Grow up, folks, it’s a football game

Best Seat in the House column by Chris Graham

“And I’m not just talking about people saying, ‘Miami stinks.’ Everything was, ‘F this,’ ‘F that.’ ‘F everything.’ The whole game.”
Hokie Nation, you ought to be ashamed of yourselves.
Come to think of it … College Football Nation, we ought to all be ashamed of ourselves.
My sister- and brother-in-law went down to Blacksburg for the Miami-Virginia Tech football game over the weekend – Heather is a University of Miami grad, and her husband, John, is learning to become one.
“I do want to stay married,” he said to me by way of explanation while leaving their 2-year-old with us before heading down 81.
And they were trying to get their 5-year-old, Brady, into the UM spirit as well – yep, it was the Brady Monster’s first college-football game.

“Probably a hundred” was his answer when I asked him how many people were at the game – which was played before a crowd of 65,000-plus.
I can understand being overwhelmed by the environment when you’re 5 years old and you’ve never been to a football game before.
What I can’t understand is grown adults shouting vulgar obscenities at a family with a 5-year-old kid.
And then there’s this – the reaction from my mother-in-law upon hearing the news.
“Well, at least they didn’t throw beer bottles at you like they do at West Virginia.”
Yeah, I guess that is a positive …
I remember writing a column about the bad experiences that Tech fans had at a West Virginia game several years back involving beer bottles and a lot more.
One person that I interviewed for that column had gone to a game with friends who were WVU grads, and even having Mountaineers on their side did them no good when it came to dealing with the dregs of society who feel that getting mercilessly cursed out when rooting for your team in an opponent’s home stadium is just part of the game.
It saddens – no, saddens is a mild word; how about it royally peeves me off – to hear that this is the way Lane Stadium greeted a 5-year-old kid going to his first college-football game.
And I’m anticipating getting some angry e-mails from Tech fans pointing out that it was probably just a relative few people among the thousands in attendance; and that this kind of thing happens in every stadium on every college campus in the country.
My answer to that is one that you could probably anticipate – so bleeping what?
I’ve never forgotten the words of wisdom handed down to me by a fellow alum from the University of Virginia who’d had a pleasant experience traveling to a game at Auburn – which, incidentally, is in the part of the country where they take football dead serious, you know, burning coaches in effigy and that kind of thing.
He talked about how several Auburn fans stopped him and his buddy on the way to the game to welcome them to Auburn and offer that they hoped that they’d have a good time.
“That’s class right there,” he said in telling the story – and I’m just one guy, sure, but I always make it a point to seek out fans from visiting teams when I’m in the stands at UVa. football games to try to pay it forward, if you will.
I can only wish that there’d be more people like those Auburn fans than there are like the jerks at Virginia Tech who taught my 5-year-old nephew how sailors talk to each other when they get leave.
Shame on you, Hokie Nation – and shame on everybody else who thinks blessing out somebody wearing the other team’s colors is part of the game.


Chris Graham is the executive editor of The SportsDominion.

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