To Err is Human, to Boo Repellent, to Cheer Divine

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Sean
Glennon might effectively be at the end of his college career. He’s going
to play against Furman, but beyond that, what can he expect? Frank Beamer
didn’t pull the redshirt from Tyrod Taylor without great thought, and I
figure Beamer intends to use TT heavily for the rest of the season. This
might be the end of the line for Glennon … and one can only hope that
it’s the end of the line for the bitterness and venom that has often been
aimed his way.

I’ve never seen a player that brings out such irrational emotions from
so many fans as Sean Glennon does, except for maybe Grant Noel. Marcus
Vick was always in the headlines for all the wrong reasons, but he never
drew the fire that Glennon draws. DeAngelo Hall was locker room poison,
but he got a free pass at Tech. Ronyell Whitaker talked smack and blew
multiple games with bonehead penalties (Pitt 2002) and lackluster play
(2001 Gator Bowl), but though he was disliked by parts of the fan base, he
didn’t get the ire that Glennon draws.

Never mind the emotional message board posts we see, blasting Sean
Glennon behind the cloak of anonymity. I get emails, many of them from
otherwise dignified men and women in their 40s, 50s and 60s, and the
spiteful anger they spew at Glennon should make them feel ashamed.

Just Wednesday, someone emailed me and opined that “in every
game that Glennon has quarterbacked for the Hokies, he has proven to be
the inferior QB.” Every game? Proven? I emailed back links to 7 or 8
games where Glennon was clearly the superior quarterback, some by
ridiculous margins (Example: Virginia
Tech 27, Georgia Tech 3
… GT’s Taylor Bennett: 11-of-26, 157 yards,
4 INTs, 0 TDs; Sean Glennon: 22-of-32, 296 yards, 0 INTs, 2 passing TDs, 1
rushing TD).

Sean’s had his bad games, but “every game”? I couldn’t let
that email go unanswered, though I ignore most like that.

If I’m going to badmouth a player, I reserve my contempt for those who
cheat, smoke dope, steal, get in bar fights, abuse women, organize a
dogfighting ring, talk trash, recklessly endanger others or, say, stomp on
an opposing player’s leg. Those are all contemptible behaviors, some more
so than others.

But
players who work hard, stay out of trouble and give their all to the
program, in the face of unreasonable criticism from parts of the fan base,
don’t earn my contempt or anger. They earn my respect, and my best wishes
for them. And I share their disappointment when the game of football, at
which they work so hard and devote so much time, doesn’t go well. Because
I know how much they put into it, and how much they want to succeed.

Sean Glennon is such a person, to the best of my knowledge. I’ve never
seen a shred of evidence to indicate that he isn’t doing everything he can
to succeed and play well. Does he put any more effort into his sport than
Angela Tincher, who is universally revered, puts into softball? Has
Glennon been any less the model student-athlete than Tincher? Of course
not. Sean Glennon’s only failure has been that he hasn’t performed at the
same consistently high level as Tincher, who is a statistical freak and
arguably the greatest athlete to ever don orange and
maroon.

If Tincher struck out just one batter an inning, instead of two, and if
her career record hovered around .500, no one would know who she is. But
she would still be a fine representative of this university.

If Sean Glennon had quarterbacked the Hokies during a couple of
undefeated seasons, and maybe a national championship, he would be adored
like Tincher. But he would be no more fine a representative of this
university than he already is — just one who was more successful on the
playing field.

In a perfect world, Sean Glennon would have thrown three touchdowns and
no interceptions against ECU last Saturday. VT would have won comfortably,
Tyrod Taylor’s jersey would still be red, and Hokie Nation would be
buzzing with possibilities. But it didn’t unfold that way. Instead, the
Hokies lost, and Glennon and the offense didn’t play well. Glennon and
Bryan Stinespring are under fire, Frank Beamer spent a couple sleepless
nights making a difficult decision, and the Hokie football program is at a
crossroads.

I assure you, at no point during Saturday’s game did Sean Glennon
think, “Hmm, I think I’ll throw a game-changing pick inside my own
20. That’ll teach the haters. Screw ’em.”

Instead, I have the utmost confidence that Glennon worked hard,
prepared hard and gave it his all. That’s all I ever ask of a VT athlete,
and Glennon delivered that. He just didn’t deliver a win. At the
end of the day, though, I’m not going to rage my anger at Sean Glennon.
(And if anybody’s got a right, I’ve got the right. Every time Sean
plays poorly and the team tanks a game, my work load goes up
dramatically.)

But not every Hokie fan is so forgiving. When Glennon trots out on the
field Saturday against Furman, I fully expect to hear some boos. That
won’t be anything new, nor will my consternation at this phenomenon.

Hokie
fans like to stick out their chests and talk about being better, and say
things like, “We are Virginia Tech” and wear their Hokies United
T-shirts. (How ironic is that? Booing Sean Glennon while you sport your
Hokies United T-shirt?) But when the rubber hits the road, Virginia Tech
fans are like any other fans. Some are classy, some indifferent, some
moronic.

If you boo Sean Glennon Saturday, I think it will tell me a lot more
about you than it tells me about Sean Glennon. I guess I can be thankful
for that. I always like to know where somebody’s coming from, and what
kind of person they are.

Having said all that, if you feel as I do, that booing a college
athlete is reprehensible, then here’s a suggestion: When #7 trots on the
field Saturday, cheer for him, and make him aware that much more of the
Hokie fan base is for him than against him. If you’re going to talk the
talk, with Hokies United T-shirts and “We are Virginia Tech,”
then walk the walk. Represent your university the way it’s supposed to be
represented, and drown out those who don’t.

I’ve said my piece. Make your choice: Are you a Hokie, or not?

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