Crossing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel brings you to Norfolk, Virginia, home of the Old Dominion Monarchs. The Commonwealth of Virginia is known as “The Old Dominion” because it was the original colony and first dominion of England. In those early days of the New World, King Charles II coined this nickname because of Virginia’s loyalty to the crown during the English Civil War. Of course, that would change in the years ahead, but the name “Old Dominion” still stands as a time capsule of these early colonial days. The irony is that Old Dominion is one of the newest dominions on the terrain of college football having just established a team in 2009.
Old Dominion was founded in 1930 and actually fielded a football team from the school’s inception until 1940. However, it was discontinued. The Monarchs were reestablished as an FCS member in 2009 and rapidly ascended to the FBS in 2013. They have quickly made their mark with successes on the field and the sparklingly renovated S.B. Ballard Stadium. The updates to this venue that opened in 1936 maintained much of its history while modernizing with sharp amenities including updated suites and club seating.
Big Blue serves as the crowned lion mascot that strolls the sidelines at sporting events in Norfolk. It’s a nod to the monarch moniker of the school. Big Blue presented as more ferocious when he emerged in 1971 compared to the more gentle and approachable appearance of today’s lion. A bronze statue of Big Blue’s likeness rests on campus providing an opportunity to acquire good luck by rubbing his belly. He is an integral component to the “reign on” spirit at Old Dominion.
The fanatics that populate S.B. Ballard Stadium showcase extraordinary levels of enthusiasm and involvement. The Monarch Marching Band provides undeniable evidence of exuberance with a cheerfully pulsating sound enhanced by a coordinated spirit squad with jaunty choreography. The pageantry has always been here – now its able to rumble through the stands of a football arena.
“Ice Cream and Cake” is one of the more unique traditions that has developed in recent years. Discovered by the ODU Dance Team during a cheerleading camp, this Buckwheat Boyz dance tune made its debut on campus in 2005 at a basketball game. While Monarch fans hesitated to embrace it at first, “Ice Cream and Cake” has quickly become as iconic to Old Dominion as “Jump Around” is to Wisconsin. Fans wildly dance in synchronized moves to the punchy sounds of this quirky song, and it now has become seared into the culture of gameday.
Monarch football has been an easy sell at this institution where the roots of loyal support are deep. Football Saturdays are passion packed inside S.B Ballard Stadium as the Norfolk community supports their team. Old Dominion is a shining jewel in the crown of FBS football as they look to continue to “reign on.”