MORGANTOWN, W. Va. – (November 2, 2020) – On Saturday afternoon, I attended my first ever WVU football game and I don’t think it could’ve possibly gone any better. I will detail how my first gameday went as a Mountaineer fan.
Growing up in Cincinnati, I have been only a Bearcats fan (don’t kill me… the old Big East ended almost a decade ago).
As an 18-year old, instead of growing up on Pat White, Geno Smith, Tavon Austin, Stedman Bailey, Pat McAfee, Will Grier, etc. I grew up on Tony Pike, Isaiah Pead, Mardy Gilyard, Travis Kelce, Munchie Legaux, and the Luke Fickell era Bearcats.
Instead of going to games at Milan Puskar, it would be going to Nippert Stadium. Instead of Rodriguez, Stewart, Holgorsen; it was Kelly, Jones, Tuberville, and Fickell.
Before moving into Morgantown, I have only ever visited campus once before. So far this year I have only been in the parking lot of Milan Puskar to cover a protest. I, however, had never stepped foot inside where the heart and soul of the state of West Virginia plays.
I have never been to the blue lot before and even seeing a parking lot empty right before game time was crazy. Walking alongside of the best tailgating spots during COVID is not a sight you want to see. Upon arrival, you wouldn’t think there was a game to be played.
When I walked inside the stadium, you can just tell you’re going to have a blast win or lose. Right away you can tell that it’s a place that people go to get away from life and root for their favorite football team.
If you haven’t been to a sports event during COVID, if you’re willing to go it’s such an interesting experience. Seeing a 60,000-capacity stadium only filled 25 percent, socially distanced as well is odd to see on TV, but even odder seeing it in-person.
You would think that the crowd noise wouldn’t be loud with only around 15,000 people, but it is way louder. It won’t surpass 60,000 screaming fans, but it will compete with their noise.
The game itself was a blur. The Mountaineers that I have watched so far this season haven’t played nearly this great on TV. Jarret Doege was finding his targets, Leddie Brown was again “the baddest man in Morgantown” finding the endzone, the defense created turnovers, and Neal Brown had his guys READY to play football on Saturday. It seemed like almost every play I was ready to high-five the other Mountaineer fans after a great play.
Singing Country Roads with a bunch of friends after a Mountaineers blowout win over No. 16-ranked Kansas State on a nice Saturday afternoon… what can be better than that?!
By just attending one home game during a pandemic, you can tell that the Mountaineer faithful are family. They are the most welcoming group of people you’ll meet. They bond together by watching WVU, drinking beer, and singing John Denver. It excites me for more home games to come.
We can thank our own Ashley O’Brien for creating this new Mountaineer fan!