Virginia Tech fans get what college football is all about

From time to time, most of us here at TVF will travel to football games to watch our favorite teams play. Dave went to the Super Bowl last season, I traveled with Spencer and Hawkeye to Iowa City to see the Buckeyes and Hawkeyes, and Trey made the trip to Tuscaloosa to see the Gators take on the Tide. This past weekend, I traveled to Blacksburg to see my Jackets against the Hokies. As you may recall from Trey’s visit to Alabama, sometimes the home crowd isn’t so receptive to visitors. Other times, the folks in the town you’re visiting are the exact opposite. I am happy to report that the good people of Blacksburg, VA fall into the latter camp, and not the former.

Virginia Tech fans and Blacksburg in general has a well earned reputation as one of the friendliest places to visit for fans of opposing teams, and it is my great pleasure to say that I can 100% confirm that it’s true. Everyone we met over the weekend couldn’t have been nicer. From people we met up with to have drinks Sunday night to service industry folks to whom it was obvious that we were out of towners, we couldn’t have been made to feel more welcome. Granted, it didn’t hurt that just about everyone we met was a Braves fan, which is just another point in their favor. As my sister and I were walking around campus on Monday afternoon, more than a couple of people saw us decked out in our Georgia Tech gear and made a point to say “hey, welcome to Blacksburg”. One man even offered us something to drink at his tailgate, as we were randomly walking down the sidewalk.

Before the game, we met up with some people we knew through twitter, and my buddy Joe, who runs The Key Play. We had just been over to see the Lane Stadium sign, from which some Georgia Tech students stole the “T” the night before (here’s a mention of it at Joe’s site, complete with a picture my sister took of the t-less sign). Nobody at the tailgate we were at had heard of the theft, and so we told them about the tradition of stealing the T from Tech Tower, and how that’s become somewhat of a traveling show. Most places, something like that wouldn’t sit well with the hometown folks. When Auburn and Cam Newton beat Alabama season before last, and someone put a Cam Newton jersey on a statue of Bear Bryant, that was the impetus for Harvey Updike to drive to Auburn and poison the trees at Toomer’s Corner. In Blacksburg, however, the reaction was much much different. Everyone thought it was a great prank. They took it for what it was, and embraced the spirit of the whole thing. That’s Blacksburg and Virginia Tech fans in microcosm.

After the game was over, and after we had trudged the mile or so back to our car (all the while receiving no heckling, taunting, or jeering from any Hokie partisans), we needed something to eat, so we stopped at the Waffle House across the street from our hotel. All of the staff was decked out in their gameday gear, and the place was full of Hokie fans. Once again, everyone was beyond welcoming. As our waitress handed us our menus, she remarked that we probably didn’t even need them, since we’d probably been to Waffle House a time or two, seeing as it’s based in Atlanta (she was right, no menu needed). As we were leaving, she made a point to tell us to have a safe trip home.

I don’t make a ton of trips to see the Jackets play on the road, and if I do, it usually depends on what’s at stake in the game, or maybe an infrequent opponent. I have to say that after the experience I had this past weekend, Blacksburg is at the top of my list for a return trip, and I don’t see it getting knocked from its perch anytime soon. If you have the opportunity to go see your favorite team play in Blacksburg, do it. The gameday atmosphere is great, and the warmness and welcoming nature of the people there can’t be overstated. When it comes to understanding what college football’s all about, Virginia Tech people get it

  • Michael Morrison

    Glad you enjoyed your stay! I’ve heard very few complaints about obnoxious Hokie fans, so I sure hope this is the experience that most people have. Thanks for the recognition!

  • J

    Glad you enjoyed the most amazing campus/place on earth! I know I do like to taunt opposing team’s fans, but all in good nature, of course. Sometimes it’s the opposing team that’s worse! And have to say, Saturday, I was flying from San Francisco to DC (in order to get home in time to drive to Blacksburg) and ran into a guy wearing a GT hat. We were on the same flight and it was delayed so a group of passengers went to the bar. The GT guy was one of the nicest guys I’ve met. We enjoyed friendly banter and it was nice to be able to be obnoxious (since our teams have such macho mascots) with each other but not get into a heated argument.

    Shows that one person can really make or break your impression of a large group of people. Was definitely looking forward to the game and running into more of you while you were in town!

  • Jeremy

    haha comparing the game to Auburn vs Alabama….thats funny…not even in the same universe…those schools hate each other with a passion…georgia tech vs virginia tech is not even a true rivalry per se

  • Steve

    When GT came to Blacksburg a few years ago, I remember someone inviting some stray Jackets fans to our tailgate. They were great guys, and I think everyone had a blast. As often as the two teams meat in big games, it’s awesome how well the fans have acted toward each other.

    • Oskie

      People in Gainesville are the worst…

  • John

    As a student at VT I still need to venture to the Waffle House but I’m happy to hear you enjoyed your stay!

  • jeslpus

    VPISU fans blow ass. This Techie either doesn’t know what he’s talking about or he’s not actually a GT fan and is a Hokie.

  • VTFan

    As a loyal VT fan, I love seeing outsiders who may not have a tailgate to come hang out with us. I love talking Hokie football, but when you only talk with other Hokies, you need a 2nd opinion sometimes…plus, a lot of them have good foods to share.

    I had a great time when Nebraska came to town a few years back, they are some class A fans as well! Hope to see you in 2 years.

    And, as always, keep the T’s and we’ll keep the W’s ;)

  • Pete

    I’m so glad you had a good experience in Blacksburg. I always do my best to make folks at home in town here and it’s great to see that you had a good time! I am however sad that you chose to eat at Waffle House. Definitely hit up some of the great local food downtown when you come visit for the game 2014!

  • VTAlum

    This was a great read. I’m always happy to see mutual respect among teams.

  • Jacob

    Remember in 2007 when VT was at GT and a bunch of uniforms got stolen? Seeing Sean Glennon, Tyrod and a bunch of others in borrowed gold jerseys was the start to an intense but respectful rivalry.

    Plus Logan Thomas and Attaochu (sp?) making up after the punch last year was a good move all the way around.

  • Lori V.

    Thanks so much for the kind words! I’ve always loved playing teams who have a kind-hearted approach to a rivalry. Myself and 10 other Hokies flew to Texas a few years back to watch the Hokies play at Texas A&M and we all can honestly say about A&M what you have said about us. I’m so glad “my town” welcomed you and showed the true Hokie spirit.

    I’m not a big fan of the “vandalism” pranks that remove stuff or mark stuff up, but I also don’t see the use in getting panties all in a bunch over it. I do hope the T was returned. :-) (UVA got all up in arms over the “vandalism” of someone putting a VT tshirt on the statue of Thomas Jefferson after our last win at Charlottesville)