Before I jump into what it’s like to be a Hokie, Let me explain what a Hokie is. The word hoki was made up in 1896 in a contest when a student came up with a cheer for our newly renamed school, Virginia Polytechnic Institute. The cheer has had a few minor changes over the years, including the spelling of the word hoki, but it has remained a staple at our school.
So if Hokie is a made up word, why does our mascot resemble a turkey? In the early 1900’s the football team became known as the fighting gobblers, but at this point it’s hard to tell what is legend and what is truth. The only thing that is known for sure is that a fan brought his gobbler to games in the early 1900’s and paraded him up and down the field. Over the years our mascot has changed from a gobbler to the cuddly, huggable Hokie Bird we all love.
Now that you know a little of the “history” of how the Hokies came to be, let me answer Eli’s question posed to me, “What’s it really like to be a Hokie?” That’s easy, “It’s the most amazing thing in the world!” Oops, sorry Eli. So you want more than that? Let me elaborate.
Being a Hokie is…
Having your heart dance when you get to Exit 118 on Interstate 81,
and knowing you’re almost home.
Knowing you look like a million bucks wearing maroon and orange,
and daring anyone to suggest otherwise.
Having pride knowing that young Hokies
are working hard to Invent the Future.
Meeting fellow Hokie runners at 5 AM on the Huckleberry Trail for a run
before setting up your tailgate,
so you can hang out for at least three hours before kickoff.
Owning an 8-foot tall inflatable Hokie Bird,
and searching for a second one for your friend to buy,
because you can never have too many 8-foot tall Hokie Birds at your tailgate!
Connecting with old college friends that know way too much about you,
and being nervous introducing them to your children.
Spending Saturday afternoons jumping in Lane Stadium to Enter Sandman
with 66,000 of your closest friends!
Visiting the Duck Pond,
and remembering making out with your boyfriend (now husband) there.
Knowing Bud Foster would make an amazing head coach at another university,
but being thankful he’s happy staying as our assistant football coach.
Feeling proud knowing
that your fellow Hokies are serving our country.
Proudly knowing that job recruiters rank Virginia Tech graduates
among the most desirable employees.
Having a Hokie Stone bar in your basement,
because it makes your parties more fun and your drinks taste better.
Knowing that Hokie alum all around our country
are active in their local alumni chapters.
Running in the 3.2 Mile Run In Remembrance,
and remembering 32 fallen Hokies.
“Putting your right hand in, and your right hand out, your right hand in,
and shaking it all about” while dancing to the Hokey Pokey
at the beginning of the fourth quarter at home football games.
Finding time to hike to the Cascades, Dragon’s Tooth, or Angel’s Rest
when you’re in Blacksburg.
Getting your picture taken in front of the Virginia Tech flag at TOTS.
Knowing that the only correct answer to, “LET’S GO!!!” is “HOKIES!!!”
Getting tossed in the air after a touchdown.
Volunteering in your local community,
and being a part of VT Engage.
But most importantly, being a Hokie is something that can’t be seen,
it’s the spirit within us…
It’s showing Hokie Respect.
It’s having an instant connection to all other Virginia Tech alumni
and being a part of Hokie Nation.
It’s living the Virginia Tech motto: Ut Prosim – “That I may serve”
It’s a sense of community.
We Are Virginia Tech!
- What are your favorite traditions from your alma mater?
- What are some of your best memories from your college days?