaineer fans here in Lewisburg, Darrel Baker (my dad) and Jay Morgan could sit all day and describe the feelings they have for Virginia Tech and not one of them would be a positive statement.
“I would rather go 1-11 this year (2017) and beat Virginia Tech than go 11-1 and lose to them. And I am serious, I can’t stand them,” Morgan said.
Morgan also had this to say when asked about the matchup three weeks ago.
“I’m torn all to pieces,” he said.
I’m okay if I just don’t think about it at all, it makes me sick.”
Baker echoed those exact thoughts, but went a little further into detail.
“The reason the rivalry is so big here is that West Virginia fans work right across the state line in Virginia and Virginia people work in West Virginia. And they don’t really get along this time of year.”
Another diehard Greenbrier County Mountaineer, Jay Hayes, is a former WVU Rugby player and when asked about the Hokies he gave a quick response.
“I played rugby at WVU and all I heard was Pitt, Pitt, Pitt and we played Pitt, but when we played Virginia Tech I was trying to kill somebody,” Hayes explained.
So coach Fuente’s downplay of the rivalry may indeed have legs in his area code. But he better not dare tell that to all the southern West Virginian’s because he might just get hammered.
Sunday’s game kicks off at 7:30 PM and will be televised nationally on ABC.