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Winners, Losers and Losers

Another Saturday of ACC football brought, as usual, winners and losers. In at least one instance, both came from the same school.

There were celebrations in Blacksburg, Chapel Hill, Hooville, Miami, College Park and maybe by a couple of people in Boston. They were shell-shocked in Atlanta, contemplating the eBay value of those LTRs in Raleigh, checking out Prosser’s team in Winston-Salem, not caring in Durham and wondering just what you have to do to catch a break in Clemson. The biggest losers of the weekend, however, could be found early Saturday afternoon in the Commuter Lot at Virginia Tech.

A couple of hours before the Georgia Tech- Virginia Tech game, the Parking Nazi, a very small man attempting to act like a big shot, arbitrarily decreed that parking regulations in the Duck Pond RV lot would be changed that very instant. While the Parking Nazi no doubt felt very important for a few minutes [“I guess I showed those college graduates a thing or two. Who’s the boss now, yuck, yuck”] before heading home to order around his inflatable doll and reflect on his life as a fifty-year old virgin before heading back to work this morning and determining that the oil is the correct temperature in the deep fryer, it did cause a minor inconvenience for some of us, those of us that, unlike the Parking Nazi, actually HAVE A LIFE and do not have to draw a sense of self-worth from employment as a parking attendant.

That minor inconvenience involved relocating to the Commuter Lot, on Gameday also known as football Public Parking. The stroll back to the RV lot created a revelation that was only slightly less astonishing than Paul’s on the road to Damascus.

The lot was slam full of Tech students. I’m assuming they were students, as they all seemed to be attired in those hideous Orange Effect t-shirts. There were a smattering of Georgia Tech fans also around- after all, it was Public Parking and they were the visiting public.

Entirely too many of the V-Tech fans, using that term very loosely, were hurling F-bombs at the G-Techsters. Trinity Road at NC State had absolutely nothing on this rabble. These punks, a term certainly more applicable than fans, were all holding beers and appearing to be in some fairly advanced stages of intoxication. As bad as these displays of Hokie Respect were, it was far from the worst.

Among the Georgia Tech fans were a middle-aged and well-dressed black couple. They were walking down a row, no doubt thinking they had somehow been transported by time machine back to the 1950s. Three orange-clad male youths stood in the back of a pickup truck and in between gulps of beer they were embellishing their F-bombs with a liberal use of the N-word. Jim Cavanaugh sure won’t be using them as a recruiting tool.

These were obviously Hoo wannabes unable to gain admission to Mr. Jefferson’s Grounds. Since they could not scrawl racial slurs on the doors of black students in Hooville, they were doing the next best thing. Acting like the descendents of TommyJ when the Hemings show up at the reunions is not a credit to Virginia Tech.

I’m sure the ‘It Didn’t Happen’ and ‘I’ve Seen Worse’ factions of Tech loon-dom will be quick in shooting the messenger. Well, it did and so have I. This was pretty tame stuff compared to the physical confrontation with a moonshine-soaked Deliverance extra once imposed upon me outside Mountaineer Field. That is the reason I will be watching the Tech-Cousins game this Saturday on television. I was also hit in the back of the head by a fist two years ago while leaving Ketchup Field in Pittsburgh and had a pleasant stroll through F-Bomb Alley a few weeks ago at NC State. I’m sure the hospitality will be warm and inviting when I visit Maryland in a few weeks.

Quite frankly, I don’t care what happens at other places. I care very much about what goes on in the tailgating fields around Virginia Tech. I have apparently been living a sheltered tailgate life sequestered at the Duck Pond, unaware that Tech was operating its own F-bomb lot. I suspect most alumni who are parking in lots called Litton-Reaves and Chicken Hill aren’t either. It is and it needs to be dealt with. At State the authorities did not make even a token attempt at cleaning up Trinity Road until after they had cleaned up the dead bodies. I doubt many Hokies would want the same thing happening at Tech.

These things do not seem to be self-correcting. Action needs to be taken by the Tech administration that does not involve sticking their heads into the sand pit behind Merryman. Constables expend a fair amount of energy each Tech home game escorting from the East Stands those who have over-indulged to the point of causing trouble. Attacking the problem at its source could eliminate a lot of walking up and down the steps. I saw no police presence in the Public lot whatsoever, although I did see a lot of alcohol consumption, much of it by children who looked to be a bit shy of the legal drinking age. Get a show of police into that lot. Have teams of people going up and down the rows checking the IDs of each and every reveler. Arrest the drunks, throw them into the slammer and keep them there until their parents come down from NOVA to bail them out. Those simple steps might weed out a good chunk of the drunken louts and perhaps head off a very sticky situation down the road.

There were very few Georgia Tech fans around last Saturday. They do not appear to be great football travelers- heck, as near as I could tell last year in Atlanta they don’t travel particularly well to their own stadium. However, in two weeks when Marshall pays a visit there likely will be a sizable contingent of traveling Herd. Considering their state of origin, they are also not likely to utterly ignore F-bombs thrown at them as did the Jacket faithful.

In any event, visiting fans at Virginia Tech, no matter how small the numbers, should not have to endure that kind of abuse. We should be better than that. There were some GT fans near us in the RV lot. They were on the receiving end not of F-bombs but invitations to join us and share our humble tailgate fare of lox and bagels, breakfast casserole, barbecue, freakishly large grilled chicken breasts, pork chops and seemingly hundreds of bratwursts that kept magically appearing from the 1.2 coolers per tailgater on hand. While they did not seem to be particularly enthused about the final score, they were an agreeable lot with whom I enjoyed spending time. I imagine their memories of the time spent at our Tech are a bit better than those forced into the Public lot. That is unfortunate.

No fan should be forced to run a gauntlet of profanity for a crime no more serious than supporting their team on the road. No college football parking lot should resemble the crowd at a professional wrestling exhibition. The good name of Virginia Tech should not be dragged through the mud by a collection of punks who can’t hold their beer and are in possession of very small minds and vocabularies. Tech has a reputation for having some of the best fans in college football. It does not need to be sullied by visiting fans returning home with stories of being verbally accosted by feces-faced knuckle-draggers claiming to be associated with Tech. This ain’t WVU.

The Parking Nazi will be dealt with just as he was the last time he tried to impress us with his importance, by aiming for a point several feet above the runt’s head. BTW, little big man, I noticed that no HO-scale RVs showed up at the last minute to take those empty single parking spaces. Tech needs to deal with its own version of F-Bomb Alley before things get way out of hand. There were winners and losers last Saturday. The biggest losers could be found wearing Orange, holding beers and yelling obscenities in the Public lot at Virginia Tech. Chan Gailey and Chuck Amato are at work attempting to correct their mistakes. The Tech administration needs to do something about theirs, too.

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