Tuesday, October 1, 2013

My Happiest Place on Earth

When an athlete wins some major event, they're fond of saying, "I'm going to Disneyland." Disneyland is supposed to be, after all, the happiest place on Earth. For me any place with thousands of children, Florida heat and lines for hours sounds like torture, but to each his own.  When I think about my happiest place on Earth, it's unusual, but it's obviously Mountaineer Field at my alma mater West Virginia University.

Me + Mountaineer Field = Happiness
I think many people who grow up in West Virginia are Mountaineer fans, and I can remember expressly when it happened for me - while watching WVU play Notre Dame in the National Championship when I was nine years old.  It's certainly easy to start loving a team when they're playing for the game's top prize, but it's certainly not easy being a Mountaineer fan.

When I was applying for colleges I really wanted to be a Mountaineer. I turned down a full scholarship to a smaller, nearby state school. I realized even then that I bleed old gold and blue, and the passion for my team has only intensified as I've gotten older.  When I talked my husband into buying WVU season football tickets last year, I couldn't believe it was actually happening. Despite the fact that we already had Michigan State season tickets and it is a six hour drive to Morgantown, season tickets aren't necessarily the most convenient thing. But given that Mountaineer Field is my happy place, it's totally worth it.

Rocking our Coach Holgerson faces before the big win
Last weekend we headed to Morgantown for our first game of the year to see my Mountaineers take on then-11th ranked Oklahoma State.  After being shut out by Maryland the previous game on the road I was less than confident about our game against the Cowboys.  Despite my football trepidation, I was thrilled to be back in one of my favorite places.

Morgantown, West Virginia has consistently won awards as one of the nation's best small cities. Most recently it was ranked number seven on Kiplinger's 10 Great Places to Live in July 2013. It is a fantastic small town that has leveraged it's largest anchor institution (WVU) beautifully. It has a thriving downtown, tons of green space, lots of cultural and arts attractions, and of course WVU sports.  When I think of great places, Morgantown always pops in my mind.

A view of Morgantown from the stadium. I heart mountains.
Seeing that Mountaineer Field is my favorite place and I have such an affinity for Morgantown, you may be wondering why I don't live there. That is an excellent question to which I don't have a great answer. Eleven years ago when I moved away from West Virginia part of me felt like I had to move away in order to feel like I'd accomplished something. More than a decade later I feel like I have. The problem is that once you've accomplished something it makes it harder to give up a professional network to move not to mention the family and friendship ties. 

That means I continue to get my Morgantown fix in small snippets while visiting my parents and attending WVU games.  I get admittedly nostalgic anytime I'm on campus or in the stadium, and perhaps that's amplified by my less than frequent visits there. Mountaineer Field is truly my happiest place on Earth, even when my team is not winning. Fortunately for me this past weekend I was able to scream like a 13-year-old girl at a Justin Bieber concert watching the 'Eers pull out an upset. For me it is truly almost Heaven.

And in a scene that should give all Mountaineers chills (and maybe tears in your eyes too), here is our team singing Country Roads in the stadium after the game - one of my favorite Mountaineer traditions. Let's go!



  1. This is much more fun to read on a Tuesday morning than one more article about Congress.

  2. I'm trying to provide some alternative reading material that is not about the shutdown. :)

  3. Wow, that video did make me tear up. We need to meet up next time you guys come in for a game.