Thursday, April 19, 2007

We are all part of Hokie Nation
Jim Williams, The Examiner
Apr 19, 2007 3:00 AM (5 hrs ago)
Current rank: # 10 of 5,749

WASHINGTON - I have done nearly 20 events at Virginia Tech over the years. The campus, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, has always been one of my favorite places to do a telecast. What happened this week at Virginia Tech was such a mind-numbing tragedy that it made news worldwide and the entire college world became part of Hokie Nation.

The maroon and orange colors of Virginia Tech have been seen in newspapers from Washington, D.C. to Sydney and the pain was honest and palpable. But at the same time, so was the sense of community.

The enthusiasm, passion and tradition of college athletics make covering college sports far more appealing to many broadcasters than doing the pros. I have covered Super Bowls, World Series, NBA Playoffs and the Stanley Cup — but there is nothing like college sports.

Walking a college campus is something sports broadcasters all love to do when on site for a game. I know that CBS’ Verne Lundquist likes to jog around campus early in the morning and talk to students.

You can find ESPN’s Bonnie Bernstein at the campus book store looking for something special to add to her vast collection of college items.

Students love to talk sports and are passionate about their schools. Being on campus at places like Virginia Tech has made ESPN College GameDay’s remote broadcasts popular not only to the fans, but even to the broadcasters, like Lee Corso, who enjoy feeding off the crowd.

I spoke to a number of college sports broadcasters this week and they all felt the pain of Hokie Nation.

They know that as horrific a story this is, that Virginia Tech — with its wonderful sense of community — will survive this terrible tragedy.

It will take time and they will need our help, but in time Hokie Nation will fill up Lane Stadium this fall and cheer on coach Frank Beamer and the football team.

Until then, let’s take a moment to think about Hokie Nation.

Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer.

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