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August 6, 2012Sign-up for HokieHaven.com Wireless Text Alerts sent right to your cell phone!
In our series of stories from you, our readers, HokieHaven.com reader Clearwater Hokie has won a free month subscription to the site for this story of his life-changing trip to Lane Stadium in 1999.
I will never forget my first trip to Lane Stadium. It changed my life. No really, it literally changed my life.
I realize how that may sound but considering the circumstances in my life at that time, it may very well be an understatement. It was October 16, 1999 and I had been homeless for several years.
A few months prior to that I had entered a homeless shelter/transitional housing type program in Lynchburg, Virginia. I was feeling really sorry for myself and felt I was at the end of my rope.
One of the counselors at the shelter, Tom, (a VT alumnus as it turned out) called me into his office one day, and sensing I was feeling pretty down and knowing how much I loved Virginia Tech, offered me a ticket to the Homecoming game against Syracuse.
I eagerly accepted and saved up enough money for a Greyhound Bus ticket to get me as close to Lane Stadium as I could get. Once I got to the game and met some of the fans and saw the comradare and unity, my outlook on life started to change.
I was truly part of something special there and knew it was not too late for me to get to where I needed to be in life. I will never be able to put into words what that feeling was like, but it was the truest form of hope I have ever felt in my life.
I knew during that game that I would make it if I put everything I had into it. I set goals in my mind and vowed to work toward them.
The game itself was amazing. It was my first look at Michael Vick and he almost single-handedly destroyed Syracuse. I sat on the 40-yard line and watched in amazement as the Hokies rolled to a 62-0 victory.
Man, after that, I had the fever! I promised myself that I would overcome my predicament, and despite my age, (25 at the time), I would get accepted into Virginia Tech and turn my life around.
I won't sit here and say that it was an overnight process but by New Years of 2000, I was no longer homeless and slowly started rebuilding my life. I am happy to say in 2007 (at age 32), I was accepted into Vrginia Tech.
So yes, I firmly believe that the Homecoming game in 1999 literally changed and possibly saved my life. I will forever be grateful and indebted to Virginia Tech and Hokie Football for giving me something to hold on to and look forward to during the most trying days of my life. It's truly great to be a Hokie!
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