Over the course of the last week, being a Mountaineer fan has become hard…really hard. On virtually every WVU related page on Facebook and Twitter, “fans” from all across the state have threatened to boycott the team completely due to a small “BLM” sticker on the back of the team’s helmets. Pretty stupid, right?
What I have struggled with during this short but eventful time frame is debating whether or not I even want to consider myself a part of “Mountaineer Nation” anymore. Since I was nine-years old, I have gladly claimed to be a part of what I thought was the best fanbase in the country. Sadly, as years have went on, I have been proven wrong. The last seven days have just been a nail in the coffin.
I truly began to debate my allegiance to this fanbase shortly after I started writing for The Voice last November. Being that I was nothing more than an avid WVU fan on Twitter, of course I was ecstatic when I was approached about potentially writing for any WVU related publication. No I am not necessarily “qualified” as I will be graduating with a history degree in December, not journalism. I saw it as a fun opportunity, and to this day, I still do it for nothing more than the enjoyment of getting my opinion out there and my love for the Mountaineers.
It was almost immediately after I began writing that I was exposed to the not-so-great side of Mountaineer Nation. Countless times I have been heckled by people I have never met before in my life, and even had grown men more than twice my age threaten physical harm against me. Why you ask? All because I had a different opinion than they did.
It is this characteristic that has once again reared its ugly head for Mountaineer Nation. While most of West Virginia has proudly proclaimed they do not agree with the “BLM” stickers being placed on the back of the team’s helmets, they have done so irrationally. Instead of trying to find middle ground, they have instead shown themselves to be too prideful to have any sort of empathy for their fellow man. In particular, their fellow man of color.
While I do contribute this to a lack of education among the West Virginia community, the hate in the hearts of our fellow “Mountaineers” is undeniable. Despite questioning my allegiance to this fanbase, it has become apparent to me that I have been approaching this situation all wrong. Instead of asking myself if I want to be a part of Mountaineer Nation, I should rather ask who the real Mountaineer Nation is?
In my opinion, if you have at any point denounced yourself as a Mountaineer fan in the past week, you are not a true member of Mountaineer Nation. If you have wished any sort of harm or failure upon the athletic programs or the university, you are not a true member. Instead, the small but rational portion of the fanbase are the ones who truly carry the mantle for Mountaineer Nation. “The real Mountaineer Nation.”
From now on, I will make every effort to ignore hate towards me or the team that I love. Instead of letting it bother me, I will just remind myself that these individuals are not true fans. They are nothing more than selfish human beings who look to our young student athletes to fill their entertainment desires. As far as when it comes to hate directed towards me, they don’t know me, and there is a strong chance I probably do not like them either.
Will the real Mountaineer Nation please stand up? It is time to quiet all of this negativity, and find a way to finally put the posers in their place.
Let’s Go Mountaineers