One of my favorite features on Deadspin is “Why your team sucks,” a tongue-in-cheek takedown of a random opponent. Sucks is too strong a word for William and Mary though. A William and Mary student would never say someone sucks. They might leave at halftime to go get a start on next Friday’s paper. They might bring signs comparing you to their least favorite existential philosopher. But Tribe fans would never say your team sucks.
So instead this will be called “Why we disagree upon the merits of your team, respectively of course.” First up, VMI:
VMI was founded in 1839 as the “West Point of the South” by Major General Henney Smith and Colonel Claudius Crozet. Smith was known as “Old Specs,” a nickname he passed on to a young private Joe Paterno during the battle of Antietam. Crozet apparently was called the “Pathfinder of the Blue Ridge” but anyone with sideburns like this was probably called Beardy.
In attempt to live more like Old Specs and Beardy, and honestly who wouldn’t want to live in the 19th century, cadets at VMI sleep on rolled up mats instead of beds. Freshmen at VMI are called “Rats” and are made to shave their heads, do countless pushups and, up until 2007, were forced to climb up a muddy hill while fighting off upperclassmen trying to knock them down. If you make it up the hill you get to move up a grade, which is so unfair. At UVA, all you have to do to move up is have Daddy donate a wing to the English building.
Perhaps the most famous professor in VMI history is Stonewall Jackson, a man who I’m sure would be thrilled with all the high schools named after him today. George Patton went to VMI but ultimately transferred to West Point because, let’s face it, he was kind of a wuss. The most famous graduate in VMI history is George C. Marshall, creator of the Marshall plan which gave billions of dollars to rebuild post-World War II Europe. Sure Marshall helped stop the spread of communism in the west, but a rebuilt Europe ultimately leads to the rebirth of the career of David Hasselhoff, making Marshall history’s greatest monster.
The most famous graduate you’ve actually heard of (way to pay attention in history guys) is comedian Fred Willard, star of Unthreatening White Guy Doesn’t Understand Kids These Days.
To be honest, I have a hard time hating VMI. Everyone I’ve ever met from there has been pretty cool. Plus there is the whole defending our country thing. But still, it’s football season. And the Tribe needs a win. So VMI, we disagree on the merits of your team, respectively of course.