Lane Stadium rests in southwest Virginia and rises high into the Blue Ridge Mountain air. There are few places more welcoming than Blacksburg, where a spirited fan base spills over with pride for their Hokies. However, a welcoming group of fans doesn’t dilute the intimidation that courses through Lane Stadium. Passion pulsates throughout gameday making Virginia Tech one of the best atmospheres in college football.
Pregame fanfare begins with the Hokie Walk. Virginia Tech enthusiasts line up ready to welcome their Hokies into Lane Stadium. Led by the Virginia Tech Regimental Band (The Highty Tighties), the cheerleading squad, and the Hokie Bird, everyone gets an opportunity to witness the gameday atmosphere up close. The entire experience elevates the anticipation meter.
Once inside Lane Stadium, be ready to participate in one of the most thrilling entrances in college football. Enter Sandman is turned up, and the Hokies turn it out. As this Metallica classic blasts, the bounce begins. Every orange-and-maroon clad fan jumps in unison shaking the structure as Virginia Tech emerges from the tunnel. The hype is real. There are few better ways to get a party started.
After spending some time on campus, you might begin to wonder, “What exactly is a Hokie?” It originated as an imaginative term from a spirit cheer written in the late 19th century entitled, “Old Hokie.” Over time, it has come to simply mean, “a loyal Virginia Tech fan.”
But, before they were officially the Hokies, Virginia Tech was known as the Gobblers. Their representatives on the sideline included live turkeys trained to do stunts. In 1962, a turkey mascot was designed, but eventually, the Gobbler name lost popularity. The Hokie name was later revived from that old spirit cheer, and in the 1980s, the HokieBird emerged and has become a symbol of power and strength ever since.
Nothing quite embodies the strength and unity of Virginia Tech fans much like the War Memorial Chapel and the April 16 Memorial. Both located near each other around the expansive Drillfield, each tribute remembers Hokies lost. Outside the War Memorial Chapel rises 8 pylons inscribed with the names of Virginia Tech alumni who died during military service. The April 16 Memorial honors the 32 lives lost during the tragic shooting that shocked the nation. Both are breathtaking tributes, and both symbolize the extraordinary spirit at Virginia Tech.
That beautiful spirit is carried through each Hokie and is evident in the fans that swarm into Lane Stadium on gameday. There is perfect blend of intensity and togetherness which is rather difficult to put into words – perhaps that it why a new word had to be penned in order to define the Virginia Tech faithful – “Hokie.”