I have never attended a class at WVU. I am an Ohio girl and never even thought about West Virginia for much of my life. The Sunnyside phenomena and the Pit all had to be explained to me long after the fact. I have to use my GPS to get my frosty fishbowls at Mario’s. I was raised by a diehard Buckeye fan to worship Ohio State football.
Despite all of that, I love my yearly pilgrimage to Morgantown and last weekend’s game vs. Kansas embodied all that I love about WVU football.
Let me count the ways.
Arriving at the Gold Lot before the sun did for a 7 p.m. game. Reveling with good friends and making new ones while soaking in the sun on a beautiful fall day. Taking in the great Morgantown scenery while belting out “Country Roads.” Wiggling my fingers and grunting on every first down just like a true Maniac.
This tradition began about 11 years ago and I have my friends Andrea and Dave Joliet to thank for it. We headed down to Morgantown on a whim to check out all the gloriousness Andrea experienced as an undergrad.
I felt like a college kid again. And my football yearnings were completely satisfied by the electric atmosphere at Milan Puskar Stadium. In short, I had a blast and couldn’t wait to experience it again.
So there we were in the Gold Lot again on Saturday, a chilly, misty morning before the crack of dawn, anticipating another great game day. Each year I think, “It can’t be better than last year. That was absolutely perfect.”
But the fact is, each year the experience deepens and expands. The loyalties grow stronger. This tradition is something that builds on itself and becomes greater each year.
I simply love every second of it. It is fun to watch the “Hillbilly Haulers” file into the lot and set up shop while munching on one of Dave’s delicious egg sandwiches, and that was just the start of the delicacies that emerged from his grill.
Fueled by the warm autumn sun, chili and meatball sandwiches, soon I was dancing like no one was watching with fellow fans. There’s just no better place to drink craft beers and jello shots than with my friends under the PRT in the Gold Lot. A thorough walloping of the Jayhawks was the crowning moment of another fantastic day.
I can’t wait to see how the rest of the season unfolds for my Mountaineers. As I watch the games from my home in Ohio, I will be rooting for not just the football team, but also for the wonderful fans and students I meet there every year. I am already counting down the days until my next excursion to Morgantown.
Here are just a few more highlights from throughout the day.