a breakfast serial

One bite-sized story every morning to uplift, motivate, or provoke thought.

Camping for the Cavs

< by Brennan >

There is nothing quite like an old-school college football rivalry. For reasons that no one usually really understands, once every college football season we unleash vitriolic hatred for a rival student body whose only fault is that they chose the wrong school.

On that day, only one thing is certain: the other team, and everyone affiliated with them, MUST BE CONQUERED. No matter how catastrophic your season might be to that point, sticking a fork in your rival’s back will cure all ills.

Speaking of catastrophic football seasons, I went to the University of Virginia and know a thing or two about them. Our biggest rival, almost naturally, is Virginia Tech, team of the hill people. When it comes to football, they have always outranked us in every facet, and it is mind-boggling how little success we have had against them over the last decade (i.e. 0 wins).

Coming into UVA, you get indoctrinated quickly. They are the enemy, nothing else matters. My first year, I was revved up. So revved up that I decided to camp out for tickets. For a week I called a tent in front of Scott Stadium my home. The energy was real: surprise visits from the coach and star kicker; late-night powwows of chanting; local news reporters knocking on the tent flap to ask why we were so insane; expectations through the roof, er, sky. We were going to knock them even further down the national rankings and savor every moment.

We charge into the seats — second row from the field. So close we can almost tackle them ourselves. The stadium is rocking as Marcus Vick comes in, having looked awful at Miami a couple weeks prior. We had already upset mighty Florida State, and we were hungry for more.

They beat us 52-14 in a game that was never close, in case the score hadn’t indicated that already. Our rivals had come into our house and made it their own, and we trudged out stunned by how everything could go so wrong.

We still haven’t beat them since that game. Years and years of clunky, awful games, missed opportunities, and just general misery. Would I ever go back and miss that week in Tentville, or the rush of being right on the field in a nationally televised game? Never. And that’s what makes a rivalry.


  Larry Who wrote @

My guess is the University of Virginia football team would stomp the Hokies in an academic competition, but then again, no one would camp outside the auditorium for tickets.

  Sandy Klosterwoman wrote @

Hi Brennan – loved your story. Having grown up with brothers obsessed with football, I really had no choice but to become a fan. Can you say “Minnesota Vikings?” 4 Super Bowls – 4 Losses. Need I say more?????

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