The traditions of Lane Stadium

Every college team has their own traditions when they play on their home turf, and Virginia Tech is no exception. Lane Stadium was rated the number one home field advantage in all of college football by in 2005. It is also #2 on’s list of “Top 10 Scariest Places to Play.”

You want to know why?  It all starts with Metallica’s ‘Enter, Sandman’, which is (in my opinion) the best entrance in college football. But I admit, I am biased. After a round of “Let’s Go! Hokies!” the opening notes of ‘Enter, Sandman’ begin and the entire stadium jumps up and down. The football players come through the tunnel, jump up and touch the Hokie stone mounted above the entrance to the field, and then take to the field as 66,223 fans (the stadium regularly sells out) jump up and down and scream at the top of their lungs.

When the Hokies prepare to kick off, the crowd stomps a foot and slashes an arm (like the Florida State tomahawk chop), increasing in speed until the ball is kicked off. If the ball repeatedly gets blown off of the tee (it is often very windy in Blacksburg), the crowd boo’s the wind.

When the Hokies score, be ready for the Corps of Cadets to fire a cannon called Skipper. Skipper is the world’s largest game cannon, and the cadets also fire it after the national anthem at the start of the game.

When we lived close to the football stadium and were watching the game on TV, we would often hear the cannon fire before we actually saw the touchdown. Of course, we would also often hear the crowd before the cannon, because Lane Stadium is just that loud. We make audibles impossible, and sometimes force the other team to run out of time on the play clock because the QB can’t hear what the coach is shouting at him, or the center can’t hear to snap the ball. The time we beat Nebraska, the stadium was so loud I think I nearly lost my hearing.

Also when the Hokies score, VT freshman cadets do pushups to equal the point total on the shoulders of their classmates.

In similar fashion, the Hokie Bird will bench press a weight the number of times equal to the score.

When the opposing team has the ball on third down, it is known as a “key play.” Many diehard Hokie fans have a key ring of random keys reserved solely for game day.  As the opposing team’s offense lines up for third down, Hokie fans shake their keys and yell as loud as possible to ruin the other team’s concentration and keep them from converting to first down.

At the end of the third quarter, everyone needs to stretch their legs. So the Marching Virginian tubas take to the goal line to lead the stadium in a round of the Hokie Pokey.

Although we love our mascot, the Hokie Bird, we also have a tendency to eat him during a football game. Turkey leg, anyone?

During the football season, you can’t tell which game is the homecoming game, because Virginia Tech Alum come to every game. We call it “West Stands” and it is where you get to sit (and I literally mean you get to sit) after you have graduated.

The alumni section

Speaking of sitting, if you attend a game in any of the student sections (North Stands, upper East Stands), don’t expect to sit. You will be on your feet the whole game. In fact, they even made a t-shirt because of it.

Our football team hustles more than any other team that sets foot in Lane Stadium. Head Coach Frank Beamer puts a lot of emphasis on special teams, in a style of football that has become known as ‘Beamer Ball’, which focuses on kick- and punt-blocking, and scoring from anywhere on the field. Beamer Ball also encompasses the defense’s propensity for interceptions and scoring points, and a “lunch pail” defense mentality.

2007 Maroon Effect shirt

Lunch Pail defense was developed by Defensive Coordinator Bud Foster, and it is based on the blue-collar hard-working ethics of a coal miner. The lunch pail is filled with the defense’s mission statement and goals.

From ‘Enter Sandman’ to key plays, from the Skipper to Beamer Ball and Lunch Pail defense, there’s never a dull moment in Lane Stadium. Clearly, I love my Hokies and I love Hokie football!

What traditions does your favorite team have?

8 thoughts on “The traditions of Lane Stadium”

  1. As a fellow Hokie, you’ve got me pretty much covered! LOVE everything about this post. Until the game against Western Carolina, Lane Stadium had sold out for 93 consecutive home games, the third longest sellout streak! And the only reason the game didn’t sellout was because Western Carolina returned some of their tickets and there wasn’t enough time to sell them. 93 home games? Isn’t that amazing? Go Hokies!

  2. That’s an awesome post about VT football! I love all of the traditions :)We lived close enough to a football field (the high school I taught at and attended when I was in HS)to hear the crowd and the announcer. It’s such a cool experience. I also think that picture of you at the end of the post is adorable!!

  3. Wow, that looks like an intense football experience! I’ve never been to a real football game before – in fact, my college didn’t even have a football team so I’m a stranger to college football in general. It sounds like you guys have a blast at these games!

    1. The games are definitely a good time! I bet most college games are pretty exciting when you’re in the stadium, but Lane is definitely one of the loudest stadiums.

  4. I LOVED this post and you hit all of my favorite traditions! Of course all of the Lane Stadium traditions would be my favorites! Bill, Joseph, Daniel, and I were at the Nebraska game. It was our VT 30th reunion weekend and our seats were in the south end zone. Danny Coale was running straight toward us after he caught the ball, and we had a perfect view of Tyrod’s pass into the end zone to win the game! As soon as the game was over we all rushed the field and that year’s Christmas card picture was us standing on the field with the scoreboard in the background! :-)We get our tickets in the east stands with the students specifically because I can’t sit during the game! Last year for one of the games, we used our friend’s tickets since he couldn’t go to the game and didn’t sell them. We thought that since the seats were right at the tunnel it would be fun to be there. Problem was, Bill and I keep jumping up and when we wouldn’t sit right back down the people behind us kept getting annoyed. Oops! The only time I EVER sit at a game is during half time.So did I tell you that last year I bought a beat up lunch pail on eBay? I still haven’t painted the orange WIN on the front, or VT on the end, but it still comes to every tailgate with us. It carries our salt, limes, and shot glasses for our tequila shots that we take just before going into the stadium. 🙂

    1. I figured you’d like this one 🙂 That would have been awesome to see the end of that Nebraska game from the south end zone! We were high up in the student section in east stands. You have to be careful when you sit in west stands 😉 Don’t want to make anyone angry, haha. I did know about your lunch pail, from your post about tailgating for the games. I love that y’all use it to carry your salt, limes, and shot glasses! That’s a good gameday mentality 🙂

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