September 7, 1996... that's when it started. I was a freshman at WVU and little did I know that a 34-9 Mountaineer win against Western Michigan would mark the beginning of something that would end eleven years later. That's right, I attended every single home game at Mountaineer Field from September 7, 1996 to November 25, 2006. That's 68 WVU home games in a row. Nearly eleven complete seasons. Slightly disgusting, right?
There were highs and lows. Some of the highs were really high like WVU's 2003 28-7 victory over the #3 ranked Virginia Tech Hokies. That party lasted all day and night. Then there were the lows... like the Mountaineers' 10-7 loss to the Miami Hurricanes in 1996. Miami blocked a WVU punt and ran it in for a touchdown with less than a minute remaining in the fourth quarter. It took me a month to recover from that one.
Rain (2003 Cincinnati), snow (1996 Syracuse), cold (2005 Pitt) or heat (1998 Ohio State), it didn't matter. If they played the game, I was there. I changed work schedules. I bribed bosses. I missed classes (darn those Thursday night games). I missed birthday parties and anniversaries. I even missed Thanksgivings. That's a pretty big deal because I really like food. WVU football came first, though. I was ruthless..
I'm not even counting away games and bowl games. There were 3 trips to Maryland, 2 trips to Cincinnati, one trip to Pitt, one trip to East Carolina, one trip to Virginia Tech. There was one Music City Bowl, 2 Gator Bowls and one Sugar Bowl. That makes 80 games in eleven years. God, what a whack job.
So that brings me to the point of this post. I've missed 5 games over the last three seasons. The first two were due to VERY close friend's weddings. The last three have all come this year. I could have gone to all three if I really wanted. That's right. I chose not to attend these three games. I wasn't sick. I wasn't busy... nothin'. I just didn't care if I went or not.
Why don't I care this year? I can't put my finger on it. I've been through bad seasons before. Two hour drives are nothing. I've had low expectations in the past. I've gotten pumped up for Kent State, Tulsa, Idaho and Miami of Ohio... USF, UCONN and Louisville are better than them. What the heck is my deal? The following equation helped me figure it out:
Me = Old
What can I say? Sometimes I enjoy being at home with my wife and two cats more than attending football games.
I hear jaws dropping at 653 Gifford, the Gladesville Road and in Marysville, Ohio. I know... it surprised me, too.