I know this is dumb to blog about (not that that ever stops me), but I just can’t help it. I know whoever cares about this already knows and the vast majority of my readers probably don’t care. But I’ll try to explain below why this story matters to me. It’s 2:28AM right now as I write. Typos, come forth!
The West Virginia Mountaineers scored more points than any team in bowl history last night and won their first ever Orange Bowl in record-smashing fashion.
West Virginia: 70 Clemson: 33
This is West Virginia’s 3rd BCS Bowl (for the unschooled, this means big-time-huge bowl game) appearance, each time the Mountaineers have been underdogs. West Virginia won all three. In fact, like a few years ago, the ESPN poll (along with every ESPN commentator I saw) predicted West Virginia would lose. They break it down by state and every single state, except one, had West Virginia falling to Clemson.
West Virginians love this storyline. We’re a small state and frequently get overlooked, or dismissed. People often (including an ESPN commentator) don’t even know we’re a state. So this kind of thing really rings our bell. (Actually, this is both a strength and a weakness, but that’s another story.)
This was special. I’m a West Virginia fan no matter what, so it’s pretty sweet to enjoy this historic victory. Best of all, I got to enjoy it with some family, my 8 year old daughter staying up with me till 12:30 AM to see the whole thing through. In our family, West Virginia sports are a valued tradition.
When I got back from South Africa as a teen and went to my first West Virginia game in several years, I was all teared up early on. I kept trying to think why that was. After some thought, I realized it really wasn’t so much this team and these players (though they matter to me), but I was thinking of my Dad, far away in Africa. For me it’s always been about him and my Papaw and on and on back, as long as I know of, we’ve been for West Virginia. It’s something my entire family connects over, and while a dumb streak of potential-idolatry exists (as it does in all good things), I am thankful for this tradition.
What a fun night.