There’s an old saying that goes, “dress for the job that you want, not for the one that you have,” implying that, if your attire is on point, then good things will happen. While the city of Charlottesville isn’t the birthplace of the expression, Virginia Cavaliers fans have certainly taken the sentiment to heart. For years now, UVA diehards have attended games decked out in a shirt and tie to distinguish themselves from the pack, and true to form, fortune has favored the school in its endeavors.
While perennial powers such as Duke and North Carolina receive the lion’s share of national attention, the Cavaliers are actually one of the Atlantic Coast Conference’s most consistently competitive members. Since 2002, the Wahoos have captured more than 60 league titles in sports such as soccer, diving, tennis and baseball. For their efforts, the school has placed in the top 30 on the annual Director’s Cup rankings, which recognizes overall excellence in college athletics, over 20 times. However, there’s one trophy that UVA covets more than all the rest.
The Commonwealth Cup is awarded to the winner of the annual football contest between the Cavaliers and the Virginia Tech Hokies. The rivalry itself dates back to 1895, and in 1996, a piece of title hardware was introduced to give the game even greater significance. Truth be told, UVA may actually prefer the old format, as the Cup has an almost-permanent residence in Blacksburg, with the exception of gutsy wins by the Cavs in 1997, ‘98, and ‘03.
Of all the student-athletes to ever don the Orange and Blue, none has made a larger impression than 7-foot 4-inch center Ralph Sampson of the UVA men’s basketball team. During his time in Charlottesville, the Harrisonburg, VA native was named Associated Press National Player of the Year three times, led the school to the Final Four in 1981, and helped the Cavs amass 112 victories in four years. The #1 overall pick in the 1983 NBA Draft, Sampson would go on to be inducted into both the National Collegiate and Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
Whether it’s on the hardwood or the gridiron, Virginia is led into battle by their mighty mascot, Cavman. For extra oomph, the animated exploits of the fearless knight are shown on the scoreboard at Scott Stadium. Watching him vanquish Blue Devils, Tar Heels, and Wolves inspires the Wahoo faithful to dial their enthusiasm up to 11. After touchdowns, UVA fans join together and belt out “The Good Old Song.” With lines such as, “That good old song of Wah-hoo-wah, we’ll sing it o’er and o’er. It cheers our hearts and warms our blood,” it’s evident that the supporters are ready for war, in whatever form it may take. They may not win every match that they enter, but the Cavaliers have proven that an indomitable spirit goes a long way in keeping the troops optimistic that their finest hour is still yet to come.