Family Fanatics

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The Hokie Bird, the bride and groom, and the Lane Stadium cake… all in a building designed by Thomas Jefferson!

If you have looked through our wedding pictures, you will see that our family is crazy about one sports team in particular: the Virginia Tech Hokies. Our family might actually be Hokie fanatics. This post is inspired by Fanatics.com, an online retailer of all things sports – baseball hats, jerseys, and tons of Hokie gear to cheer properly!

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Our groom’s cake: a replica of Lane Stadium.

I will admit that it wasn’t always that way. Growing up in Charlottesville, VA, I was a huge Virginia Cavaliers fan. I was a Ball Girl for the basketball team, I did the kids clubs to meet and become pen pals with the players, I had my UVA cheerleading outfit on, and I went to the football games with my dad. He was grooming me to be a Wahoo, which was totally normal in Charlottesville. So, because I loved UVA, I had a severe hatred for Hokies.

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Although I don’t condone graffiti, this was a rather clever trick for the UVA stadium right before the UVA vs VT game.

Our senior year of high school, my best friend Kim (who was a huge VT fan) and I would have disagreements (fights?) about which was the better school. I was stuck up and looked down my nose at Virginia Tech.

Then I started dating Tim, whose parents both went to Tech and who would be attending their Engineering School in the fall. I went down to the Spring Game with him and his family.

I fell in love…

with Virginia Tech…

(and Tim).

I loved the architecture, the Hokie Stones, the stadium, the electricity in the air, and the FOOTBALL! I was a drama kid. I hadn’t gone to a football game in forever and a day. But I got hooked. It was a rainy, cold day. I should have been miserable. I wasn’t. I bought the only sweatshirt that was in the bookstore: an oversized (XL), overpriced navy blue hoodie (and I wore that thing for years later).

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The infamous oversized sweatshirt on our high school senior trip.

There was just one problem… I had committed to going to Vanderbilt University for college.

So, I went there my first year, planning to major in theatre. I met wonderful people and had amazing experiences in the drama department. I even made it to one football game (although we were in the SEC, we were awful that year). It wasn’t like Tech. I transferred to become a Hokie after that year.

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Tim and his friends arriving at the first tailgate of our freshman year. Although I wasn’t there, this picture hung up in my dorm room in Vanderbilt all year.

At Virginia Tech, I felt like I was home. I went to every single home football game, even begging my parents to leave our vacation in Alabama early one year so I could make it back for a home game. We tailgated with Tim’s family every single Saturday, making the trek across the entire campus to the stadium in all kinds of weather. We stood up the entire game, because that’s what students do. We jumped to Enter Sandman as the football team entered the field. We loved every minute.

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Sophomore year and incredible student season tickets

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The Hokie Bird crowd surfing right by us

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Excited to go to a game!

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Enjoying the excitement when College Game Day came to town.

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The sign read, “Beamerball The Best There Is”

Our senior year was when the shooting happened (you can read about my experience on this post). Although our lives had changed, our love for our school had not. It only grew stronger.

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On April 17, we gathered in Lane Stadium to mourn together.

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The makeshift memorials started popping up after April 16

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We took comfort in each other, not the media.

That next fall, I enrolled at UVA’s Curry School of Education to get my Master’s degree in Elementary Education. I still wore my Virginia Tech gear (proudly) on the UVA grounds, especially if we had a Thursday night game. I didn’t care. I was a Hokie now, through and through.

When we got engaged and started planning our wedding, I knew that I wanted to do two things for Tim: get the Hokie Bird to surprise him and his family and get a groom’s cake of Lane Stadium. I was able to pull off both surprises for him (and his whole family), and they are still some of the best money we spent on the wedding.

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What a surprise!

(By the way, it turns out that hiring the mascot of your college team is not that difficult! Just contact the athletic office, let them know what you want, and they will get you in touch with the right people. The only caveat was that the Hokie couldn’t already be committed to another engagement (public visit, sports game, etc.). It cost us just $200 + gas for the Hokie Bird to travel from Blacksburg to Charlottesville, and every single penny went towards the student who came to the wedding. As the old credit card commercial says… priceless!)

Our first dance was supposed to be to What a Wonderful World, but it ended up being the Hokie Pokie!

Our first dance was supposed to be to What a Wonderful World, but it ended up being the Hokie Pokie!

Virginia Tech sports (and mostly football) has been such a huge part of our lives. It’s more than just a game. It’s something that we can do together with our extended family. Even for the family members that aren’t fans of the game itself, we can simply be together during the tailgates… and what tailgates they are! Combining efforts with 3 families, food to feed an army (of college students), a dozen chairs, and a few coolers… Tailgating with the Doyles has become second nature- everyone knows what to bring, how to pack, and when to arrive. The only thing up in the air is if we will win the game or not.

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Lucy’s first tailgate, mere days after we brought her home.

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Celebrating the newly-engaged (now married) couple!

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A surprise cake for us and another couple who welcomed their second daughter… all at the tailgate.

Now that Audrey and David are here, they will hopefully make it to their first tailgate and football game this fall. I have already picked out their outfits (a cheerleading dress for Audrey and a football jersey onesie for David), and they already know how to jump during Enter Sandman (they were practicing that while I was still pregnant with them last fall). We will be able to start the whole new generation of Virginia Tech fans with the twins, being complete fanatics over their team, their school, and their family.

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The only way we could get my dad in a Virginia Tech sweatshirt was for him to wear the navy (UVA colors) oversized sweatshirt!

When I first became a Hokie, I started noticing tons of Virginia Tech gear all over the place. Every time I spotted someone else with a maroon or orange VT, I would say “Go Hokies!” These strangers didn’t care. They would shout it right back with a smile and a fist pump. Strangers no more… that’s the way that this school just brings people together.

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I still love my big brother, even if he is a Wahoo!

Disclaimer: I did not receive compensation for this post, and all thoughts are my own.

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Comments

  1. Yes! Love this. We bleed orange and maroon, too. Living in big 10 land we have a full time job just combating the Ohio State hysteria, but so far we’re managing!

    By the way, I absolutely loved that you had the Hokie bird at your wedding reception! That was so neat, and I love telling that story to people, especially non Hokies. They just don’t understand 😉

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