Even with the odds stacked against them, some Virginia Tech fans aren’t yet ready to concede defeat, as made evident with the existence of the @BEATALABAMA Twitter account.
The account, which has built up a following of more than 1,400, was created by a Hokie fan to help generate hope and excitement leading into the Aug. 31 showdown.
“I could kind of sense the fan base slipping into a little bit of a malaise, following a mediocre season and a mediocre bowl game where we barely beat Rutgers,” said the fan, who requested anonymity for fear of retribution by Alabama fans. “[‘Beat Alabama’] seemed like a great rallying cry, to make it a positive thing of looking forward of this big challenge coming up, instead of sitting around being depressed about the mediocre season we just wrapped up.”
The fan, who graduated from Virginia Tech “10 to 15 years ago,” said he decided to make the Twitter account on the morning of Jan. 1 after an article was posted on thekeyplay.com, a Virginia Tech fan website, declaring that “2013 was the year of ‘Beat Alabama.’”
“The first tweet got something modest, like 30 retweets, but I thought that was pretty nuts for an account with no followers,” he said. “It took off from there.”
Using the #BEATBAMA hashtag, the account quickly became noticed by both Virginia Tech and Alabama supporters, alike.
The hashtag became popularized among enough Hokie fans on Twitter that T-shirts were created on thekeyplay.com with the slogan – hashtag and all – printed on the front. The shirts have since sold out on the website.
But with every #BEATBAMA tweet has come snickering from the Alabama fan base on Twitter. Many replies on the @BEATALABAMA page give Virginia Tech no shot at competing against Alabama. The man behind the account will have none of it.
While the account initially drew notice thanks in part to the #BEATBAMA, it’s the shots he has taken toward these Alabama fans that has made it appealing.
“Sometimes I feel like Bama fans are part of a giant coordinated performance art project that parodies college football fandom #BEATBAMA,” he tweeted Monday.
Although it may not come across that way at times, the fan said that he feels no animosity toward Alabama.
“I don’t hate Alabama at all,” he said. “I respect the football program; I respect the university; I respect the state.
“Here’s the funny thing: A lot of these guys want to go at it, and you go back and forth a couple of times, and they kind of soften up. I actually really like those fans. You kind of get past the initial sparring, and they just want to talk about football then.”
And even with the frequent accusations from Alabama fans that he will delete the account in the event that Alabama wins, he made it clear on what will happen to the account after this weekend.
“The only thing I can guarantee you is that it’s not going away,” he said. “I’ll absolutely be here.”