Keepers
By Jim Alderson, 1/11/00

Well, we didn't quite make it. On that night, Florida $tate was indeed the better team. But we were there and competed, and competed well. Every other I-A team in the country, save one, would have traded places with us.

God knows I wanted to win, but I really don't get all that upset after losses anymore. While I have never seen us drop a game of this magnitude, I have seen Tech lose before, and, unless you're one of those bandwagon fans new to the team, you have, too. It happens. I have a sneaking suspicion that this will not be the last time we will ever play for the MNC, and perhaps our day will come.

Rather than dwell on the what-ifs and minutia of the Sugar Bowl, I prefer to view the 1999 Virginia Tech football season in its entirety. There was joy and memories that a bowl loss cannot and will not erase. Among them:

Watching fifty-two thousand people all jump up the first time Vick took off. Hello, greatness.

The national media getting a clue.

Talking to some UAB fans the morning of that game and hearing them say, "We sure were glad you stuck it to Bama." You're welcome.

Riding up 220 on the Thursday of the Clemson game and noticing people working. What is this, a weekday or something? Don't they know there's a game tonight?

Corey Moore taking over the Clemson game.

All of those 'What is a Hokie?' questions. I do believe they now know.

George going for his nose as he walked off the field at the half with the score 28-7. Gotcha.

Listening to a hoo fan whine, "The only reason you beat us is those 28 First Half points." Right you are, dude.

Observing as first a state and then a nation discovered what we knew all along.

Frank. Hats off to the best coach around.

The staff. Ditto.

Laughing at the Rutgers uniforms. If we had to wear that miserable combination of colors, I bet we would lose, too.

Michael Vick hitting Andre Davis in stride. I wish I could do that, from either end.

My aborted plan to steal the Sears Trophy. Hey, it would have worked.

Sitting [standing, actually] in Lane Stadium and watching Lee Corso don the head of our old Hokie Bird mascot and peck the head of Kirk Herbstreit. You don't see that every day.

The Syracuse game. It's not often you get to watch a team RUTS itself.

Frank's expression as the television cameras caught him after Shayne's kick beat WVU. How do you spell relief, Frank?

Shyrone Stith bowling over would-be tacklers. Thanks, Mike Gentry.

The Miami tailgate. Eight hours of food, cigars and strong drink was just about the perfect day. The night was even better.

All the other tailgates. It is when I am in my element.

That huge crowd outside the stadium before the Miami game.

11-0. It was great. So what if we might not have done it in the SEC or Big 11. We're not in either of those leagues, so until they invite us they can just shut up about it.

Corey Moore on the field instead of in front of a television camera.

The capacity of this team to go for the jugular. Jungle cats could learn a lesson or two.

Anytime Ike Charlton was on the field. What an athlete.

Night games. Man, I love them, and for reasons other than the long tailgates. Lane Stadium flat rocks after the sun goes down.

The fireworks. They should be at every game, even if it means playing all games at night.

Sports Illustrated. Finally, a reason to read one other than the swimsuit issues.

Ricky Hall breaking the Miami game open with that punt return.

Collecting from my friend and Miami alumnus Rondo a bottle of Cuervo 1800, the stakes of our annual bet on the game.

Watching the East Stands erupt from across the field.

Actually seeing people in the stands at Temple, and knowing who they were and why they were there.

The seniors. Thanks for the memories, guys.

The freshmen. There will indeed be new memories.

Standing in the stadium watching the clock tick off the BC seconds and knowing we did it. What a feeling.

The fans storming Worsham Field and the goal posts coming down on the 11-0. See above.

Queen's 'We are the Champions.' Yes we were.

Remembering, in time, a valuable French Quarter lesson learned in 95: The best-looking hookers are not women.

The perfect regular season. It really was quite fun. All of those who spent the season engaging in fits of jealousy should try it some time. If you can.

Virginia Tech football. It rules.

          

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