GET IN THE GAME
There are a variety of ways to get involved in the life of our Club, regardless of what position you played, when you graduated, where you live now, or what you're doing. Below are some of the main initiatives that we will pursue in 2018-19. With many of these ideas still in their nascent stages, they are very much in experimental mode and will thus rely on your participation and feedback to evaluate their effectiveness and future.
CARRY THE FLAG
As it was when you were 22, so it remains that today's players are ambassadors for both the program and the University each time they run out of the tunnel and take the field, with thousands of eyes in the stands and thru the TV watching - and critiquing - their every move. Not all people are up to this challenge, but Wahoos, by nature, are.
Now in its fourth season, the Flag Bearer program offers a unique opportunity for former players to lead the team onto the field prior to the start of each game, home and away, and to continue to serve as representatives of what our school and team stand for.
Having likely been exposed to this reality firsthand time and time again, your years at the University taught you that the influence of our team and our school travel far beyond the white lines of Scott Stadium. By virtue of wearing the orange and blue across your chest, you automatically assumed a platform to influence change and offer encouragement.
Established in 2016, the Thursday's Heroes program does exactly that by recognizing Wahoo fans who are facing a wide range of circumstances and may need a little support. You can participate in this effort by either submitting a nomination, or by coming to a Thursday practice to see that week's Hero being honored - an image you won't soon forget. While our group is always welcome at practice, make a special point to come out for this.
Being on the coaching and support staffs of a Division 1 football team is far from 9-to-5 job. Countless hours are spent in the office, on the practice field, and on the road. The time and effort required to lead a program and impact lives often keeps our coaches, office staff, trainers, video crew, equipment guys, and academic team away from their friends and families. But they do it because they care.
To show them that we care, the Club sponsors a weekly breakfast. Nothing elaborate, but a simple, high bang-for-buck gesture to show our tangible appreciation for all that they do.
MORE THAN A NUMBER
The theme of "Earned, Not Given" permeates all aspects of the current team. As such, players must earn the right to wear an actual number across their chest (here's a glimpse of the scene when that happens). Regardless of how we ended up with our jersey number(s), those digits inevitably came to mean something every time we saw them hanging in our lockers, stenciled on our shorts, or on the back of some kid in the stands.
In helping to connect our program's past with its present, consider writing a letter about what it was like to wear the orange and blue, and specifically, the number you wore: what it meant to you, and how you made your own. The player currently wearing that number will receive a copy of your letter, as will every future player who represents the same.
PAY IT FORWARD
30+ new first-years arrived on Grounds this summer. They're filled with similar goals, hopes, and hesitations that many of us felt when we first landed in Charlottesville.
On the heels of our summer Alumni + Team Cookout, what might you share with a new guy about our University, our program, and the challenges and opportunities that are about to unfold if you could walk 100 yards with him?
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
It's been anywhere from five months to fifty years since you lined up next to your old teammates and represented the University. And unfortunately, time, distance, and everything else that consumes our day-to-day have a way of getting in the way of those relationships and memories. But regardless of how long you've been out of town or out of touch, you remain a part of the Virginia Football family. Consider taking a minute to update the Club on where you are now.
And not only are old teammates curious, this information serves the dual purpose of aiding our program's recruiting efforts. Football ultimately ends for all of us at some point, and the staff is interested in knowing (and sharing with recruits) where we go and what we do once we walk the Lawn.
PRIMING THE PUMP
As alums, we have firsthand experience and perspective on what it takes to succeed on the field and in the classroom at our University. And because of where we live, what we do, or who we know, a lot of us have exposure to prospective student-athletes that may not yet have been discovered by our coaching staff. While we represent the program's past, these young men will help determine its future. If there's someone that you think our staff should know about, please take a minute to fill out this brief form.
Of course, please be extremely mindful of all relevant NCAA Bylaws.
Contact Justin Anderson, Director of Player Personnel, if you have questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
GAME WATCHING PARTIES
Don't live within an easy drive of an upcoming game but still want to watch the action with some fellow Wahoos? Fear not; the UVA Alumni Association has you covered. UVA Clubs operate in 109 cities, in 36 states in 22 countries. Join up with others in your area and follow the team all season long.