Last Sunday started out like any other lazy Sunday, but it ended as one of the most memorable days in Virginia Tech basketball history, at least for us, the students. Roads were treacherous throughout the state thanks to a heavy ice storm, leading to one of the finest decisions ever made by A.D. Jim Weaver. I suggest he make this decision once a season for any big ACC home game.
Weaver, as most of you know, opened Cassell Coliseum to all students with a student ID for the game against Maryland. It was a genius idea. And it worked out about 2,000 times better than I expected. I greatly underestimated the power of the Hokie Nation.
At about 6:30 six friends and I crammed into a two door Civic and slid over to Cassell with expectations of getting to the game in time to get a seat at half-court. Little did we know some students got there as early as 6:00, an hour and a half before the 7:30 tip-off.
We ended up about ten rows up in the corner behind the Tech bench. There were students everywhere. I would estimate that students made up 90-percent of the crowd. From the moment I got there I knew it would be a special night.
Impromptu Hokie chants started in small sections and spread like wild fire throughout the Coliseum. Itâ€™s one thing when the student section is crazy at a basketball game, but when the whole place turns into the â€œstudent sectionâ€ itâ€™s something amazing. I wish every Hokie basketball fan could experience it.
At one point in the second half Gary Williams came on to the court to argue a call and a â€œSit down Gary!â€ chant started in the regular student section and spread around the crowd. Apparently it got so loud it could be easily understood on TV. It was one of the highlights of the night for me. The unified disdain we displayed towards Williams, one of the most ill tempered coaches in the ACC, made my Hokie heart happy.
The Hokies grew their lead to 58-50 with six minutes left, but managed only one more point in regulation. The last six minutes were very frustrating. I thought we had a great chance to take total control of the game and get a 10-15 point win, but it didnâ€™t work out that way and we had to endure the high stress of over time.
I squirmed nervously in my seat during time outs much of the last six minutes and over time chewing off my fingernails. Unfortunately I ended up violating some of the rules concerning words used towards officials in the ever-popular Hokie Respect campaign. But, my Hokie spirit, and the spirit of all those in attendance, according to Coach Greenberg, led the Hokies to victory on that special night.
â€œThat was the students win,â€ said Greenberg.
It was our win, and Iâ€™ll take it even though it was a little too close for comfort. Every win in the ACC is big, every win is another step towards the NCAA Tournament, the win over Maryland gave us our fifth win in the ACC, one more than we had all last season.
Thatâ€™s not what made it special though. It was special because we the students made it special. We showed up, sometimes just showing up is good enough.
On Sunday January 21, 2007 we the students showed up in strong numbers and we made Cassell Coliseum the hottest Sunday night party spot on campus. I expected to get to Cassell and see a basketball game, instead I found myself at a party (minus the kegs) where there happened to be a basketball game.
Patches of Hokie Nation are starting to catch Virginia Tech basketball fever, hopefully it becomes an all out epidemic.
The Student Section contains columns written by Virginia Tech students, the TechHoops.com 6th man.