College Gameday in Blacksburg

While it wasn’t the first time that College Gameday had been to Blacksburg, the crew had not been to Virginia Tech since 2011, when they came to bring a sense of normalcy back to a vulnerable community after the tragedy of April 16th.  Saturday’s visit to Virginia Tech was the 6th appearance in Blacksburg, and the 10th featuring Virginia Tech.

Thousands of fans lined up early to be a part of the excitment, and even though our team did not win the day, we had an absolute blast!

Co-host Rece Davis commented that “this place has been special in the history of College Gameday, and it’s also been special, I think, in the evolution and growth of college football in general on ESPN”.

Virginia Tech’s famous Hokie Stone made for the perfect backdrop.

Davis continued “I think a lot of the Virginia Tech brand was built by the willingness to play on Thursday night. This is a place that I think is unique and special to both our show and to our coverage of the sport as a whole.

One of the hallmarks of Gameday are the signs, and I thought I’d share just a few that I saw.  They may not make much sense if you are not a VT or Clemson fan but perhaps you’ll appreciate the creativity.

Gobblers – a reference to our mascot

Dabo Swinney is the Clemson Head Coach

Bud Foster is Virginia Tech’s beloved Defensive Coordinator and Associate Head Coach

Howard’s Rock is touched by every Clemson player as they take the field; Hokie Stone is traditional to Virgina Tech

Kirk Herbstreit is a long time co-host of College Gameday

Enter Sandman by Metallica is the song played as the team takes the field.  Check out this link to get a feel for the joyful insanity that reigns in Lane Stadium on game day.  Seriously! Check it out!

Despite the loss, it was a great day in Blacksburg.

Proud to be a Hokie!

Go Hokies!

Frank Beamer and The Hokies!

Some of you will read the title and think “What’s a Hokie?“, while others of you will be familiar with the nickname of my favorite college football team, Virginia Tech.

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Frank Beamer has been the Head Football Coach at Virginia Tech for the past 29 years and you would be hard pressed to find a more beloved coach.  Not because of the number of seasons he has coached (29), the number of wins (279 career wins, 237 at VT), and the 23 consecutive bowl appearances. Rather it is because of his character, integrity, and humility.  He has been an educator, a source of strength and comfort after the April 16th mass shooting, and a father figure and mentor to the young men that he has coached.  Coach Beamer is retiring this year at the age of 69, and the celebrations, accolades, and love have been pouring in.

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Coach Beamer’s last home game was a couple weeks ago and thousands of people gathered before the game to greet him as he took his final walk to the stadium.  The following photos were my effort, despite the shade, to document an incredible day

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Coach Beamer arrived amidst a sea of people (check out the paint on the face of the fan next to him).

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While others think the school colors are a strange combination, VT fans believe they are reminiscent of fall.

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We’ve not had the best record this year, and we were not expected to win the game.  Even still, a sellout crowd, hundreds of former players who returned to celebrate their beloved coach, and tribute videos on the Jumbotron marked the day.  We laughed, we cried, we cheered, we sang.  It was an incredibly emotional day.

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Despite going into overtime, the Hokies did not win.  This day, though, was all about Frank.  From the second the game ended, all eyes turned to Coach Beamer.  Surrounded by photographers, he spoke to the fans.

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The team lifted him on their shoulders and carried him from the field while we watched, and cried, and cheered some more.

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(yes, I need more zoom)

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It took a long time for me and the rest of the fans to exit the stands.  I just didn’t want to leave.  Once I did leave, though, I wandered around soaking up the sights and sounds.

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The road in front of Lane Stadium has been named after Coach Beamer.

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Lane Stadium in Blacksburg, Va

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As I walked back to my truck, I saw one last opportunity for a shot.  Coach Beamer played football at Virginia Tech long before he became the Head Coach, and in 2002 his number was retired.

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If you are still with me here at the end of this long post, know that I am grateful.  Frank Beamer means so much to the Hokie Nation.

He’s just a good, good man.

Go Hokies!

A few weeks back, some dear friends and I gathered along the river for a weekend of Gifts.  The cabin we rented was situated beside the New River, and was surrounded by trees.  The Japanese Maples were vibrant with color, and the two growing next to each other just outside the cabin door captured in nature the colors of Virginia Tech.

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Chicago Maroon

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Burnt Orange

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I could not stop taking pictures of the beautiful contrast between the two colors.

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People have questioned the Hokie colors, wondering why a school would choose orange and maroon.

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Fans of Virginia Tech respond by saying “If God wasn’t a Hokie then why do the leaves turn orange and maroon in the fall”?

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Go Hokies!!!