Music is a powerful driving force for many people across the world. For many, a couple chords of a song or a chorus can bring you back to a specific place, time, emotion and memory. The same goes for football fans, Mountaineers and Volunteers alike.
Saturday may be the first time that the two teams face off on the gridiron and there may be a similarity in traditions. Both teams have a strong tie to specific songs, playing major roles in the traditions of their football teams.
The Mountaineers and West Virginians around the world are forever tied to the sounds of John Denver’s ‘Country Roads.’ I bet even as you’re reading this you can hear it in your mind, thinking of a memory of the last game you were at or your favorite victory swaying alongside friends and family in Milan Puskar.
The Volunteers have that too in ‘Rocky Top.’ Several years ago, USA Today named ‘Rocky Top’ as college football’s top fight song. While the song is not Tennessee’s official fight song, it goes hand in hand with Volunteers football. Their fan base loves ‘Rocky Top’ as much as Mountaineer Nation relishes in hearing ‘Country Roads.’
‘Rocky Top’ to Tennessee fans elicits the same heartfelt reaction that ‘Country Roads’ does to Mountaineers across the world.
Think about that time you heard ‘Country Roads’ on vacation, maybe studying abroad, or in a foreign country. It’s happened, trust me. Volunteers get that same excitement from hearing their song too.
For Mountaineers, hearing the sounds of John Denver after that last musket shot is fired is such a driving force in cheering that team along for all four quarters, all sixty minutes. Cheer louder, clap harder, cross your fingers tighter; all in hopes of hearing that cherished song after the win.
College football is something that means more to people than just sixty minutes of football. It’s a time of family, friends, tradition and time spent cheering on these young student athletes chasing after their dreams. The sights, smells, and sounds of those football Saturdays are extremely meaningful to each individual regardless of the color on your jersey.
This weekend’s game brings two teams who have never played each other before. Both teams looking to do better than last season, live up to expectations, prove some wrong and most of all: win. Hearing ‘Rocky Top’ is a push of motivation for the Volunteers, a reminder of the fan base around them. ‘Country Roads’ is purely an anthem Mountaineers hear, sing along to, and know that there’s an entire state behind those players on the football field.
Here’s to hearing that first sound of ‘Country Roads’ Saturday in Charlotte.
Let’s go Mountaineers.