Cheer on Spiders, Rams

Published 8:55 am Wednesday, March 23, 2011

We live in the land of Hokies and Hoos, a place where everyone chooses sides and rarely are allegiances split.

On which side does your heart lie? Is it with the maroon and orange or the orange and blue? Bimbo Coles and Dell Curry or Bryant Stith and Ralph Sampson? Is it in Blacksburg or Charlottesville?

Western Tidewater is chock full of alumni and fans that claim Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia as their own. A favorite pastime includes equal parts rooting for their favorite to win and for the other to lose.

These two schools and their fans do more than dominate the college sports discussion in Virginia. They claim it as their birthright. And while we gladly celebrate the athletic successes of our home state schools, the majority of us, having hung diplomas that come from institutions other than VPI or UVA, patiently wait for the opportunity to see the name of our alma maters up in lights on a national stage.

And so we cheer for the stunning and unlikely success shared this March by the University of Richmond and Virginia Commonwealth University. We celebrate their joint berth in this year’s Sweet Sixteen, their fans’ opportunity to revel in the national spotlight, and for the fact that, at least for a few more days anyway, we get to ask if you’re pulling for the Spiders or the Rams. Red and blue or black and gold? Johnny Newman or Eric Maynor? Richmond or…Richmond?