A good ole time

New documentary explores Virginia football traditions, University

Yes, the Virginia football team just lost to Duke for the third season in a row. With such recent success, some students may have forgotten that the team has seen better days. Both its long history and the way it has shaped the traditions at the University are detailed in the documentary Wahoowa: The History of Virginia Cavalier Football, which showed this weekend during the Virginia Film Festival.

Wahoowa starts with the origins of football in the United States and moves on to explain the many traditions that are still in place today at the University, such as how the rallying cry "Wahoowa" came to be, how Virginia chose the colors orange and blue and how the Cavalier became its mascot.

The film offers surprising insight into how the University changed the early game of football, as well. William Lambeth, who served as athletic director during the early 1900s and is namesake of Lambeth Field, and former University President Edwin Alderman, who served concurrently with Lambeth, proposed changes to the game during their tenure to improve safety. For example, Lambeth suggested that the game be played in four quarters to limit injuries from exhaustion. The change became standard for leagues nationwide, and games have maintained the same structure ever since.

Using remarkable interviews with historians and descendants of some of the first Cavaliers, Wahoowa details these early days of Virginia football, as the team became the South's premier program and challenged northern powers Yale and Princeton.

After discussing how the foundations of football at the University were laid, the documentary follows the progression of the team through its more modern history and discusses the time legends "Bullet Bill" Dudley and George Welsh spent with the team. During the 1950s, the team went through the longest losing streak in college football history before ascending to No. 1 in the country in 1990. The documentary lost some of its appeal during its account of the team's most recent years, but it offered powerful details about the football team's early history.

Tracing the football team's results through its history leaves the impression that Virginia has achieved nearly everything - good and bad

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