There ain’t much separating us from another Dead Zone. In this Commonwealth, we are down to two weekends. Spring football practice will conclude at Virginia Tech and Hooville with two notable social events, the Tech Spring Game and the always-exciting Hoo Football Festivus. I doubt there will be many people attending both.
It is always interesting to observe the difference in the way Tech and the Hoos treat this rite of Spring. At Tech, it was long ago determined that the mere mention of the word ‘football’ sufficed to cause of thousands of fans to head for Lane at a dead run. It might not exactly be Tech football, but it is as close as you’re going to find in late April, which means it is close enough.
There will be precious little football, that’s for sure. The Tech staff has long approached the game with two major goals, one, to get the game over with as soon as possible and two, not to get anybody hurt. This is generally accomplished during the forty-five minutes or so it takes to wind the Lane clock down. The heavy lifting of Spring practice, such as getting somebody, anybody, ready for September’s inevitable Tyrod injury, will already have been done. Other thing take center stage on Gameday.
The Tech Spring Game has evolved into an instrument to inject a little juice into the NRV economy. Lots of people show up, more than a few from out of town. They will find quite a few merchants around more than willing to accept their money. When that panel discussion a while back determined that keeping what’s left of downtown Blacksburg from joining everybody else out at the mall was to come up with ways to ‘sell more beer,’ this was what they had in mind.
Along with drinking downtown dry, chowing down on the lunch pail special at Bud’s restaurant and maybe scraping up enough cash to cop a gameday condo, those with a C-note left over can spend the morning listening to Frank. I’m guessing Frank might say just a little more than his usual public utterances of ‘They’ll get after you’ and ‘We’ve got a lot of work to do.’ If not, there will be the opportunity to sleep through a lecture by some business prof and then hang out with Eddie Royal. Attendees will come away having acquired the knowledge that if there is another way to extract a buck from Tech’s fan base, Frank will find it.
While the Tech Spring Game is a huge social event, things are a little different over in Hooville. On the Grounds, getting people to spend more money that weekend perpetually takes a back seat to getting folks there in the first place. It has proven daunting. The Hoos never stop trying, however, and this Saturday tens of tens of Hoo fans will again be able to enjoy the 2009 Hoo Spring Football Festivus.
Once again, the steel-trap mind of Hoo AD Craig ‘Tubby, Dr. Casteen says people are laughing with me, not at me, but sometimes I’m not so sure’ Littlepage has come up with an array of Festivus activities certain to prove every bit as entertaining as his coaching searches. While there will be no Airing of Greivances, since among the Hoos that has morphed into a year-round activity, there is all sorts of other fun stuff.
As usual, Festivus will have the Feats of Strength. Fans can test their skills in Hoo-specific football activities such as dashing from Tech defenders and attempting to pass the ball more than five yards downfield. algroh and The Guy Hoo Replaced boygroh will no doubt be watching closely for anything resembling good quarterback play. A scholarship may be in the offing.
The ‘inflatable games’ part seems just a tad unusual for an event that purports to be kid-friendly. Perhaps the Hoos noticed how much fun was had when this sort of thing was introduced to the Clubhouse Tailgate at Tech. I’m sure Hoos will have great fun recounting their ‘Favorite Loss to Tech’ to Hoo One and cavorting around the field with Wally Wahoo.
Since this is Hoo U, Mr. Jefferson’s vaunted Academical Village will shine in. Students from middle school on down are invited to submit essays on the subject ‘How to hire a coach.’ The Grand Prize Winner will not only be offerred employment in the Hoo Athletic Department starting 11/29/09 but will be invited to bring nine of his friends and compete agains the Hoo team in the Spring Game. Craig’s dumbing-down of the Hoo schedule should finally produce somebody algroh can beat, although the Great NFL Legend does point out that it will be a tough game since ‘nobody runs on eighth-graders.’
Two events stand between us and the Dead Zone, the Tech Spring Game and the Hoo Festivus. Alas, I will only be attending one, since it never once crosses my mind to show up for Festivus. I hope to see many friends at the Spring Game and send the Hoos my Festivus regards.