Livin’ the ‘suite’ life rooting for the Mountaineers

Dave, Doug, Andy and MelissaMagnanimous. That describes Mountaineer fans to a T.

In what other fan base would a former football standout who you just met give you free tickets to one of the biggest games of the season?

That’s what happened last year when former WVU linebacker and NFL pro Grant Wiley gave Dave and me 4 tickets to the WVU game against 4th-ranked Baylor for our friends.

Grant wouldn’t accept any money and he insisted on delivering the tickets to us at our tailgate in the gold lot.

Grant Wiley (center) stops by our tailgateMountaineer fans are a big-hearted, generous lot. And we’ve met some of the best fans at Mario’s Fishbowl on Richwood Avenue. It’s here that we regularly experience the bounteous nature of Mountaineer Nation – from free basketball tickets to a blue lot pass – unsolicited, I might add.

This past Friday, Dave and I ran into one of my college friends and his girlfriend at Mario’s Fishbowl. Doug Douglass and I go way back but we hadn’t seen each other in a few years.

He and Melissa had come up for the weekend from Spencer to enjoy some Mountaineer football and tailgating. After reminiscing about the good ol’ days, he offered us 2 field suite tickets in Touchdown Terrace for Saturday’s game.

Doug and Melissa entering Touchdown Terrace gateNow I’ve been to Touchdown Terrace for a few events, but I’d never had the pleasure of catching a game there. We had an amazing time and I’m very grateful to Doug for the opportunity to experience it.

Touchdown Terrace includes comfy suite seating, upscale concessions, private restrooms and more. There’s even a server who comes around to take drink and food orders.

WVU vs. Liberty 2015This was a long way from Student Section 205, where Doug and I used to always sit – or rather stand – in our college days.

Back then, one of our good friends recruited the incoming freshmen from Spencer to get to the game early so they could reserve that section for us on the 50-yard line. This was way before the lottery system and all you had to do to get into the game was flash your student ID.

WVU vs. Liberty 2015Doug and I have come a long way since then, too. We no longer smuggle bourbon into the stadium in Ziploc bags. Nor do we engage in crazy, alcohol-fueled antics like crowd surfing.

And Touchdown Terrace and swanky suite seating didn’t exist when Doug and I went to WVU.

Fortunately, we didn’t need the cover of Touchdown Terrace last Saturday since the rain held off for those few hours of the game. The sun even emerged a couple times from behind the rolling gray tarp of cloud, creating brief, spangled moments of unexpected radiance.

I am glad that some things haven’t changed, such as the first-down cheer, fans squaring off during the “Let’s go Mountaineers” cheer challenge, the awesome performance of the marching band, the Pride of West Virginia, and the coonskin-covered mascot shooting off his gun every time we score.

It’s always a great day to be a Mountaineer, and the best days are those you get to share with your old college friends reminiscing about days of yore and watching your Mountaineers chalk up another victory.


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