Count on Great West Virginia Memories

When some people hear a particular song, they quickly think of the situation they were in when it plays.

I’m a lot like that, too.

For instance, when I hear “Down Under” by Men at Work, I think of Christmas 1984. That was during the big boom box era – back when teens commonly carried an oversized radio on their shoulders.

My parents certainly would not have allowed me to get away with that, and my radio wasn’t nearly big enough to pull off with much success such an image that many teens were after.

I loved that radio. I lugged that thing around until 1996, I know.

The very first tune I picked up on that radio was “Down Under.” I remember it like it was yesterday. I was 14 years old and my younger siblings, then 12, 7 and 4, were scampering around with their gifts.

Me, well, I got the “big” present, I thought.

Later, I would dial in other contemporary hit radio songs along with some Country & Western to please my parents.

As a child, I also enjoyed scanning for distant stations on the amplitude modulation dial late at night. The new radio, of course, was a big “hit” for me regardless of what was playing.

I even remember that I was sitting beside the right side arm of my father’s chair when I unwrapped that one. The sheer sense of what was going on sticks with me today. I carried it along when we ventured out to visit family members.

I’m this way about things I see, too.

Like college football in the 1980s, which was absolutely huge on my list of things to do back then.

When I sit down to catch a Big 10 football game, that, too, immediately takes me back. I think of huge rivalries between Ohio State and Michigan. I remember Indiana facing Purdue.

Anytime I sit down to see games in that conference, I particularly think of Chuck Long calling signals for the Iowa Hawkeyes.

That’s the team that sticks out in my mind the most. I recall a very rainy day, one in which players would skid for yards along the turf once a play was made.

No, I have yet to get used to considering Penn State a Big 10 team. But I do remember saying that the Nittany Lions would never be the same power there.

Penn State just does not play “Big 10” brand of football. Sure, the Nittany Lions will have their years, but not nearly as consistently as Michigan or Ohio State.

The Mountaineers sure take me back, too.

I remember doing chores on the family farm in autumn. The big thing during that time of the year in those days was to find cured trees for cutting in preparation for the long winter ahead.

A radio was always by my side, listening about Hostetler, Wolfley, Drewery and the boys finally putting the Mountaineers on the map.

Since then, still, I’ve associated fall football with hauling firewood.

And, finally, I visited Mountaineer Field for the first time when the top-rated Miami Hurricanes took Heisman Trophy winner Vinny Testaverde to Morgantown in 1986. It was a gorgeous autumn day, but I believe WVU was down 21-0 within the first 10 minutes of the game.

But, as I say, I do enjoy having a connection with my senses. It’s almost like having a VCR or stereo on hand all of the time.

Sure, there are a lot of things that all of us would rather choose to forget, but I’m much better off remembering my old radio.
Life is much sweeter thinking about a time when the Big 10 was really the Big 10, and to recall success during any campaign for the Mountaineers will always be sweet.

And, the best part about all of it is that, in life, there will be many more great memories to store – provided we give them their proper credit.

Count on it.

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