One of the most popular questions on campus today is, “Who is on your team?” Each and every year fantasy sports continue to grow in interest across all ages. Men, women, teenagers and even senior citizens are starting to build a team.
Fantasy sports in Radford
It’s a Saturday during the fall at Radford University. Students are exhausted from having class all week and they turn on their television to watch some college football. The only problem with it is, they won’t see a Radford game. It’s a moment where you see the students at the games having a great time, yet the students at Radford are stuck watching it on a TV screen. So the major question is, is it possible for RU to ever have a football team?
Loss of football or opportunities?
Remembering April 16th, 2006 as a 7th Grader.
It was a cold spring April Monday. Almost all of us walking into the school were thinking about the weekend that had just passed. You could see the tired eyes on every kid in Blacksburg Middle School. Students made it to their first period classes— Some probably fell asleep and others fought the drowsiness that came over them. The bell rang at the end of a seemingly endless class and the students jumped out of their chairs for the four minute break in-between classes to talk with their friends before their next class.
Students started moving to their classes after a minute or two, teachers were yelling as usual for students to head to their classrooms. The students, teachers, and principals had no idea that when that second bell rang at the start of second period events happening down the road would change the lives of everyone.
A few minutes into the class the principal came onto the intercom and in a cracking voice, “Teachers we are on lockdown. We will remain on lockdown until further notice. Thank you.” Most of us in Mrs. St. Clair’s computer technology class thought it was just a drill. We have had numerous drills and don’t usually think much of them.
A lot of us didn’t think of the lockdown until there was about ten minutes left in class. There was a realization that the school was still on lockdown. An hour went by and still had not heard anything. Most of us in my room were okay with it because that meant no English class that day.
Then things just didn’t feel normal any more.
The principal came on the intercom again but this time he sounded different. He wasn’t as harsh when he spoke, “Teachers please continue to teach. Do not turn on the TV’s or let students be on the computer. Thank you for your cooperation.” That was the moment is when some students could tell something was different with this lockdown. Some would question, “What do you mean we can’t use the computers? We’re in a keyboarding class?”
Mrs. St. Clair stood her ground and just entertained us in different ways by card games, drawing, letting us sleep. Most of us still felt okay since we were missing a lot of our classes.
Time just seemed to go by quickly somehow. Lunch came but the cafeteria workers had to bring it to us because we still were not allowed to leave. They came by with a slice of rubbery pizza and a carton of milk for each of us. That day just seemed to go by like a dream. We were all stuck in one classroom for most of the day.
School was dismissed and we were sent straight to the buses. The bus ride home was quiet. Not many talked. A few did but only about their day of just sitting in one class. For my bus, quiet was really unusual. Listening to music was impossible on that bus at times. At home, my little dog, Lady, lifted her head up but then went back to sleep. Like any normal seventh grade kid, the TV was turned on almost instantly after walking through the door.
I had an urge to try and see why Blacksburg was under lockdown all day. After checking the local news channels [seven, ten, and twenty-seven] but there seemed to be no explanation. So like normal, just started scrolling up the channels to see what was on.
The CNN channel came onto the screen. On the bottom of the screen it read in white letters with a blue background, “33 dead at Virginia Tech.”
My first reaction was to call mom, Maureen Perry, who works at the Virginia Tech Vet Hospital. It was a few moments that were terrifying. Your mind wanders thinking the worst as the rings go off on the phone. She was okay along with the rest of the building. The vet hospital was put on lockdown with the rest of campus.
That day was not any ordinary April day. Instead, it is a day that will live on forever. It was April 16, 2007.
After April 16
On April 17 the men of the Perry family were off to Florida for their grandmother’s 90th birthday, leaving Mom at home for a week after what had just happened. To this day she still says, “Thank god for the dog. It was terrible going to an empty house every day after that.”
It was hard to leave Blacksburg that day and not being there in school with my friends after the tragedy, especially after I learned two of my friends lost parents in the massacre. It was terrible and I kind of felt like abandoning the school in this time. There has never been a worst time to go on vacation.
We decided to wear our VT shirts just for the heck of it. In Charlotte, N.C. the airline said they were sorry for the tragedy. While talking to them we said Mom works for the college and then they upgraded us up to first class. We weren’t expecting anything from wearing our shirts. Even in Florida people were stopping and saying, “We’re so sorry for what happened.”
It was amazing to see the kind of genuine sadness that far away from Blacksburg. Even at that young age of 12, it was noticeable that everyone seemed to be affected. Plus they cared about what happened.
A few months later I was honored to be selected to the Dixie All-Star baseball team. We had orange jerseys and maroon caps that had the ribbon with an embroided “April 16, 2007” patch. It felt so meaningful able to play for them and be one game away from the game to send us to the Dixie World Series.
Students from that seventh grade class have graduated high school, now. The football players from the Hokies first game after the tragedy have left VT. Police officers retired or left the force because of what they saw that day. There is one thing that has everybody connected. We were Hokies. We are Hokies. Forever will we be Hokies.
It’s amazing looking back to that fateful day seven years ago. It was childish to be okay with missing class. If there was one thing that could be changed, it would be to attend the classes we missed that day—to have it be any other day; to receive a zero for the homework that was not done.
A person who helped everyone with her amazing poem was Yolanda Cornelia Nikki Giovanni. Giovanni spoke at the Memorial Convocation address that George W. Bush spoke at as well in Cassell Coliseum. Giovanni helped shed light on the event. Her famous line is still used by Hokies everywhere: “We are the Hokies. We will prevail. We will prevail. We will prevail. We are Virginia Tech.”
It may not be the first thing on everybody’s mind anymore. The students that were at VT in 2007 have left. The fifth graders of 2007 are about to graduate high school. The memories have not left our minds. The victims will never be forgotten: Ross Abdallah Alameddine, Christopher James “Jamie” Bishop, Brian Bluhm, Ryan Clark, Austin Cloyd, Jocelyne Courture-Nowak, Kevin Granata, Matthew G. Gwaltney, Caitlin Hammarmen, Jeremy Herbstritt, Rachael Elizabeth Hill, Emily Hilscher, Jarrett Lane, Matthew J. La Porte, Henry Lee, Liviu Librescu, G.V. Loganathan, Partahi Lumbantoruan, Lauren McCain, Daniel O’Neil, Juan Ramon Ortiz, Minal Panchal, Daniel Perez Cueva, Erin Peterson, Mike Pohle, Julia Pryde, Mary Read, Reema Samaha, Waleed Shaalan, Leslie Sherman, Maxine Turner, and Nicole White.
I look at how far everyone has come and look back at how everyone came together. It wasn’t just Blacksburg and the Virginia Tech family that was mourning. The entire world was mourning. April 16th will always be the day that everyone is a Hokie.