From the Cheap Seats: Mountaineer Nation Goes Online - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

From the Cheap Seats: Mountaineer Nation Goes Online

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***Disclaimer: This column includes quotes from a variety of Twitter accounts. I take no responsibility for others' inability to spell. If bad grammar highly offends you, turn back now.***

Call me old-fashioned or better yet, call me busy, but I've been about as far from the cutting edge of social media as someone could be. I didn't know a Facebook "wall" from a twitpic. Then my company made Facebook and Twitter accounts mandatory for on-air personalities. Because I supervise these folks, it meant that I quickly had to hop on the online bandwagon to make sure my employees were "tweeting" and "Facebooking" appropriately.

I set up the Facebook page first. I had the twentysomethings at work help me set the security on ultra high so that no one can find me. It's not that I have a deep, dark past or secretly work for the CIA, it's just that I don't need to know every thought of random people from high school, who I really didn't like back then.

So what does any of this have to do with Mountaineer athletics, you ask? While I haven't done much with my Facebook page, I'm pretty much addicted to Twitter, for one reason: WVU sports.

The evening of the Orange Bowl is great example of why. Many current and former Mountaineer athletes, and the folks who cover them, are very active on Twitter.

Former quarterback and basketball player @JarrettBrownQB started the evening off by letting all of his followers know that Noel Devine was joining him in Miami for the game. @Steve Slaton and Pat White were there too.

With the ‘Eers down 14-7, WVU's Director of New Media @JohnAntonik tweeted: "It looks like West Virginia is going to have to keep scoring to keep up with these guys." Knowing what we know now, the statement seems almost absurd, but at the time, he was dead on.

Score we did, leading to this surprisingly honest tweet from the official bowl account, @OrangeBowl: "T. Austin is going straight beast mode right now carrying the #Clemson D into the endzone 21-17."

Throughout the game, as records fell, @WVUSportsBuzz and @JohnAntonik provided fun facts and trivia like: "Smith's five TD passes ties a WVU bowl record(Brad Lewis vs. Mississippi, Music City Bowl, 2000.)" Lewis' name doesn't come up in conversation too often, but thanks to that Tweet, great memories of a cold day in Nashville(beating a young Eli Manning and sending Don Nehlen off into the sunset) came flooding back.

Up 49-20 at the half, WVi's own Geoff Coyle(@GFCoyle) gave us a media perspective: "I feel like I should be writing a postgame article and doing interviews. Instead I'm getting ready for a second half. Unbelievable."

As the points mounted, I(@AwilliWBOY) got in on the tweeting action: "New subplot…which Mountaineer team scores more tonight…basketball or football?" Apparently it wasn't a unique thought as former Mountaineer Wellington Smith(@GWells35) said, "WVU football is bout to outscore our basketball team."

Wells wasn't the only hoopster to weigh in. Fresh off of a big win over Rutgers, @TruckBryant25 offered this: "Good win 2night and looks like the football team doing the same thanks for the support real fans goodnight." Then his former backcourt mate, @Jmazzulla21 chimed in: "#Mountaineers always prevail!!!"

It wasn't all about scores and records though. It's been a tough week at WVi and WBOY-TV, as 40-year-old production worker Greg "Murph" Murphy lost his fight with cancer. Murph wasn't in to sports. The only thing that really interested him about the Mountaineers was how the tapings of The Dana Holgorsen Show or The Bob Huggins Show affected his lunch hour. Many of his co-workers are big WVU fans and a few hours of distraction from grieving for a wonderful guy lost too soon, was a welcome escape. One of his best friends, who had barely been able to speak since Murph's passing, let his voice be heard through Twitter: "I needed something to cheer me up…Thank you Mountaineers!"

As the game ended, Twitter lit up like postgame fireworks. Eccentric kicker/punter @PatMcAfeeShow bluntly said: "All we do is win BCS Games." Former Mountaineer star and long-time NFLer @ John Thornton kept it very simple, tweeting "They didn't respect us," along with a link to a Youtube video illustrating his point.

Even our future home, @Big12Conference had something to contribute: "Congrats to future #Big12 member #WestVirginia on its 70-33 @OrangeBowl win over Clemson." Strangely, the Big East's official tweeters offered no congratulatory messages.

Another former Mountaineer star, @Anthony_Becht, had our new conference in mind: "#Big12 get your mind right for next year. #wvufootball just set the tone for 2012. Lol get to ride this one out till next Sept. Haha."

As the celebrations continued, WVi's Geoff and Scott were hard at work, using @wvillustrated to send out this quote from Defensive Coordinator Jeff Casteel: "I Hope I'm Going to Be Back."

Long after the final Mountaineer's final musket shot rang out, a couple of former Mountaineers who are representing WVU in the professional ranks, got caught up on all the excitement: @DevinEbanks3: "I kno I'm so late but congrats too my mountaineer boys!!! #mountaineernation prolly #burningcouches rite now lol." All the way from Japan, twitter-aholic John Flowers(@JFlow41) joined the fun: "watchin the rerun of this game cheering like I don't already kno the outcome."

The online celebration continued into Thursday morning as @JohnAntonik posed the question: "Which BCS win sweetest, Sugar, Fiesta or Orange?" My favorite response: "Picking a favorite BCS win is like trying to choose your favorite child. You love them all the same but different."

A re-tweet from @TonyCaridi brought an unexpected comment from golfer John Daly(@PGA_JohnDaly): "Just wandering if you tweeps don't know where West Virginia is located…just check the endzone! #geography."

It doesn't replace actual face-to-face human contact, but the beauty of Twitter is that Mountaineer fans can share in wonderful victories with friends and fellow fans, Mountaineer greats and program insiders, anywhere in the world where internet service is available.

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