The Book of Mike

"This is no junior college. This is the notorious University of Miami.” -- Marlins starter Dontrelle Willis, after getting knocked around for six runs in 2 1/3 innings by the Canes.

Monday, November 15, 2004

ACC Football goes Suessical

I’m just starting to thaw out from the weekend trip to the Great White North, or at least to Virginia and the D.C. area for the Miami – Virginia football game. Aside from the site- seeing in D.C. on Friday and in Colonial Williamsburg on Sunday, there was a lot to say about this trip – and not necessarily about the part you probably already know about (i.e. what happened in the football game).

The University of Virginia, also sometimes jokingly referred to as Thomas Jefferson University, is located in Charlottesville, Virginia. You probably know UVA’s athletic teams as the Cavaliers, but the closer you get to the campus, the more you find people referring to the Cavaliers as ‘Hoos.

After spending a weekend in the area, I’m still not quite sure what a “Hoo” is. I did get a number of responses when I asked around. One thing was clear – “Hoo” is technically short for “Wahoo,” although that doesn’t really help to clear anything up. Here are some of the explanations I got from Virginians:

  • Hoo is short for Wahoo, which is a type of fish. To fishing Floridians, this made sense. A Wahoo is a tasty, colorful prizefish… but it still doesn’t seem to have much to do with a Virginia Cavalier
  • Way back when, people started referring to the baseball team as the Wahoos, because they could drink as much “booze” as a Wahoo could drink water. (This one may be a stretch, but it seems plausible, and definitely something the university would try to steer people away from remembering)
  • This one is my personal favorite: “Hoo” came into being after enough UVa fans were asked about their favorite college football team. These fans of course replied “Virginia” and the original questioner responded, “Who?”

Regardless of the truth behind the origin of the name, it’s pretty weird. For most of my time on the UVa campus I felt like I was trapped somewhere between a Dr. Seuss book (Hooville) and a Jay-Z concert (what with all of the Hoo-ing and UVa-ing starting to run together to create some sort of a HoVa college atmosphere in the hills of Virginia).

All in all, 'Hoo-ville was an interesting place. The stadium is nice, pleasant, and clean, but not very efficiently designed. Like the Orange Bowl, which is very old, lines for the concession stands often interfere with walkways for guests. Bathrooms at the stadium were small and had long lines. All of this surprised me because the Hoos fashion themselves amongst the elite of the elite and envision themselves more alongside the likes of the Ivy League than the ACC. If that were true, you would think that they could design a stadium to handle crowds of fifty to sixty-thousand people.

Apparently they didn’t though, and just like I struggled to navigate their concourses, their coaches have struggled to architect a roster that can navigate the treacherous football minefields that are the major college football programs in Florida. Here’s hoping that the ‘Hoos find themselves in Atlanta on New Year’s Eve in the Peach Bowl and that the Gators can make it a clean sweep for the state against Virginia this year.


  • At 6:01 PM, May 09, 2005, Anonymous Cavalier07 said…

    U SUCK DICK ...

    HOOS comes from the chant that we all sing called the "Good 'Ole Song"

    you can easily find the full lyrics online but the ending has wahoowa in it ... then other schools started referring to us as "wahoos" as though to make fun of us, however the name stuck. We decided to defy those who tried to make fun of us by embracing the title. I'd like to see any of you hillbillies come up with as great a plan as that.

    learn to vote,

    love a Virginian

  • At 6:05 PM, May 09, 2005, Anonymous FishFan said…

    Cavalier07 makes a good point. UVA sounds like a HellUVA school ...

  • At 10:11 PM, May 09, 2005, Blogger Mike said…

    Thanks for the clarification six months after the fact. My point was that no one I spoke to, including many alums and students, could explain what a Hoo was to me.

    You've obviously proved your intelligence with your insightful opening line. I am even further impressed than I was before by Hoo Nation.


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