To honor Lewis Grizzard I thought I would publish a story I wrote in 2011 that’s written in his style.
Rocker Joan Jett might not give a damn about her bad reputation, but WVU surely does.
Mountaineer fans are well known for their rowdy behavior. Tales of our shenanigans populate message boards across the land painting a picture of gameday Morgantown as a savage wasteland where anything goes and visiting fans tremble in fear.
In this mythical Morgantown, fans from opposing teams are forced to run the gauntlet of the Blue Lot, risking verbal assault and drunken slurs as they fight their way to the visitor’s section inside Mountaineer Field. Once seated these bastions of civility from far-flung places like Pittsburgh and Louisville find themselves surrounded by beer-swilling, musket waving, Trump loving, Mountaineer fans who stare them down with eyes gleaming with murderous intent.
The stereotype is far from accurate, yet the myth of a wild and woolly Morgantown isn’t wholly undeserved. Mountaineer fans are known for being the rowdiest, loudest, disproportionately fired-up bunch of frenzied fanatics in the Big East.
Warranted or not, our reputation as a disorderly fanbase sometimes harms WVU. It was one of the arguments Louisville used to lobby the Big 12 they were a better choice than West Virginia. Frank Beamer cited WVU’s fans as the primary reason why Virginia Tech refused to schedule WVU.
I’ve always tried to be a good representative of the Mountaineer fans base. I’ve done my best to be courteous to fans of the visiting team no matter the outcome of the game.
I’ve urged others join me in being the “12th man” at Mountaineer Field, I’ve pleaded with my fellow Mountaineers to cheer on the old gold-n-blue with vim and vigor all the while showing respect and civility to our visitors. I’ve defended our honor on message boards and testified to all who would listen how we, as Mountaineer fans, have cleaned up our act.
But on Saturday afternoon, with less than a minute left in the game, I failed.
I drooped the dreaded F-Bomb.
To be honest, it was more like an F-Cruise missile aimed straight at the Cardinal mascot as he celebrated another Louisville touchdown.
I have no excuse. My frustration at the Mountaineers gift-wrapping 17 points to the insufferable Cardinals is no excuse. Witnessing two 12 yard punts, a missed FG, and a blocked FG attempt returned for a touchdown can’t excuse my behavior.
It happened so quickly. Louisville scored a late touchdown to move their lead to 10 points. The Cardinal mascot, in celebration of the score, sauntered into the end zone and began to preen. He paused, looked straight at me, and as impossible as it sounds, an unmistakable smirk formed on his foam beak.
The smirk pushed me over the top. Without thinking, I loosed an F-Bomb aimed straight at the damn bird’s heart.
And just like a Tyler Bittencourt FG attempt, my hate-arrow sailed wide-left. The Cardinal, seeing my invective miss the target, pranced to safety behind the Louisville cheerleaders.
I was climbing out of my seat to go after the scarlet chicken with the smarmy smirking beak and pluck his cowardly feathers from his avian body feather by feather when my wife, mortified by my behavior, let me have it with a world-class guilt bomb. Her bomb hit its mark.
I know what I had done was wrong. I could see the children in our section, but I attempted to save face and tried to mount a defense as weak as a Mountaineer punt. “If that’s the first time those kids have heard that word they better grow-the-hell-up and stop being such babies,” I said.
My wife gave me a look that let me know I was quickly burning the couch I would be sleeping on that night.
She was right — I was perpetuating the stereotype. I had failed, just like the Mountaineers, I handed the cardinal a victory.
I’m sorry Mountaineer Nation. I let you down on Saturday. I promise to be better in the future.
But #$&! that damn bird.