Saturday night rush hour

The heroic actions of some fans following last weekend’s Virginia football victory ensured that celebration did not turn into tragedy

SATURDAY'S game against Georgia Tech was the perfect way to celebrate Homecomings weekend - you know, other than putting orange sashes around trees.

The atmosphere on the hill as everyone waited to rush the field was positively electric and in that moment I felt remarkably unified with the hundreds of people crowded around me. That unity broke down, however, the second that things started to go wrong.

Not everyone knows this, but the corner of the hill next to the student section turned into a massive pileup of people as everyone tried to rush the field. I do not know how the problem started, but once it did, it only got worse and worse.

Imagine that on your way down to the field you found yourself being thrown up and grated against the wall, unable to move or stop the hundreds of people pressing up against you and realizing that you are seconds away from landing on someone and having everyone else land on you. Well, that is what happened to me. Tons of other students were literally stacked on top of one another, and the pressure from everyone trying to make it to the field kept adding bodies to the pile.

Fortunately, my friends and I were some of the lucky ones, walking away with only cuts, bruises, ripped clothes and one broken finger. While the pain was excruciating, the panic of not knowing what would happen, or what had happened, to my friends and younger sister was unbearable. I almost broke down when I witnessed one girl being carried off the hill completely limp and motionless followed by her sobbing friends.

The only way that I was able to keep from being crushed was thanks to Saturday's true heroes. As cheesy as it sounds, these were the people that made me proud to be a Cavalier. I am referring to those who stopped their charge to the field to help others. I personally want to thank the stranger in the stands who completely held me up, telling me, "I will not let you fall," and keeping his cool when I was being mangled up against the wall. I could not even get my feet on the ground because of the pressure of the pile of people under me; all I could do was say, "I'm so scared," repeatedly. He also helped another person in front of me, talking him through getting his leg unpinned from the wall while holding us both up.

Also, thank you to the man who was able to pull my younger sister up onto the wall when she thought her ribs were going to snap from the pressure pushing her against the wall. This thanks also goes out to all of those who were pulling people out from underneath one another and those who stopped in their tracks and made everyone back up, thus relieving the pressure and allowing everyone who was being trampled to stand.

As much as this seems like common sense, I was completely shocked by what I saw. Many people who realized the situation kept running or pushing - I still shake just thinking about the fully grown man who stepped on a girl's head and continued running onto the field.

The actions of Saturday's heroes were not a given; those individuals could have kept going onto the field to celebrate with their fellow Wahoos. By choosing to stop, they gave up an excellent story about the time they high-fived Mike London or climbed on the goalpost, so I wanted to display their story here. These people showed true bravery and selflessness, putting themselves in danger to help others.

This thanks is not meant to demean the spectacular work of the football team or detract from the amazing time had by everyone who made it onto the field. Just remember, when you discuss the game and the amazing football players who made it possible, please remember to include those who literally saved the lives of strangers.

Emma Buck is a fourth-year College student.


Published October 17, 2011 in Opinion

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Commentary

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Realist
(10/17/11 4:03pm)
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These things happen. Stay away from the field if you do not wish to enter a mob scene, this is why they warn you. I will gladly break a finger to beat the #12 team in the country....


ElBelfo
(10/17/11 10:04pm)
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Alrighty Realist, let's see if I can follow your logic. If a collegiate sports team beats another collegiate sports team that is ranked higher in a poll, then it is acceptable for a fat man in flip flops to tromp on a little girl's head and another man in an orange sweatshirt to break a girl's hand? What, pray tell, is the acceptable injury level for winning the ACC Championship? Lacerated spleen, disembowelment? Just need to know for my next visit.


Poacher
(10/18/11 12:37am)
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I heard the police closed off the sides of the hill after the initial rush to only let the middle part funnel out onto the field, causing massive jams next to the stands and as we have heard, hyperventilation, loss of consciousness and injuries. If so, terrible judgment exhibited by PD.


Ron Wiley Jr.
(10/18/11 3:04am)
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Let's hope a group of concerned bright young minds from our beloved University can figure out ways to help prevent such problems in the future when youthful exuberance (which I wholeheartedly endorse) overtakes caution and official warnings. Much better that than to let an official reaction try to prevent such celebrations altogether. We're better than that, fellow Wahoos! Let's also hope we have other opportunities to found out how creative our problem-solving can be. (Hear that, Hokies?)


Wahoowa
(10/21/11 8:10pm)
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The police didn't close off the sides. People slipped in the mud and then the security was trying to motion everyong to go through the middle so that they could pull those people out from under the pil up. I watched the rush from the student section stands so I saw it as it was happening. A girl was literally carried up the hill, completely limp after being trampled. I hope she's ok...



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