“The Miracle on Dirt”

Really loved this little documentary on Virginia Tech softball’s no hitter over Team USA. Amazing numbers from that article:

It was the American team’s first loss in a pre-Olympic exhibition since May 3, 1996. During that span, the U.S. team outscored opponents 1,475–24.

Angela Tincher is one of VT’s greatest athletes (and she should have been pitching for Team USA …). I remember following the team intensely that season.

Proud to be a Hokie

99% of the time when I talk about being an alumnus of Virginia Tech, it’s in reference to our football (loving the Coach Fuente era so far) or basketball (Buzzketball!).

Virginia Tech, however, has been been making huge strides in becoming a nationally influential university. I’m lucky that a lot of this started 20 years ago when I was in Blacksburg, under the leadership of Paul Torgersen, through Charles Steger, and now with Timothy Sands. I really do feel lucky to have attended Tech during this time of transition.

I couldn’t be more proud when I read about VT’s impact on the Flint water crisis. It’s something I already knew on the periphery, but reading the details made me feel that much more proud to be an alumnus.

Speaking in the Quillen auditorium, Roy described a call he had received from a woman who was in tears because she had given her children and grandchildren tap water. “She told me she poisoned her kids,” Roy said. “It wasn’t her fault. But a mother’s heart could never accept that. She thanked all of us for what we did. This is why we spent the last six months of our life pulling all-nighters, pulling weekends together, because we cared. And it changed who we are as human beings.”

Frank Beamer

Saturday was Frank Beamer’s last home game as coach of the Hokies. It’s probably time (and may even be a little past time), but it’s never easy to see someone leave who has been a part of your life for 20 years.

It really has been 20 years.


I’ve written about Tech a lot. I wrote about it after the tragedy that struck on April 16th, 2007, and included a bit of how I ended up at Tech. 8 years later, I think I’ve actually pieced together how I ended up there.

It really does start twenty years ago, with a college trip that I went out with my friend and his dad, as we were juniors in high school. He took us on a trip down the east coast visiting a bunch of schools. In hindsight, I’m pretty sure we ventured through Blacksburg and toured the campus, and like most of the schools we visited, I probably signed up for something.

A few weeks later I got a video and an application. Five years later, I graduated from Tech.

How does this relate to Frank Beamer?

Well, I’ve always been a huge sports fan. That year was VT’s coming out. Virginia Tech, who’d never really beaten anyone, was playing Texas in the Sugar Bowl. This was my first real exposure to Tech. I remember watching the game in my friend’s kitchen, wearing my newly minted Tech hat. Frank Beamer’s Hokies playing solid defense and special teams, and doing enough on offense to win. They were less talented, less highly recruited, but they outgutted and outplayed Texas and put themselves on the map.

I then attended VT from 1996–2000, watching the Hokies break records, go undefeated, beat ranked teams, make College Gameday into a thing, and go to the National Championship game. The Hokies always had an identity. They were gritty, hard nosed players. They were walk ons. They got dirty.

They were Frank Beamer.

The Hokies were Beamer and Beamer was the Hokies. Frank Beamer, to many people, is the Hokies. He’s who they think of when they think of Virginia Tech. Every Tech game I’ve seen, in my life, has been coached by Frank Beamer. Football has been a huge connection back to Tech, and Frank Beamer has always been part of that.

Members of my extended in-law family live in Blacksburg and talk glowingly about Beamer. Not as a coach. As a person. As someone who frequents the businesses around Blacksburg, and someone who is part of the community. Not in a fake way. During the offseason, he’s just a guy who lives in Blacksburg.[1]

I’m not sure there’s a lot of 70 year olds who can make it in the current college football landscape. Frank Beamer kept the Hokies relevant and on the map for almost 25 years. Judging by the comments of his current and former players, he’s had an impact on the players going through his system for just as long.

And he’s been the single bit of connective tissue between me and Virginia Tech for the last 20 years.

  1. And has been a huge part of making Blacksburg a much bigger place than it had been previously.  ↩

Hokie Football, circa 2013

As I mentioned in my previous post, I took a trip to Blacksburg to see my Hokies play. I hadn’t been to Lane Stadium in 5 or 6 years, and I had never sat on the alumni side.

Setting aside the quality of play, the absolutely drenching rain, and the fact that I missed seeing “Enter Sandman”, it was a pretty awesome trip. I snapped a few pictures from our seats using my new iPhone (the 5s).

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The Drillfield on a rainy, rainy day

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Lane Stadium, from the West Stands

A Trip to Blacksburg (or Can I Work on an iPad?)

