The Times West Virginian

Sports

August 31, 2013

HERTZEL COLUMN: Football takes over your life

MORGANTOWN — Do not look at the calendar today.

Look into your heart.

True, the calendar says it’s August and the thermometer says it’s 85 degrees, but your heart knows it’s football season.

You had a preview, maybe, on Thursday night, when Ol’ Miss pulled off a miracle on top of Vanderbilt’s own miracle, the cameras showing both the sheer delight that can only come in a college football finish like that and the horror on every single Vanderbilt fans’ face as their world turned upside down.

And then, if you could wait until maybe 2 a.m., you would have Rutgers fall to Fresno State, 52-51, in overtime, another tribute to the game that college football has become, pinball in real life. Fresno threw no fewer than 73 passes.

Another game like that and they might be ready for the Big 12.

OK, the leaves haven’t begun to turn yet, but the autumn colors will be out in full force, autumn colors in this neck of the woods being old gold and blue.

The RV has been cleaned out, the WVU stickers applied where needed, the WVU flag put in its place and the beer put on ice along with the burgers and hot dogs for a morning of tailgating.

Ah, tailgating, America’s game.

In Morgantown, it’s more than party, more even than a way of life.

It’s a way of living, and with the first game there is so much to catch up on with friends and family and when you see that family walking by wearing William & Mary colors, what better way to make a new friend than over one of your cold beers, a dog and talk about your team and theirs.

What does football do?

It takes over your life, that’s what it does.

Friday may have been a disaster at work. It’s Aug. 31 and the rent may be due, the cable bill overdue, but now it’s Saturday and West Virginia football and all those thoughts and worries disappear, slip into those dark recesses of the mind that are not to be tapped when you are busy tapping a new keg and caught up in a conversation over whether Clint Trickett or Paul Millard should play quarterback.

Oh, you’ll talk about memories … about Sam Huff and Major Harris and Pat White. You’ll laugh thinking of Owen Schmitt breaking his facemask or Wes Ours powering into the end zone. You’ll talk about your favorite kick return from Tavon Austin and you’ll even talk about Don Nehlen and Rich Rodriguez.

That’s the way it is. Sports is very much yesterday’s memories, as much, perhaps, as it is today’s game, which will become yesterday’s memory soon enough.

You, the fan, are waiting for the next star to be born, as is the coaching staff.

Somewhere in that WVU locker room which is filled with wide-eyed kids is the next Pat White or Steve Slaton or Geno Smith.

He’s the one who will send you off to the Book Exchange or the local sporting goods store to pick up a jersey with his number on it, maybe Karl Joseph and his No. 8 jersey in the style … maybe white, maybe gold, maybe blue.

It might be the quarterback’s jersey, too, but right now you don’t know who that might be and you probably know their numbers yet, either.

That will come.

What you want today is a good game, although your definition of a good game is far different than that of a casual fan.

A good game is 56-0 to you, if West Virginia has the 56 points.

That Vandy-Ol’ Miss game, with the lead changing hands twice in the last 80 seconds, may have been a good game if you took the points or went to Ol’ Miss, but you won’t find it among too many Vanderbilt fans’ list of favorites.

So get ready for some football. Seek out the Mountaineer, go wild when the sound of the musket reverberates throughout Milan Puskar Stadium and enjoy singing “Country Roads” when it’s over.

Monday comes far too quickly and the next home football game is a couple of weeks away, so let it all hang out today.

Introduce the new freshmen to West Virginia football as you live it.

Email Bob Hertzel at bhertzel@hotmail.com or follow him on Twitter @bhertzel.

1
Text Only
Sports
  • James, Wade lead Heat past Bobcats in Game 1

    Each of the last two Miami championship runs has been highlighted by moments where a sharpshooter enters a game and immediately provides a surprise spark.

    April 20, 2014

  • Granderson lifts Mets over Braves in extras

    Slumping newcomer Curtis Granderson hit a sacrifice fly in the 14th inning and the New York Mets outlasted the Atlanta Braves 4-3 on Sunday to prevent a three-game sweep.

    April 20, 2014

  • NMHS #28 PITCH -TS.jpg Pitching pushes North past Monarchs in game two of doubleheader: PHOTOS

    North Marion coach Vic Seccuro wanted to send a message to his team, telling them to focus, bear down and grit out a victory.
    After falling 13-8 to Braxton County in game one of a Saturday doubleheader, the Huskies bounced back to beat John Marshall, 4-2, Saturday at North Marion High School.

    April 20, 2014 5 Photos

  • EFHS #21-OG #11-TS.jpg Bees split with Oak Glen on Senior Day: PHOTOS

    Twice on Saturday the East Fairmont softball team found itself leading Oak Glen 3-1 in the seventh inning.
    The situation was the same in both games of the doubleheader. The way the Bees’ handled it, though, was quiet different.

    April 20, 2014 5 Photos

  • NMHS #14, 21-RC #14-TS.jpg Lady Huskies fall to Ritchie County late, 5-4: PHOTOS

    It couldn’t have happened the way it did even if No. 6 Ritchie County had drawn it up.
    The bases were loaded. There were no outs. And by a swing of bad luck a fly ball was dropped in the outfield as two runs came across to score, propelling the Rebels to a 5-4 win over No. 9 North Marion in the final game of the Diamond Dawg Tournament at North Marion High School Saturday.

    April 20, 2014 5 Photos

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Watson tees off a new century at The Greenbrier

    You knew this was going to be one of those unpredictable, memorable days when you drove into the Greenbrier Resort and headed to the Old White Golf Course and found the best parking place in the joint.
    As Bob Uecker would say, right there in the front rooooow.

    April 20, 2014

  • Arrest warrant out for WVU recruit

    West Virginia University’s newest men’s basketball recruit, Tarik Phillip, has an order out for his arrest in North Carolina, according to a story in The Dominion-Post, which said three Gaston County Magistrate office spokespersons confirmed.

    April 20, 2014

  • WVU baseball powers past Oklahoma, 9-5

    The WVU baseball team tied a season high with 18 hits to defeat Oklahoma, 9-5, on Saturday afternoon at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
    The win gives the Mountaineers their second Big 12 series win of the season and improves the overall record to 19-16 and 4-7 in conference play. Oklahoma drops to 25-16 overall and 5-7 in Big 12 play.

    April 20, 2014

  • Blue Jackets edge Pens, 4-3, in double OT

    Matt Calvert banged home a rebound 1:10 into the second overtime and the Columbus Blue Jackets earned the first playoff victory in franchise history with a 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night.

    April 20, 2014

  • Braun homers twice, rallies Brewers over Pirates, 8-7

    Ryan Braun hit two homers, including a two-run shot with two outs in the ninth inning that sent the Milwaukee Brewers over the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-7 Saturday night.
    Braun has five home runs this season after being suspended for the last 65 games of 2013 following Major League Baseball’s investigation into the Biogenesis drug scandal.

    April 20, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Sports
House Ads
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos