Morgantown, West Virginia – For those threatening to leave Mountaineer Nation and not support West Virginia University sports, do you remember why you love Mountaineer sports? Do you remember what it feels like to watch the team run out on Mountaineer Field, or see 60,000+ people singing “Country Roads”, swaying with arms intertwined following a big victory?
Do you remember what it was like before 2020? That will return.
After all, the same people that threatened to no longer support the team after Vic Koenning was fired are still here today, still supporting the team. They whine and bitch and moan and complain until they’re blue in the face, but they’re still here.
Once you’re a Mountaineer, you’re a Mountaineer for life. Every single person reading this knows that. Being born in West Virginia, growing up a Mountaineer fan, is both a blessing and a curse. We’ve suffered tremendous losses and we have lived through amazing moments that united us as a state.
This is no doubt a difficult time in West Virginia sports. No one – not the university, not the coaches, not the players, not the fans – is happy with the current state of things. Like Neal Brown so eloquently put it this evening on The Neal Brown Show, “it just seems like everyone is angry.”
Brown expressed how challenging it’s been this offseason: “It’s an extremely difficult time to lead. I didn’t learn about this in any MBA course I took or any situation as a coach. This is the only pandemic I’ve ever experienced. It’s the most social unrest of any time period during my lifetime, probably the most since the early 1960s.”
Brown continued: “As far as the social injustice, I think you’re naive if you think there’s not injustices, I really do. I’ve been encouraged because I don’t think that my generation probably did enough to create true equity. So I have hope in this generation, both white and black, I really have hope in this generation.”
Although Brown is encouraged by this generation speaking out against injustices, he’s also extremely frustrated: “More than anything I’m at a point right now where I’m just frustrated. I’m frustrated at the division. You can support the Black Lives Matter movement because it’s a movement and not support the organization. You can recognize social injustice and still support state and local police. You can disagree with a politician and still love America and still know it’s the best country in the world and you can still support our great military.”
Brown’s message for the people of West Virginia: “Everybody is angry at everybody and I just think we can be better I think we’ve got to be better as a society, as people and that’s where I’m at.”
Brown, of course, is right. We all need to be better and see others’ viewpoints, and we also need to come together. When West Virginia scores their first touchdown on September 12th in their season opener, we will remember why we were all united, forget all about this difficult time and go back to cheering on the old gold and blue.