It's the most wonderful time of the year, and no, I am not talking about Christmas. If you are a student of West Virginia University, an alumni, or live anywhere in West Virginia and have your wits about you (Sorry, Marshall), then you know the best time of the year starts at the opening game of West Virginia University football. WVU football is not like other college football. Here in Morgantown, football is not just a sport; it is a way of living for about four months. There's something about Game Day at WVU that is different than any other Saturday of the year (and yes, Game Day should be capitalized because it technically is a national holiday if you're a Mountaineer fan). Here are some signs it's Game Day at West Virginia University:
You hear "IT'S GAME DAY!" being shouted from outside your window at 7am.
Hearing any signs of life that early on a Saturday is more rare than a student that can walk up the Life Science steps without getting winded. However, there is no hesitation when that alarm goes off on Game Day! Get up, put your old gold and blue gear on and get out the door. You've got some tailgating to do!
The only colors worn are old gold and blue.
All other colors are irrelevant on this day, and if you are seen wearing other colors, you then are automatically considered a fan of the opposing team. And if you are a fan of the opposing team, just make life easier on yourself and wear old gold and blue as well, or you may be getting looks like this:
Students are happy at the PRT station. On any given weekday, the PRT station is a place of angst as students wait... and wait... and wait for the PRT to come (if it's not already broken down somewhere). But on Game Day, the PRT station is filled with smiles, the smell of beer (coming only from those 21 or older, of course), and chants of "Let's go! Mountaineers!"
One word. Tailgates. In other, less advanced colleges, tailgates occur in the parking lot by the stadium. While, yes, our stadium lot is at capacity with tents, flags, food, corn hole, and people geared up and ready for the game, tailgating a WVU game is not confined to just one parking lot. They go on for as far as the eye can see, until the entire city of Morgantown is fair game for a good time on Game Day.
The student section can be heard from miles away. Even if you don't attend the game (which should be seen as a heinous act against humanity) you can still hear a thundering roar of the concentrated mass of students cheering at every turn of the game.
Your arms are around a complete stranger as you sing John Denver's "Country Roads." There really is no better feeling than being surrounded by thousands of your classmates and singing this song at the end of every Mountaineer football game. No matter how big the school is, it feels like a family, and a home, when you are arm in arm with a classmate and singing as one voice. You can look around and see that it truly is "A great day to be a Mountaineer, wherever you may be."