The University of Virginia in Charlottesville exudes charm. This colonnaded campus has come a long way since its founding by Thomas Jefferson in 1819. Scott Stadium provides an ideal example of the intertwining of classic and urban. The regal white columns that embrace the north side of the stadium blend artfully with the concrete grandstands that soar to the sky. It’s an exemplar of collegiate beauty.
Widely known as the Cavaliers, Virginia fans will refer to themselves and the team as Wahoos or Hoos. In the 1890s Virginia was labeled “wahoos” by their instate baseball rival, Washington and Lee. They earned this moniker for their wild and raucous behavior. By the 1940s, the use of Wahoos became common on campus and is often shortened to Hoos.
The Wahoo Walk encourages all fans to line up outside Scott Stadium to welcome the team through a pathway of cheerleaders and marching band pep. The Cavman struts his mascot swagger and delights the crowd with photo opportunities and zany antics. He is an adored figure at UVA.
Once inside the stadium, the team’s entrance onto the field ensnares the attention of all onlooking Hoos as another cavalier dressed in swashbuckling regalia explodes from the tunnel on horseback as the football team enthusiastically charges in tow. This Cavalier made its first ride at a UVA football game in 1947. The horse and rider intermittently appeared over the years until 1989 when the tradition firmly clasped itself to Virginia gamedays. Along with her flamboyant entrance, the cavalier ventures to each corner of the stadium slicing the air with her sword to rev up the orange and blue.
Fight songs and alma maters are tradition at every school. But, UVA adds a pronounced modification. After a score by the Hoos, the Cavalier Marching Band plays “The Good Old Song.” It is Virginia’s unofficial alma mater sung to the tune of “Auld Lang Syne.” Fans sway arm in arm to this familiar New Year’s tune belting out every lyric and finishing with a resounding “UVA!” It’s a tradition that literally joins this fanbase together in a beautiful moment of unity.
“The Good Old Song” is a large part of why Virginia calls themselves “The Home of the 4th Side.” Similar to Texas A&M’s 12th man, the 4th side refers to the potency of the fans’ involvement in Virginia’s team success. Football is understood to have three sides – offense, defense, and special teams. The Wahoos in the stands complete the fourth side, which is considered as fundamental as the other three.
Charlottesville is home to many significant championships in sports. Football does not lead in this category, but the championship intensity bleeds into Scott Stadium on Saturdays. The energy is thunderous, and the Wahoo spirit clings to those who consume gameday in Charlottesville.