Rah Virginia Mil!


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!

The evening gun sounds before the flags are lowered and the cadets march to dinner.

The evening gun sounds before the flags are lowered and the cadets march to dinner.

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.

Good times, good friends!

Good times, good friends!

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!

The room mates with their ladies at Ring Figure.

The room mates with their ladies at Ring Figure.


On the Homecoming Court.

On the Homecoming Court.


Missy bringing me my first beer as a 21-year-old.  I had NO IDEA she was there!

Missy bringing me my first beer as a 21-year-old. I had NO IDEA she was there!

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!

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About Tom Hardinge

Loving husband to my wife Missy, loving father to my four daughters Sienna, Rowan, Jovie, and Lola. I'm a chronic over-packer who loves good coffee, good music, running, waffle tee's, fleece pants, and Jesus Christ!

8 thoughts on “Rah Virginia Mil!

  1. I was just going to say what Melissa f-b said! i can’t believe you went there. nothing bad about it, just that rocking guitar tom went to military school! ha.

  2. dude, bro, there are places where it’s strange NOT to have heard about VMI… namely Virginia. Haha. Honestly, though, I had many a friend whose BFs went there and it always reminded me of you guys when they discussed it: how strange that VMI still exists after my brother graduated… =D

    I had a dream last night, oddly enough, that the ‘rents forced me to go to VMI to learn discipline.

  3. Kids,

    Ole Peg finally got her very own email address (peggy.hardinge@gmail.com), so I know how it feels to be exploring the world of computer antics. We had to get different phones as well and we got the touch screen kind and they’ve really added a lot to what you can do on a phone since the antique models we were carrying.

    I understand you may be returning to Ghana this year. Cool. Your Dad and I were thinking that as years go by you may want to consider making some of our Erma travels through New England, Canada, the central and northwestern states as we do them. Maybe you can fly in to a pre-determined area, travel a while with us, then fly back from another point. It could be a lot of fun.

    There’s a lot going on in Hagerstown these days. Maybe you can come out in early summer. I’m sure everyone would appreciate seeing you both during this transition time, and yet I know it’s not always easy to make such a long and expensive trip. Just something to consider. I know your Daddy really has his heart set on bringing Erma out there this summer…maybe during the state fair. We have to play things by ear a little bit.

    We hope and pray you are doing well. Your Daddy has his leather box right on the table and he sees it every day. He misses you two so very much and I know he will be visiting your blog daily to see if you’ve added anything.

    We had a community church service combining all our praise bands into one at the Sheraton (now called the Hagerstown Hotel). I did the prayers and I used the blue sash on the podium that you two brought back from Ghana. But, first I told the story about your trip and what you accomplished with the wells. Everyone was very moved by that. The ballroom was filled with people just lovin’ the Lord and I was grateful God gave us you two to be supplying us with touching memories worthy to share with such an appreciative group.

    We love the blog pictures, especially the one of Missy serving you your first legal beer, because it brought back so many heavenly memories. But, that night was about the coolest ever. Poor thing waited patiently for hours, while we were all visiting and doing our thing with Tom, she was sequestered in the kitchen of a restaurant waiting to surprise you by bringing out your beer. Can you imagine how we were all bursting at the seams waiting to see your reaction? Little did we know at the time that this would be the first of many amazingly romantic things that would happen because of the teamwork of Tommy and Missy. You two continue to bring us much pride and joy.

    We’ll keep in touch. Love you so much

  4. Pingback: Gameday | living in pursuit

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