Virginia Tech Football Local Traditions
Fans of the Virginia Tech Hokies football team are some of the most passionate, loyal and vocal in all of college football. Blacksburg is a tightknit community that cares deeply about the success of their beloved Hokies football team, and a handful of traditions take place every Saturday during football season. A few of them were created in the last few decades during the team’s rise into a perennially successful national power. Here are the top six Virginia Tech football traditions.
The Lunch Pail
The Virginia Tech lunch pail is a symbol of defensive toughness. The thoroughly worked-over pail looks like it could have been used on a daily basis by a coal miner in the early-1900s. It was actually the creation of defensive coaches who wanted to bring a tangible symbol of the team’s toughness to campus. It can usually be found on the sidelines during home games and in the locker room before and after the affairs. The hand-painted ‘VT’ on the front side of the leather casing further establishes the blue-collar charm of this simple piece.
The football team is very accessible to the tens of thousands of fans that pack Lane Stadium for every home game. One of the biggest testaments to this is the Team Walk, a tradition that takes place beginning about two hours before kickoff. The entire team, coaching staff, dance teams, color guard squad and cheerleading squad are led by the marching band on a short journey from the athletic complex to the home team locker room.
Let’s Go Hokies!
This pregame chant gets everybody in the building wearing Virginia Tech colors or merchandise pumped up and ready for kickoff. While members of groups associated with pregame rituals are on the field conducting their business, opposing sides of the gigantic block-shaped stadium seating sections bellow alternating yells of “Let’s go!” and “Hokies!” The internal competition amidst the crowd perfectly foreshadows the on-field competition.
This tradition involving one of Metallica’s most celebrated songs was born around the turn of the millennium. The University made several improvements to Lane Stadium in the spring of 2000, and additional digital technologies that were unleashed to a thrilled crowd during the home opener included the song Enter Sandman. The reception was amazing, the atmosphere was bonkers and a brand-new tradition was born.
3rd Down Key Shake
Not exactly unique to Blacksburg, but it is a clear demonstration of the football savvy and passion of the fans in attendance at any given game. The entire student section and many in attendance take their keys out of their pockets leading up to every 3rd down play, shaking them vigorously in support of the VT defense and creating a metallic twang designed to disorient the opposing quarterback and unify the fans in attendance.
Skipper the Cannon
Skipper is a beautiful 19th century cannon that would be a local museum if were not given the prized honor of firing off an empty round to commemorate every Virginia Tech touchdown. No scoring drive is complete without a thunderous boom echoing throughout Lane Stadium. Furthermore game night is complete without a trip to a local watering hole for a few strong cocktails. Pk’s Bar & Grill, Big Al’s Grille & Sportsbar and Sharkeys are all within a mile due north of the field.