Last weekend I went to my 1st VA Tech football game and I found the Hokie culture fascinating, however it profoundly reminded me of the MD Terrapin Basketball culture with its many cultural traditions. In this blog, I attempt to compare the two.
VA TECH FOOTBALL v MD TERRAPIN BASKETBALL
Prior to the start of a MD Basketball game, Coach Gary Williams the seasoned b-ball coach, pumps his fist at the crowd, to indicate that its going to be an awesome game and that the crowd should also be pumped. Unfortunately, we got into the VA Tech game late and I am not sure if there are any similar things at a VA Tech football game, but the VA Tech cadets do march across the campus to the football field and that is certainly, most likely a "fist pumping" site.
Upon the entrance of the VA Tech Hokie football players, the Hokie student and alumni sections know to jump up and down. As with the MD Basketball players' entrance the students mimic the same bobble-headed behavior. The students, mostly and some alumni (including old and young) the MD fans also jump up and down.
MD fans, this time almost exclusively the students, have an additional player entrance traditional behavior. However, this tradition has to deal with the opposing teams player entrance. As described in the MD traditional folklore sites I visited for a precise description, "Maryland students pretend to read the school newspaper when the opposing team is introduced. As if that is enough to show their antipathy for the visiting team, they tack-on a "sucks" to the end of every opposing player's name when it is announced. (e.g. Joe Smith (students: "Sucks!")) ". VA Tech football fans and students alike, although not interested in the other team's entrance on the field, they do not have to deal with the individual reading of the starting line-up and do not of course have any response.
Both the VA Tech Hokies Football fans and the MD Terrapin basketball fans practice similar acts to try and distract the opposing team that attempts to make a free throw in b-ball or field goal in football. However, the MD basketball fans, again consisting mostly of students have an action they perform when the Terrapins are attempting free throw. Again as Wikapedia describes, "When the Terrapins are shooting free throws, students hold their arms over their heads. If the shot is made, thy will drop them to their side while uttering 'whoomp.'"
I am unsure if VA Tech football has begun any national college football traditions, but the MD Terrapins have the distinction of founding Midnight Madness. This Madness event, was started by MD head coach Lefty Driesell in 1970. Formerly, Midnight Madness was a student event held at the earliest time the men's basketball team could start regular season practice - at midnight on the first day of NCAA sanctioned basketball practice start date. According to my good friend Wikapedia, "Recently, Maryland and some other schools have moved the start of Midnight Madness to earlier in the day - generally around 7 o'clock - with permission of the NCAA, of course."
Therefore, in the argument between the two, I have to give MD their props. As fun as that Hokie football game was (and boy will I cheer for them when the Hokies play VA), MD traditions must win out in the fan war between the two sports. The MD Terrapins re responsible for a tradition followed by schools all over the country. As far as I know, the Hokies to not have similar founding sports phenomenon.
You know that I am, however, bias. I graduated from UMD and will always find their traditions in higher regard. Even though the Princeton Review has no articles measuring or comparing sports fans traditions, I can tell you that the Princeton Review has said in their 2008 College Review magazine, that Maryland was ranked "#1 in its annual "Students Pack the Stadiums" ranking of student athletic support.". So at least the MD Terrapin students' athletic support out ranks VA Tech. Ummm....but that has, on occasion translated into burning couches in the middle of Route 1. Oh well, how else do you celebrate when you beat Duke, like VA Univ? Nobody likes Duke.