Every college team has their own traditions when they play on their home turf, and Virginia Tech is no exception. Lane Stadium was rated the number one home field advantage in all of college football by Rivals.com in 2005. It is also #2 on ESPN.com’s list of “Top 10 Scariest Places to Play.”
You want to know why? It all starts with Metallica’s ‘Enter, Sandman’, which is (in my opinion) the best entrance in college football. But I admit, I am biased. After a round of “Let’s Go! Hokies!” the opening notes of ‘Enter, Sandman’ begin and the entire stadium jumps up and down. The football players come through the tunnel, jump up and touch the Hokie stone mounted above the entrance to the field, and then take to the field as 66,223 fans (the stadium regularly sells out) jump up and down and scream at the top of their lungs.
When the Hokies prepare to kick off, the crowd stomps a foot and slashes an arm (like the Florida State tomahawk chop), increasing in speed until the ball is kicked off. If the ball repeatedly gets blown off of the tee (it is often very windy in Blacksburg), the crowd boo’s the wind.
When the Hokies score, be ready for the Corps of Cadets to fire a cannon called Skipper. Skipper is the world’s largest game cannon, and the cadets also fire it after the national anthem at the start of the game.
When we lived close to the football stadium and were watching the game on TV, we would often hear the cannon fire before we actually saw the touchdown. Of course, we would also often hear the crowd before the cannon, because Lane Stadium is just that loud. We make audibles impossible, and sometimes force the other team to run out of time on the play clock because the QB can’t hear what the coach is shouting at him, or the center can’t hear to snap the ball. The time we beat Nebraska, the stadium was so loud I think I nearly lost my hearing.
Also when the Hokies score, VT freshman cadets do pushups to equal the point total on the shoulders of their classmates.
In similar fashion, the Hokie Bird will bench press a weight the number of times equal to the score.
When the opposing team has the ball on third down, it is known as a “key play.” Many diehard Hokie fans have a key ring of random keys reserved solely for game day. As the opposing team’s offense lines up for third down, Hokie fans shake their keys and yell as loud as possible to ruin the other team’s concentration and keep them from converting to first down.
At the end of the third quarter, everyone needs to stretch their legs. So the Marching Virginian tubas take to the goal line to lead the stadium in a round of the Hokie Pokey.
Although we love our mascot, the Hokie Bird, we also have a tendency to eat him during a football game. Turkey leg, anyone?
During the football season, you can’t tell which game is the homecoming game, because Virginia Tech Alum come to every game. We call it “West Stands” and it is where you get to sit (and I literally mean you get to sit) after you have graduated.
|The alumni section|
Speaking of sitting, if you attend a game in any of the student sections (North Stands, upper East Stands), don’t expect to sit. You will be on your feet the whole game. In fact, they even made a t-shirt because of it.
Our football team hustles more than any other team that sets foot in Lane Stadium. Head Coach Frank Beamer puts a lot of emphasis on special teams, in a style of football that has become known as ‘Beamer Ball’, which focuses on kick- and punt-blocking, and scoring from anywhere on the field. Beamer Ball also encompasses the defense’s propensity for interceptions and scoring points, and a “lunch pail” defense mentality.
|2007 Maroon Effect shirt|
Lunch Pail defense was developed by Defensive Coordinator Bud Foster, and it is based on the blue-collar hard-working ethics of a coal miner. The lunch pail is filled with the defense’s mission statement and goals.
From ‘Enter Sandman’ to key plays, from the Skipper to Beamer Ball and Lunch Pail defense, there’s never a dull moment in Lane Stadium. Clearly, I love my Hokies and I love Hokie football!
What traditions does your favorite team have?