March 14, 1996 was the first time I ever remember developing a chip on my shoulder with regards to Virginia Tech athletics. Most old-school Tech fans possess a similar chip, and while I think most of the fan base identifies their own chip with football, I identify mine more with basketball because of my own personal experiences growing up in Southside Virginia.
I don’t know how it was where you grew up, but in Southside Virginia during the ACC Tournament, the classes would stop and the old-school TV carts would get rolled out. From noon to the end of the school day, we were watching the ACC Tournament. We watched guys like Randolph Childress, Dante Calabria, Tim Duncan, Matt Harpring, etc. It was really good basketball, and everybody enjoyed it, even if you didn’t have a team to pull for, or even if you didn’t like sports. Plus, it meant that you didn’t have to do any work for the afternoon, so the ACC Tournament was something that everyone looked forward to.
I never expected them to pull out the TV cart for Virginia Tech’s Metro or A-10 Tournaments for me. Heck, the A-10 tournaments probably weren’t even on TV around here back then. But when Virginia Tech was in the NCAA Tournament in 1996, I thought there was a chance. So when the Hokies’ game against Wisconsin-Green Bay began on March 14, 1996, I asked if I could watch it, and I was promptly rejected.
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