Once a Mountaineer, Always a Mountaineer

I know I talk a lot about football on here - and for those of you who could care less about football, despite my lessons, I appreciate your coming back for when it's not about football.

And while today's today's title might sound like it's about football it's about something more.

Yesterday, I wrote about Pat White's injury during the Miami Dolphins - Pittsburgh Steelers game in Miami.  Praise God because it appears that Pat is going to be just fine; he suffered a mild concussion.

But today, I want to write about something more.

There are all kinds of families out there.  And a person's college or university friends become an extended family quite often.  Even, fellow alumni of a person's college or university become family.  Just ask those who went to Virginia Tech.

Well, West Virginia University is no different in some aspect.  We are a Mountaineer Family.  When Chris Henry died just before Christmas, our hearts were broken.  When Jerry West (the NBA logo was created from his image) comes home to Morgantown, the whole town swells with pride.

And when Pat White lay motionless on the side of a football field, all of the Mountaineer Family gasped and prayed for him.

And those of us who are Steeler Fans quit caring whether or not the Steelers made the playoffs.

One of our own was down.  And football is just a game.

For those of you who grew up in a large city, such fierce loyalty to a college may seem silly - I mean there are professional teams to be concerned with.  And for those of you who grew up in a family pulling for a well-known college, such fierce loyalty to WVU may seem silly - we certainly aren't Florida, or Texas, or Oklahoma, or Tennessee, or any other of a number of well-known schools.

But West Virginia University is THE state University in West Virginia.  And if you grow up in West Virginia, you grow up knowing and loving the Mountaineers.  Even if you live closer to Marshall University, so long as the two teams are not on the same field, you pull for the gold and blue.

Being a Mountaineer is bigger than attending West Virginia University.  It's about living in West Virginia, the Mountain State.  It's about explaining to people who think Richmond is our capital, that no, we are in fact our own state, with our own capital. It's about explaining that it really is West Virginia, not just western Virginia.  That we wear shoes, have indoor plumbing, and don't marry our cousins.  It's learning to love this small-in-size state that usually falls near the bottom of all the good lists and the top of all the bad lists.

And Pat White exemplified what being a Mountaineer was all about.  After his final game in gold and blue, when speaking about his time at WVU, he said "Once a Mountaineer, Always a Mountaineer".

And in that one sentence, he said it all.  Whether you live in West Virginia for a day or a lifetime, if you truly take a moment to absorb what being a Mountaineer is all about, you get it.  And are Always a Mountaineer.

The video clip is a promotional video for WVU, but the part of Pat White saying "Once a Mountaineer, Always a Mountaineer" is just 12-13 seconds in.


  1. Even with the detest we hold on the football field, I don't think anyone in the WVU family will ever forget where they were that day at Tech.

    I turned to the game just 1 play before the hit. I dropped my sock and it was all I could do not to cry (surprising, for those that know me ;) ). I just sat there with my mouth gaping wide. Then the smile, and hearts lifted.

    Major concussion they are saying, and last night he complained of headaches, but prognosis is good and that's what matters.

    Lovely post as usual , my dear.

  2. I know what you mean. In our family, we're Jayhawks...and that's the way we feel about our teams, too. I follow Jayhawks who go onto the pros as if they are still Jayhawks (because they are...)

    Nice post. I hope and pray Pat White recovers fully.

  3. I know exactly what you mean.

    I think this kind of family feeling is what got the Hokies through that awful awful time. To know that we are all over the world, all in the same kind of pain, somehow helped. And to know that our "enemies" were feeling it too? Well that was amazing.

    We still follow the Hokie players as they head to the NFL. After all, once a Hokie, always a Hokie. :)

  4. Nice post. Watching Pat lie motionless on the ground was extremely difficult for me.

    Until I saw his smiling face as he was carted off the field, I was miserable.

    That dude is the essence of "once a Mountaineer, always a Mountaineer."

    Good call by you!

  5. Nice post. I'm from a big city with all of the pro sports and multiple college loyalties, so my stint in WV was a little weird in the sense that everyone there rooted vociferously for the same team. You explain the sentiments so well.

  6. Thanks for commenting on my blog! And it's a small world, I attended WVU for a semester a few years ago (attending a graduate program that was not meant to be) and I agree, once and Mountaineer always a Mountaineer! But I'm glad it no long takes me an hour to do my five minute drive home to Stewartstown Rd on game days!

  7. It will be great to watch West Virginia Mountaineers, i have bought tickets from
    http://ticketfront.com/event/West_Virginia_Mountaineers-tickets looking forward to it.