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Mountain Lemmings

By Staff | Dec 29, 2008

I wanted to start this with a playful analogy about WVU fans being like lemmings, following the leader in mass. Or a herd of cattle stampeding across a field. But there aren’t really any good analogies to demonstrate thousands of things faithfully (and blindly) following a leader in a positive light.

So we’ll just name it after us.

“Mountaineering,” is the act of a very large crowd faithfully following something very dear to the end of the earth … or usually Jacksonville.

Because that’s what WVU’s legions of fans do, they flow in great numbers to locations marked only by a few young men donning tight blue and gold uniforms.

It starts in their youth. These fans ride many miles across rugged terrain to meet family and friends in Morgantown, possibly in an RV parked directly below the Medical PRT. Or maybe to a tent erected in a parking lot. At this point they are too young to engage in the usual drinking, and bratwurst might not be too appealing to them. But the comradery and fun begins to take hold.

But they go with family and friends, funneling into Milan Puskar stadium. It is just the beginning.

For others it starts in their dorm rooms.

Looking at the clock, they debate when to leave and where to go to to make the best use of their available drinking time. They pour out of their trailers top Van Voohris’ first hill (yup, that was me.) They leave from their friends’ apartments near the law school, finding whatever shopping cart they can along the way to push their friends in (yup, also me.) They leave from the downtown area crammed into overloaded PRTs with other smelly, brightly colored students on occasion (rarely, but sometimes me.)

All over Morgantown, thousands and thousands all begin moving in the same direction. It’s hajj for the hung-over.

They invite friends and family to make use of their little available parking within walking distance of the stadium, for only a small fee or some nicely cooked food.

But it doesn’t end there. They gather friends and make long trips to Virginia Tech to stay with friends for what was the best rivalry a team could have (sob, those Blacksburg trips were memorable.) They head to Three Rivers Stadium and now Heinz Field. They go as far as Miami and Jacksonville. And they sure as hell show up in great numbers in Huntington.

And later, when they graduate and leave the state for jobs farther south, they still volunteer for their newspapers to cover a few Gator Bowls. And anyone who has made the trek to a bowl game hosting WVU, they know they can expect plenty of tailgating and a strong representation in Florida, Louisiana and Arizona.

And I’m sure they will show up in Charlotte.

Contact Brad at btennant@graffitiwv.com