Why I Love Maroon and Orange
by Bart Warner, 1/16/97

Okay, just so you know, I am inclined to wax nostalgic from time to time when it comes to our beloved alma mater. Throughout my mystical Hokie journey, I have heard frequent complaints about our official colors, maroon and orange. I certainly respect the opinions of others, and their rights to those opinions. However, I love maroon and orange, and as a self proclaimed defender of the Hokie faith, I feel compelled to share the reasons for my emotional attachment to our unique color scheme.

I love the fact that maroon and orange do not particularly go together. For that matter, the combination doesn't match anything else that occurs naturally in the world of which I am aware. Thus, it is unique and special. To the best of my knowledge, nobody else wears this combination of colors. It is distinctly ours. When I see any other combination of colors, my mind invariably will derive several other connotations associated with it. When I see maroon and orange together, I always and only think of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

I also like the fact that maroon and orange aren't necessarily the most flattering colors for even the most beautiful people in the world. Therefore, when we all don these colors that do not necessarily enhance our personal appearances, Hokie fans tell the world that we are willing to sacrifice anything, even our crucial personal appearances, in our efforts to support our University and our teams.

Maroon and orange are as vital and intrinsic to our identity as the Hokie nickname, the fact that we have two marching bands, and the Hokie Bird. People who don't understand or appreciate the culture of Virginia Tech obviously think we're nuts. Heck, they even think that the cumbersome official title of our school is ridiculous. But it makes me proud to know that "Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University" is, and will always be, sweet music to the ears of literally thousands of people who feel the same way that I do.

To put this in perspective, I have an old golf shirt that I dearly love. I've had the thing for about six years now, and I should probably relegate it to the cleaning rag pile. It's faded and tattered. To get to the point, it looks like hell. But I love that thing. I was wearing it when I scored my first birdie on the Tech golf course, and it accompanied me on several trips that are still the source of outstanding memories. I also had it on when I was involved in a pretty scary car accident, and I think I was wearing it when I learned of the untimely death of one of my best friends. It's truly taken on a larger life. It's who I am.

It's the same thing with the maroon and orange. It's kind of screwy looking. In certain applications, it's kind of hard to accept as a thing of beauty. Very few people outside our Hokie family would be caught dead in it. However, I know whenever I see it, it conjures up gridiron memories of our first bowl victory over N.C. State in Atlanta, the 1983 romp (48-0) over UVa, and the big win in the Sugar Bowl. It also makes me remember the 1992 thrashing we received at UVa, struggling through NCAA sanctions in the late '80s, and more recently, a tough loss in the Orange Bowl. It's who we are.

Maroon and orange isn't particularly glamorous. Sometimes it's a truly beautiful combination. Sometimes it has a downright hideous in appearance. But it's durable, and it has shouted "Virginia Tech" loud and clear to the world for around a century.

I apologize for being mushy or overly sentimental, but it's just how I feel. I am now, and I always shall be, proud to have maroon and orange flowing through my veins, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Bart Warner
Class of '93


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