We all have something special that defines our lives. Whether it be a passion, talent, or title, there is something that makes us all who we are. Ever since I was just a 9-year old kid, Mountaineer Football has been my true love.
Growing up, my family was not a sports centered family. Despite my sister and I playing baseball and basketball, sports never defined who we were as a family. My love for the game of football began early in my fourth grade year. I bought my first Madden game and would watch every NFL game that I possibly could. At this point, it was purely a source of entertainment for me. However, it would all change sooner than I thought.
Having a favorite team was not something that I thought about. Since every NFL team was tied to a big city, I did not figure any of them were close enough to root for being from Hinton, West Virginia. What I was unaware of was the existence of College Football. In West Virginia, you have the choice of rooting between two teams. You can either choose the ugly green and white team from Huntington, or you can let your true colors fly and be a Mountaineer. Luckily, I had terrific guidance in choosing which team to root for.
The date was November 8th, 2007, I was just having as normal a fourth grade day as possible. When gym time came around, the seed for my Mountaineer fandom would officially be planted. My elementary gym teacher, Ron Lilly, would always tell the class when the Mountaineers had a game. I had never paid much attention to when he would make these announcements, but since my newfound love for football had begun, this day it changed. The Mountaineers had a Thursday night matchup against the Louisville Cardinals that day, and he was sure to let the class know. I was immediately intrigued— I had never heard of the Mountaineers before, and I was ready to check them out.
When I got home that evening, I asked my father who the Mountaineers were. He let me in on how they were our state’s team since we did not have a pro team. After I told him that my gym teacher had told us about the matchup with Louisville that day, he agreed that we would watch it. What I did not know of was that my first true passion would be born that night.
Everything about the game excited me. The players, the coaches, the stadium, and most importantly, the beautiful Old Gold and Blue. When Pat White scampered half the field for the game-winning touchdown, I knew that I had finally found my team.
Because of that day, many things have came from my love of Mountaineer Football. Friends, memories, and amazing Mountaineer Field experiences have all stemmed from that day. My dedication to the Mountaineer Football team is unmatched as it has now been since 2008 since I missed a game, and I watch completely through each and every game, win or lose. Never in my wildest imagination could I have ever imagined that I would become so passionate about something. If not for my Mr. Lilly telling the class to tune into the Mountaineers that day, I truly may have never became the fan I am.
I would have never fathomed that 13-years down the road Mountaineer Football would open so many doors for me. It is because of my love and dedication to this team that I am with The Voice of West Virginia today. At almost 22 years old now, I am a season ticket holder, and my passion for the team is only beginning to grow. There is not a shadow of doubt in my mind that I was indeed born to be a Mountaineer.