Fate is a Woman
by Bill Glose, 10/10/01
Six weeks ago, I agreed to man a booth at the Newport News Fall Festival. That meant I’d have to tape the WVU game and watch it later, but those are the breaks. Every now and then, business has to come first, and I was being given a free platform to sell some magazines. For one Saturday, I’d have to swap my Hokie cap for my editor’s hat.
Tough as the decision was, it got worse just days later when I received a postcard in the mail. The postcard announced that this year’s Peninsula VTAA Hokie gathering would be held during the West Virginia game. "Fate," I cried, "Why are you so cruel?" Business first, I repeated, hoping to make myself feel better. It wasn’t working. But, fate, I soon learned, had other plans in mind. She intervened with a thunderclap, dumping torrents of rain on the festival and closing my booth for the day.
I’m certain that fate is woman¾ and a stubborn one at that. She lets you make decisions about your life, as long as its what she intended for you in the first place. When she asks, "What would you like to watch tonight, dear?" she bats her eyes and passes you the movie page, letting you think you have a choice. You consider the options: They Came to Kill, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jet Li; or else The Amazing Shrinking Bikinis, starring Pamela Anderson and the Coors Light Girls. It isn’t until after you’ve made your choice that you realize your mistake. She pouts, cries, mutters something about you not loving her any more, and the next thing you know you’re in a theater seat watching the epic-length, Discussions of the Heart, starring Meryl Streep and Faye Dunaway.
So, do I have a point? Yeah, I do. My point is that Fate wasn’t going to let me miss the WVU game this past weekend, commitment or not. She’d made up her mind that I was supposed to watch football every Fall Saturday, and nothing I did could change that. Fate, it turns out, is only cruel to Hoos.
As I sped back from the festival, dashing through red lights on my way down Route 17, I started thinking that Fate, in addition to being a woman, might also be a Hokie. I recalled the 1999 season, and it all started to click. That year, every legitimate sportscaster said the Hokies had no chance to make it to the big game. ‘Sorry, better luck next time.’ But Fate didn’t listen. She donned her High-Tech outfit, dropped a HokieBird head on Lee Corso, and stomped on the toes of Penn State and Tennessee with her spiked heels. Simply winning all our games would not have gotten VT to New Orleans. The climb up from #14 to the #2 position was made possible by other teams falling by the wayside. Each week, it seemed Fate removed one more obstacle from the Hokie’s path to the Superdome.
I can’t help but feel the same way now. At the beginning of this season, the team was ranked #9, reporters gave the Hokies little chance, and again they would need help from teams above them. Additionally, with the new BCS rule about quality wins, it appeared doubtful that a #2 ranked Virginia Tech would make it into the championship game¾ they would have to climb all the way to #1.
In 1999, it wasn’t until the sixth game before I believed the Hokies would end up in the National Championship. I knew it was possible, but I also knew how many hurdles they had to overcome. Then, Syracuse came to town, and Tech's track was cleared. The night game atmosphere, the Gameday crew on campus, Corso donning the HokieBird head¾ it was all just too much. After the 62-0 thumping, I finally realized the Hokies were going to make it. Nothing could stand in their way. That was confirmed six weeks later when Vick threw his rainmaker against BC.
This weekend, Boston College comes to Lane again, and though I don’t expect any 70-yard rainbows to part the clouds, I’m sure the team will do something to bring the stadium to its feet. The lunch pail crew will run out on the field and get the job done. They’ll do it for the coaches, they’ll do it for themselves, and they’ll do it for the fans. The analysts may say the BCS will lock out the Hokies, but they don’t play the game. And when they state doubts about the Hokies rising to #1, you need only think of one word. Fate. Say the word. Listen to how it rolls off the tongue and lingers in the air. Now say another word, and think about how that one sounds, too. Pasadena.
Bill Glose is the editor of the literary journal, Virginia Adversaria. His fiction has been accepted for publication in four countries and he was recently named the winner of the 2001 F. Scott Fitzgerald Short Story Contest. One of his stories is currently online at Short Stories Magazine (http://www.shortstoriesmagazine.com/fall.htm).