I’m here to rain on everyone’s parade.
There isn’t going to be a “Coal Rush” on Black Friday against the Oklahoma Sooners. It’s not happening, and this new movement by fans in attempt to make it happen is - to put it gently - extremely dumb. The idea of it sounds fine and, yeah, it probably would look cool on TV in a night game, but that’s where it ends. This isn’t a movie.
Now that we’ve established that the idea is very dumb and that you should all feel bad for thinking that there was even a 0.001% chance of this actually coming to fruition, let’s talk about the logistics of this and why it’s the stupidest thing a large segment of this fan base has screamed for since [checks notes] wanting to move the Iowa State game to the bye week so we could play N.C. State next weekend.
Wow, three weeks. That’s probably some kind of record.
First of all, you’re not going to get brand new uniforms made for the entire team on just over a month notice. Even if your 7,000 signatures on a change.org petition made Shane Lyons change his stance on black uniforms - which, by the way, would be the only time a change.org petition worked - there’s no feasible way to get everything together in time. Throw in the fact that Lyons is vehemently against black uniforms to the point that the black accents were removed from this year’s iteration of the current uniform style, and that you’d be asking Nike to change the current contract in the middle of the season, and you can already see why this just isn’t going to happen. Besides, didn’t some of y’all want to get rid of the contract with Nike just a couple weeks ago? Weird.
Let’s move on to the other really dumb idea I’ve seen thrown around with this thing. Someone suggested turning off all the lights and having the team enter the field with miner lamps on their helmets. This one is mindbogglingly stupid on a level that I’m surprised even exists. Again, this would look cool if it could be pulled off but, logistically, it can’t. We’d have to completely replace all lighting in the stadium with LED lighting before this could even be remotely feasible. I’m sure not many people screaming for this idea realize this, but STADIUM LIGHTS TAKE FOREVER TO TURN ON. There’s a reason those lights get turned on when it’s still daylight. I can’t think of anything I want less than students stumbling over the railing in the upper level, and folks tumbling down the stairs while trying to get to their seats because some guy on the Internet thought it’d be cool to turn the lights off for a couple minutes.
So that’s the logistics side of why this will not happen, let’s get into why this is an extremely dumb idea on a superficial level to the point that it’s making my blood boil.
First and foremost, we’re the West Virginia MOUNTAINEERS, not the West Virginia Miners. This is the part where I’m going to receive a ton of hate mail and Facebook comments of people saying they’re unfollowing us. West Virginia has a strong history in coal mining, with the keyword there being ‘history.’ There are more people employed by Walmart in this state than there are in the mines in 2018, and you don’t see anyone out here yelling for special Russell Athletic uniforms in a Great Value True Blue game. I think we’re doing enough as a nod to the state’s coal mining heritage with the Mountaineer Mantrip, the new turnover mining helmet and the pickaxe font on the jerseys that everyone already hates. We don’t need to continue beating this dead horse. Although, perhaps we could have Donald Trump and Jim Justice parachute into the stadium and talk about how coal is back as drunk fans eat it down the stadium steps while we wait for the lights to come back up, and then at halftime we can declare bankruptcy and start a new team to try to get out of paying our debts.
This game should already be big enough on its own. We don’t need some poorly executed gimmick to try to artificially manufacture excitement. As our friend Fake Bob Huggins said last night, “It’s an 8:00 kickoff on Black Friday. If Morgantown doesn’t smell like lighter fluid and stale beer by 2:00 and isn’t on the cusp of burning by kickoff, we don’t deserve nice things.” Everybody likes to tout Milan Puskar Stadium as one of the toughest places to play just based on the fans, but the fact is that it hasn’t been that way since LSU ripped everyone’s souls from their body in 2011. If this game can’t bring that atmosphere back without a dumb gimmick, we may as well just stick to noon kickoffs.
Last but not least, one of the biggest reasons this thing is driving me absolutely insane. Two years ago, some of you heathens were screaming about Dana Holgorsen wearing black on the sidelines instead of gold and blue because BLACK ISN’T OUR COLOR, but by god now you want the entire team and every fan decked out in black. You can’t have it both ways.
Stop signing the stupid petition. Stop tweeting at Dana and Shane Lyons. Stop tagging every West Virginia fan page/Twitter account/news outlet on social media trying to drum up interest in this thing. Because when it doesn’t happen, you’ll be the first ones back out there complaining about how the athletic department doesn’t listen to the fans and threatening to boycott games. Just stop and enjoy what we have. We don’t need more dumb gimmicks.