Hell of a Guy

Not Just another Friday…


Scenario:  3:30pm, Saturday, November 27th.  Thirty-eight degrees, wind, snow showers.  Sixty thousand screaming fans dressed in gold and blue, some drunk and quite a few others flirting with not being able to recite the ABCs.  Just 10 o’clock of us sits an empty stadium.  Where we stand shivering in the chill of the hour is a sea of makeshift tents, charcoal and gas grills spewing meat-scented smoke toward the heavens and on tables everywhere is displayed a myriad of delicasies both savory and sweet.  People are laughing, and high- and low-fives are being conducted all around us.  Occasionally a freshman or some other immature idiot yells “Eat shit Pitt!” at the top of his or her youthful lungs.  This is “The Backyard Brawl” and is what these fans look forward to every year.  This is the Pitt-West Virginia game, the most meaningful game of the season in these parts, and this night I get to be a part of it.

I know what you have just read might make you think I am a huge football fan, but believe me when I say I am ten times less the fanatic than this wacko West Virginian I married.  The Nancy lives for West Virginia football, and when they are not playing, any football game will do.  Yesterday I got to experience a football game with her and her brothers and a few thousand of their closest friends.

The kickoff was scheduled for 7pm.  We were staying about thirty miles from the WVU campus.  So in order to not miss the kickoff we HAD to leave for the stadium at 2:30.  Made perfect sense to me – let’s leave a comfortably warm venue for one where we stand outside in the cold and wind for four hours or so just so we don’t miss the beginning of the game where we will sit in the cold for a couple more hours.  Just ducky!

We arrived, met up with the rest of the family at the designated tailgate locale, popped a beer, ate some snacks, and within 30-40 minutes lost all feeling in our fingers and toes.  Just three hours to go to kickoff.  My excitement level was waning as the pain of frostbite increased.

Long story short, we finally took our end-zone seats, just outside an enclosed terrace area (seats compliments of friends in Beautiful Downtown Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, population 711).  We were nowhere near the fifty-yard line, but we think we had the best seats in the house, and not just because we were about a hundred feet from heated rest rooms.

As the game began, all thoughts of the chill in the air and numbness in our fingers and toes was gone.  The exhilaration of the game took over and we were lost in the ecstasy of the Mountaineers removing the Pitt Panthers from their number eight position in the Top Ten.  The game ended in what seemed to be just a few minutes with a very acceptable final score of WVU 19, Pitt 16.  This was football at its best, this was the Backyard Brawl.

And that is all I have say about that… 

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