A huge part of the entire season long experience of any sport is the connection the team makes with its fan base. Okay, you heard that in the right order. We all know that fans (short for fanatics, btw) have some sort of emotional and intellectual connection to the team and players; but it’s a really special thing when you see a team that has a genuine feeling and connection with the fan base.
In professional sports we all know the points that help us make contact, The “Terrible Towel”, the special Super Bowl III New York Jet posters for an 11th birthday present, or the first little helmet replica scrawled with signatures all are physical touch stones for belonging to something special, even if it’s as a follower.
2016 Hokie Fan Appreciation Day was the second annual opportunity for Hokie Nation to come to Lane Stadium. Walk through the tunnel. Maybe spot their seats from Worsham Field, and spend some time to go find their favorite players or squad and make a connection. Even if that connection is the 800th signature for the player, and the 50th “good luck” “play hard”, and “Go Hokies!!!” in the past 10 minutes.
The players, sitting in the hot sun with wet towels and tons of markers patently and pleasantly endured two hours of fans filing by. It seems that this year was no different than last in many ways. There was the bookstore kitsch stand to sell things to sign. There was the Hokie Bird (he or she was a real trouper, it was HOT on the field!)
So, Joshua, my wife, and lowly me showed up to stand in line, walk the field, point at where the seats this season will be, and most importantly make a connection with the players.
Check out the Hokie Vision video and see if you can spot the old fat man in the maroon and orange Hawaiian shirt and the orange VT cap. We won’t talk about who he is, or the fact that the photographer wasn’t interested in capturing that image on his camera. The two comely young ladies several people ahead of me in line seemed to be very interesting to him.
The end result of everything seemed to be a wonderful morning where a part of Hokie Nation got a chance to talk to the players, but I really think that the players got a chance to talk to the fans. Some might have groused in private, but every one of them seemed to be thrilled that someone wanted their autograph, or wanted to wish them well in the season. As a fan I have to thank the players for their graciousness, the coaches for changing up things and signing autographs with their respective squads, and to my wife for standing in line the entire time to have my second mini-helmet signed by Coaches Fuente and Foster.
Kickoff is two weeks away!