Cheer Louder
by Joel Kelly, 11/7/01

Let’s just get it right out in the open…times are rough for Tech football. Not in the doomsday way many people think it is…times are just tough. Here’s an example:

As the clock wound down in a blowout…let that word sink in…of a game, my neighbor, a Temple grad, clapped as the Hokies got a rare first down against Pitt.

"I like to cheer for the underdog", he compassionately stated. The words came out of his mouth, hung there, and we both reflected. The following words out of his mouth were justified….

"Can I get you another beer?".


Let’s face it…these are strange times for Hokie football, especially for some of the newer Hokie fans. The Hokies are facing an identity crisis for the next few weeks, not only in the way we are perceived by the national media, but by some of our own kind. Some will shrug their shoulders, see this "Hokie Football" thing as a passing fancy, and move on to temporarily greener pastures. This is not a bad thing…trust me.

Now, I will say this much…a lot of the criticism that will come Tech's way in the following weeks is well deserved. Coach P. of the Orange put too fine a point on it when he offered the fire/steel analogy. Gnash your teeth all you want, but the Hokies that realize what makes a National Championship Team (I have never understood the reason for "M" in "MNC". Sure, it's cute in a smug, self-assured kind of way, but the only system we have now is the one we must adhere to. I guarantee if the Hokies win, or would have won, an NC trophy under the current guidelines, the "mythical" tag would have disappeared quicker than a Saturday afternoon crowd at Scott Stadium.) see that playing a tougher schedule makes for a better football team. And don’t try to sell me on how much better the Big East is than the MAC or the ACC…results speak for themselves.

I don’t understand how the season has gotten away from the Hokie football team so quickly. This is not just a simple amalgam of weaker OOC teams…something else is off its base here. Its not even a question of heart. Don’t tell me that D. Hall or "Big Ben" Taylor weren’t playing with heart on Saturday. They were out of their minds with frustration and attempted to make some plays in the Pitt game. OK, they didn’t look so great on replay, but they felt the need to stir things up and gave it a shot. I applaud them for that. Some of the other players should take note. Imagine upperclassmen taking leadership cues from a TRUE FRESHMAN.

Now, some of the best advice I ever received is don’t gripe unless you have a solution. It's easy to fan the flames of frustration and impatience. That's directed to all of you who stand in the middle of 55,000 strong at Lane and yell, "You suck" to all those on the field that are killing themselves for this program. You’re weak and need to take your lack of alcohol tolerance elsewhere.

My advice is this…cheer louder. Yell, wear colors, show your pride, wave your flags, talk your smack….do whatever you can within peaceful reason to show your support for this football team. This has been a real easy ticket to ride in the past decade. We thumb our noses at the Hoos and revel in their struggle to build a program which matches the Hokies. Times like these can help make or break a program. As easy as it is to ride the bandwagon to victory, it's much more satisfying to help that wagon get rolling again when the wheels seem to be coming off.

Hold the same confidence in the coaching staff and these players as you always have. If anything else, reach for more. It's time to give back to this team the support and faith it needs to continue on during this difficult season. They have given us reason to cheer in the past.

Now, more than ever, it is time to cheer louder.


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