Finally I had the taste of ‘passion of (American) Football’ at Hokies Vs Hilltoppers game. I have been applying for lottery since the first game and as usual this time I lost it, but luckily my flatmate got a lottery and I was able to go to the game. Most of classmates had planned to go together for game but since I got ticket in the end I didn’t get a ticket with them. Luckily Wes had a spare seat next to him and I got a chance to sit with him. My knowledge of Football is not much, but I have seen enough movies to catch up with all the rules.
Lane Stadium – Home of the Hokies, Second scariest place to play (for opponents)
As usual, before the game there is tailgate – partying before the game and recharging oneself with food and drinks so he has the energy to support his team throughout the game. Its a nice place to know your group well, in class everyone is busy so there is little time to talk. Every group has its own tailgate and the number is countless, all I can say is all the area around stadium is acquired by ‘tailgaters’.
Alumni Band – before the start of the game
This was homecoming game for VT. Homecoming is welcoming back of former residents and alumni. For this game no color was specified, usually a game is declared as Maroon Effect or Orange Effect and everyone wears the same color, so we can see a flood of Orange/Maroon with slogans like Go Hokies, We support Frank Beamer, Orange/Maroon effect etc.
Fly Past before the Game
University sports is considered big here unlike India. In India we have rarely see any spectators for University Game or even for Ranji matches, but here for any game you will have a packed house. I believe this passion and popularity is the reason why Americans do so well in Olympics and other events. Popularity of the game can be gauged by the fact that there was a fly past for the game.
Game in Progress
Game started with odds favoring Hokies, as Virginia Tech is ranked highly in ACC. To understand the game we can compare it with soccer, instead of hitting the ball around and aiming for the goal, the ball is carried or passed by throwing and aim is touchdown ( getting it on opponents side). Other rules can also be compared with offsite rule of soccer. At a time we can have 11 players on the field but unlike soccer there are no substitution rules, they can have as many as 46 active players for a game. Usually teams are divided into Offence, Defense and Special team.
Half Time Celebrations
During half time we had another set of celebrations and performance. Best part of it was honoring student athlete Queen Harrison, she represented USA in Beijing Olympics and reached semifinals of 400-meters hurdles. Its really a great honor to study in same university with players like these. Homecoming King and Queen were announced too during the game.
Hokies won convincingly 27-13 and it was time for celebrations. Game was fun specially sitting with that kind of enthusiastic crowd. For complete 3 hours we sat down for just 5 minutes, rest of the time we were hooting, shouting slogans, gestures, making sound with keys and one we did Hokey Pokey too.
Can’t wait for another game!