Thursday, January 5, 2012

sweet like sugar

The past four days have been a wonderful whirlwind of a trip to New Orleans to see the Hokies take on Michigan in the Sugar Bowl.  Before I share my thoughts about the game (and we all know that there is plenty to say there..) let me recap my time in this fabulous city:

first night on bourbon street with the boys

lunch at riverfront restaurant on decatur street

with the family in jackson square

fan fest with my roomie 

with the joan of arc statue

loved all the little details of the this quote painted in a store window

hand grenades on bourbon street before the game

mom and me with our game faces on...hokie colored masks
We really could not have asked for a more fun destination for a bowl game.  All of the locals were super welcoming, and the Michigan fans were also very friendly.  As it was my first visit to N'awlins, I was sure to embrace the excess of mardi gras beads and masquerade masks, toasts with tangy cocktails in souvenir glasses, being covered in powdered sugar from Cafe Du Monde's beignets, and a horse and buggy tour around the French quarter.  I simply did not want to leave. 

Now, for the outcome of the actual game... As one of my friends said, "the best team can't always win."  While there were a number of plays that led to our fight for the win in overtime, I truly believe in my heart that Danny Coale's catch was a touchdown.  In spite of whatever  ruling the refs called, Danny deserves credit for his incredible athleticism and natural presence on the field.  I mean, how many other players could have made a catch like that??  He has carried himself with class and grace while showing everyone he is a damn good ball player too.  I am proud to call him a Hokie and a member of the Class of 2012.

I don't know what exactly it is that strikes a chord with me when it comes to Virginia Tech, especially Tech football.  I attribute part of my heart-wrenching dedication to my being raised coming to games and standing by the team, win or lose.  It could also be that my time as a Tech student has connected me to something much bigger than myself.  I love college football, as opposed to the professional league, because it isn't so much about the money as it is about the sheer talent, athleticism, and spirit of universities.  It brings colleges together on a national platform and allows us to share different experiences against similar rivals or conferences or bowl games.  Having mutual respect and sportsmanship towards the opposing team often overshadows competitiveness, which was definitely the case with the Michigan fans; they were so easy to get along with!

I think this loss is more heartbreaking than our loss to Clemson or our loss to Stanford in the Orange Bowl last year.  We weren't outplayed this game.  We earned the title.  A quote from an article on The Key Play blog sums up my feelings pretty well:

"This team won 11 games. The seniors have never lost to Virginia. They've won 3 ACC Championships. We'll be pleasantly reminded of that in Lane until we're too old, too fat, too dead to go to games... I love this team. I love that they finished strong. I love that they contended. I loved that they did more than was expected. I love that the core will be back next year. I love that they broke my heart.  I do. Really. The day I don't care, is the day I'm not a Hokie. That day was not today."
For more insight on the outcome of The Sugar Bowl, check out football player Collin Carroll's article

V. P., old V. P., You know our hearts are with you,

In our luck which never seems to die;
Win or lose we'll greet you with a glad returning,
You're the pride of V. P. I. 

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