It is no secret that the internet can be one of the biggest, most toxic bastions of negativity, rudeness and know-it-all-ism mankind has ever created. Its lack of civility, kindness and grace has driven me to the point that I wonder every morning why I even bother logging in to social media.
But occasionally amidst this giant overgrown colossus of thorns, a rose emerges. Such was the case 12 years ago when a total stranger on Twitter mentioned her children’s enjoyment of bobbleheads. She was in my town and I had a few extra ones of the original Skreech, as well as some other Nationals gear.
We met up at a local coffee shop. I gave her the merchandise. She tweeted to all her friends I wasn’t a stalker (which we laugh about to this day). We’ve been great friends ever since.
Then in 2019, with everybody in this region trying to get tickets to the Nats’ first appearance in the World Series, she texted me she has two extra. My wife and I were there that night the World Series finally returned to DC, and I have a bunch of wonderful memories from that I’ll enjoy the rest of my days.
All because of that bloody thing called Twitter.
Then there was the time I was on a website I’ve enjoyed a love/hate relationship with over the years called Techsideline.com, which is dedicated to Virginia Tech sports. I was on their subscriber board when a poster by the name of HokieHeartNSoul mentioned she was moving to Ashburn. As I would anyone new to the area, I offered to help her get settled in any way necessary. She took me up on it.
If you know anything about me, then you realize the special place in my heart Virginia Tech has. Since 1974, I’ve been to a lot of their games and events, I’ve gotten to know many people from there over the years, and both I and my daughter are alumni. It’s not a coincidence the colors on this site are orange and maroon. Many times when people fight over things on bulletin boards and social media, someone will question whether you're a "real Hokie" or not.
I'm a real Hokie.
But I’ve got nothing on HokieHeartNSoul. I know a few people in Blacksburg. She knows everyone in Blacksburg. Over the three years she’s lived here, I’d help her with technology issues involving cable television, the internet and computers. She’d bake cookies and tell tales about all the people she knew in Virginia Tech athletics.
Her accumulation of Virginia Tech sports memorabilia is second to none. She’s been at every big game, has every program, book and video involving them, and if I ever have a question about what’s going on with the Hokies, either she knows, or knows someone who knows. It’s like having lunch with a giant database of Hokie history.
I mention all this because she will soon be moving back to Blacksburg. She texted today to say she’s going to significantly downsize and wanted me to have something if I wanted it. I drove over there expecting a program or book, maybe signed by Frank Beamer, but it turned out to be something much bigger, and much heavier.
Over all her years of going to games, she had a steamer trunk in her basement, and that’s where all the programs and game memorabilia went. Having just hauled it up the stairs to my car this afternoon, I’d say it’s easily 50 to 70 pounds or more. It’s now in my basement because she has no place for it in her new home.
So if you don’t hear from me for a week, that trunk is now in my basement and I’ll be going through it. In my world, newly made Virginia Tech stuff isn’t that big a deal to me because I can buy that any time. But decades of memories of sporting events I was either at or watched on television in my younger years?
To some, this may seem like just a transfer of one person’s collection of junk in one basement to becoming a collection of junk in my basement. I may even live with someone who thinks that way, but no matter. I will thoroughly enjoy every moment of going through every bit of it. You may even see pictures of some of it in coming days.
So on one side of my office, I now have a mountain of memories from the 2019 World Series. In my basement is now an even bigger mountain of Hokie memories. And I only had to do one thing to get them.
Do the unthinkable these days...and be nice to someone on social media 😊