I took a trip to Blacksburg last weekend to see some friends and check out a VT game. It was my first time back in over 5 years, but I knew it was going to be a short weekend. Fly in on Friday night, hang out all day Saturday, then fly back out on Sunday morning. With such a short window, I didn't want to bring a lot with me. The big question: iPad or laptop.

I decided that I would be able to make it over a weekend with just the iPad and a keyboard. I have a VPN client and a couple of ssh apps; in a pinch, I could hop online and get some work done.

And, wouldn't you know it, first thing Saturday morning, some scripts didn't finish and needed to get checked out. With Prompt 1 and the Apple Bluetooth keyboard, I made quick work of it.

This got me thinking about whether or not I could do most of my job on an iPad with a keyboard. My job, these days, is a lot of email, web apps, and a little bit of programming. All very very possible on the iPad. The only thing that I think might not be convenient on the iPad is our jabber/IM setup. We have a pretty massive contact list and I have yet to find an app that handles it well.

But, my experience last weekend, combined with iOS 7 (background apps), makes me thinks it might be worth a shot one day to just grab a keyboard and my iPad and see how effective I can be.

In that vein, I've been typing this in Editorial 2 – on the built-in soft keyboard on they iPad. Not my fastest typing, but it's manageable. And, if all goes well, this will get posted directly out of Editorial, using one of the workflows that's available on Editorial's workflow site.

If it doesn't go well, it's very likely to be my fault setting up the WordPress workflow in Editorial. 3

  1. Prompt on the App Store 

  2. My post on Editorial 

  3. Though, in my defense, that's something that's not terribly straightforward. It might take me a try or two.  

The Reallllllly Magic Scenario

Almost everything that needed to happen to get Virginia Tech into the BCS Championship game happened.

Except one thing.

Auburn lost to Alabama.

Which kinda blows the whole thing up. Sure, Clemson losing twice didn’t help, but it wasn’t killer. And it would have been helpful for Notre Dame to beat Stanford.

But none of those were killer. Those were all nice to haves.

The must have was Auburn defeating Alabama. And it didn’t happen, leaving my Hokies’ chances of a BCS title bid much, much, much thinner.

They are, however, non-zero.

First, the Hokies need to take care of business and defeat Clemson to lock up the ACC Championship. Oklahoma needs to show some pride and beat Oklahoma State for the Big 12 title.

Those two events should move Virginia Tech into 3rd in the BCS standings. It’s not definite—but that would be likely. Then we need some voter angst. Not wanting to pit Alabama, who didn’t even win their division, in a rematch against LSU for the title. Maybe Georgia knocks off LSU in the SEC Championship game, taking a guaranteed bid, and the voters get cold feet about basically having two non-conference champs facing off for the title.

That’s our best bet. It’s unlikely, but there’s a small chance everything could fall the Hokies’ way.

Given that, they better take care of Clemson next week. ACC Champions. That’s goal #1.

Magic Scenario Update

You might remember that I laid out a path for Virginia Tech to play in the BCS Championship game. I did it jokingly, not really expecting there was a chance that the Hokies would end up with a shot.

What a difference a week makes.

Oregon lost. Oklahoma lost. Oklahoma St. lost.

The Hokies vault from the bottom of the BCS to 5th, with at least one team above them guaranteed to lose. It looks like the BCS now shakes out like this:

6) Virginia Tech
5) Stanford
4) Oklahoma State
3) Arkansas
2) Alabama
1) LSU

LSU plays Arkansas this week. At this point, we have to be rooting for an LSU victory, since I’m not sure an LSU loss would move them down the polls enough.

So, let’s put in LSU over Arkansas.

Alabama plays Auburn. We need an Auburn victory.

Oklahoma State plays Oklahoma in two weeks. We need the Sooners to bring it and beat the Cowboys. Oklahoma over Oklahoma State.

Stanford plays Notre Dame this week. A Notre Dame victory would be ideal, since that would hurt both Stanford and Oregon’s chances of jumping up the list. Stanford is then going to play UCLA or Utah in the Pac–12 Championship Game. We’d like Stanford to lose there as well. But we don’t need to be greedy.

Of course, we really need the Hokies to beat Virginia (not a given), and then defeat Clemson in the ACC Championship Game. Neither of those will prove to be easy tasks, but there’s a chance that with both of those wins, the Hokies would vault over Stanford, regardless of the outcome of their games.

I think, if all of this happened, you’d end up with LSU #1 and Virginia Tech #2. I think that’s the best thing we can hope for at this point. To make it more confusing, we could also hope for Georgia over LSU in the SEC Championship Game.

Let’s see where we stand next week. If Alabama beats Auburn, the odds of the Hokies getting up into the top two drops considerably. Of course, if the Hokies play the way they played against UNC, they won’t defeat Virginia, which will render the whole thing moot.