For the second time in three years, the Virginia Military Institute “Runnin’ Roo’s”, my alma mater’s basketball team, was one win away from winning the Big South championship and one win away from heading to the NCAA tournament; “March Madness, BABY!” as Dickie V. would say. Yet today, March 7th, for the second time in two years, the VMI squad fell in heartbreaking fashion. Now, the VMI Keydets are far from being an athletic powerhouse, so any national coverage is good coverage, it is just a total bummer that we came so close, yet came away empty handed. I will try not to be too down on them though, a 24-8 season is nothing to be ashamed of, after all…they did beat Kentucky!
As I mentioned earlier in this post, this is the second time in three years that VMI has made it to their conference championship game. This means that I was able to watch the game, as it was nationally televised on ESPN2. VMI is a very small school which means that it doesn’t get the national TV coverage that your typical college gets. Living in Iowa, it seems that nobody has heard of this small Virginia school, so when they are on TV in this state, I puff out my chest a little further (see, it does exist!). But seeing and hear about VMI brings back an overwhelming sense of nostalgia and longing…and I never thought I’d say this, but I almost miss the place!
Not a lot of my friends in Iowa know exactly what or where the Virginia Military Institute is, so I wanted to spend a final few minutes looking back on the great times I had there. See, VMI isn’t your typical school. You wake up early, put on a uniform, and march to breakfast. Then you attend classes from 8:00-4:00, where your attendance is mandatory. From 4:00-6:00 comes some sort of mandatory activity, such as athletic practices and physical training. You then march to dinner, study and do homework for, well…as long as it takes, hope to get to bed before midnight…then wake up early and start all over again. It doesn’t sound like too much fun, does it? Well, it isn’t, and after a while, it really starts to wear you down.
Yet, a funny thing happens while you are there. Your classmates are going through the same thing you are, and you end up forming a special bond with them knowing that you are a part of something that only a handful of people in the world have done, and that can’t be replaced or broke. It sounds sappy, I know but the guys I graduated are some of my best friends, and I know that if I ever needed anything, I could call them up and they’d be there for me.
Oh, and did I mention that it’s a) a dry campus (that picture is taken in town), and b) going off post (campus) for an extended period of time is pretty regulated as well (I didn’t even have a car until senior year, folks). Did I also mention that it was during this time that I managed to keep a long distance relationship going strong with Missy? Yep, and this is how awesome she is: she flew in to be with me for Ring Figure (when we receive our class rings), she DROVE 17 HOURS for Homecoming after she was elected to be a part of the Homecoming Court (with the lack of female enrollment, the court is elected from girlfriends of classments…don’t ask), and she even surprised me on my 21st birthday! Talk about being committed. So, like I’ve said before, I married up. She definitely deserves props next time you see her!
So anyway, congrats to the Runnin’ Roo’s on such a great season! I hope to visit again soon, but my brother Robert, a high school senior this year, has been accepted to the class of 2013. So who knows, he might keep VMI in the family and give me a reason to visit post more often! And so as they say after every game:
Rah Virginia Mil
Rah Rah Rah
Rah Rah V-M-I
Whole Dang Team!