In 2009, the WVU football team and its fans showed honor and respect to Connecticut when the Huskies came to Milan Puskar Stadium.
In the week leading up to the game in Morgantown, UCONN player Jasper Howard was tragically stabbed to death on campus. It was a horrific moment for Connecticut and the impact was felt around the college football world.
The WVU football team would find itself at the center of this terrible moment because the Huskies were playing their first game following the loss of their teammate, in Morgantown.
Usually, as is the case with any college football program, it’s customary to “boo” the opposing team when they run onto the field. That wasn’t the case in 2009 when the Huskies came to Morgantown. The Mountaineers and the fans in the stand stood and cheered for the Huskies as they ran out of the tunnel and onto the sidelines.
It wasn’t a loud roar, like the homestanding WVU football received, but it was a nice gesture of applause to show the Huskies that the Mountain State stands behind them. Also, thousands of WVU football fans signed a large banner that was presented to the UCONN team. All in all, it was the least West Virginia could do for a team trying to comprehend how to move forward.
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A similar case will be held this weekend when Texas Tech comes to town. Earlier this week, a Texas Tech police officer was shot by a 19-year-old on the Lubbock campus. In today’s world of mass shootings and terrorist attacks, it’s hard to say that anything is a surprise anymore. Still, this was a tragedy that hits home because the Red Raiders are in the Big 12 Conference, along with the WVU football team.
While this horrific act did not directly affect the Texas Tech football team, a respected member of the campus community lost his life from an ac of violence. While the Texas Tech community is in mourning, the Red Raiders must focus on their next football game. It just so happens that they will be playing the WVU football team in Morgantown for homecoming.
The current West Virginia student body and fanbase should take a note from the crowd in 2009 by not booing the Red Raiders on Saturday. Rather, all those in attendance, who will be striping the stadium, should stand and lightly clap to honor the team as they run out to start the game.
It is a simple gesture that may not gain national headlines, but it will show Texas Tech and the Big 12 that while the Mountaineers may be foes in a game sense, we are all together to stand against violence.