Country Roads, Take Me Home

 A snapshot of our halftime performance; Source: Robert White

A snapshot of our halftime performance; Source: Robert White

Game Day isn’t just a day, it’s a state of mind. Ask just about anyone on Virginia Tech’s campus and you’ll find this to be true, however no one shows their school spirit in quite the same way as the Marching Virginians. Even weeks before a game, you can see the entirety of the band hard at work to ensure Game Day is more than just another Saturday. 

The best possible way to begin my freshman year at Virginia Tech was with the very first football game I experienced as a Hokie. The game happened in 2017 at FedEx Field against West Virginia University. Never in my life have I experienced anything quite like this: waking up to the band-provided breakfast of Pop Tarts and Juicy Juice to begin a day full of excitement. After breakfast, all 330+ of the Marching Virginians piled onto eight charter buses and started the hours long trip to FedEx Field. 

We weren’t even halfway there when one of our buses decided to break down. All I could see was smoke coming from the bus in front of me, and I could only watch and hope for the best when they pulled over to try to fix the problem. For a short amount of time, my bus waited with them, but we were eventually sent on to rehearsal for our halftime performance. 

Just a few hours later, we were much closer to the stadium, but traffic was so bad that it seemed we would never arrive. A full caravan once more, there was no way we would be able to make it there in time. No way, that is, but for our former director, Dave McKee, to become like Moses and part the Red Sea of cars so that his busses could press on. Once we finally passed through the endless stream of traffic it was straight sailing from there to the stadium.

 The view from the Marching Virginians’ seats at FedEx Field; Source: Robert White

The view from the Marching Virginians’ seats at FedEx Field; Source: Robert White

And let me tell you, what a stadium it was. With a crowd of more than 70,000 people, there truly was nothing that could compare, at least not in my mind, not yet. I didn’t know hardly any of the stand tunes, but that didn’t matter because the energy levels were so high I was able to fake my way through most of it. When it came time for our halftime show, I was so filled with adrenaline that nothing else mattered. Not how tired I was after a day of travelling, not the thousands of people watching me, not even the fact that it was my first game and, if I was being truly honest, I had no idea what I was doing. All that mattered at that time was performing the best show of my life.

When the game was over, after a hard-earned victory, we all piled up onto the busses and drove back home. I’d had the night of my life and was so excited for all that was sure to come. All I knew was that I could not wait for my first game in Lane Stadium and the rest of my four years at Virginia Tech.