Students' return
puts G-Vegas in full swing

by Eric Gilmore

Greenville Blvd. is a continuous logjam. Jersey Mike's is slammed for lunch. Dorm (you can’t make me say residence hall) elevators are already broken. The financial aid office has a line of people extended so far that I have play red rover when I want grab something at the dining hall. Finally, the Greenville is G-Vegas again.

Summer is fun. Tanning poolside makes the time crawl. Hitting up the beach is therapeutic, too. But it doesn’t compare to the hustle and bustle that is ECU and Greenville during the academic year.

I even saw an early 1970's Volkswagen shagwagon cruising down Fourth St. yesterday. It’s 2005. I laughed when I glanced over and knew the guy. You’re not going to see any VW buses in Rocky Mount or Wilson.

This is Greenville. This college town captures people. Yes, sometimes it spits them out. But the majority of people find an unexplainable attachment to what it represents. It’s the fun (I didn’t say party) atmosphere combined with the southern hospitality.

Another year also means a roundup of new students. Impressionable blondes with their protective fathers were moving in furniture over the weekend. They were lugging up futons that will serve as the backdrop for some crazy stories.

But their youth also marks a sign of naiveté. This new freshmen class doesn’t know about John Thompson’s two-year joke. Being high school sophomores in Ohio or New Jersey, they probably don’t remember that Marshall debacle.

Aside from the freshmen, the entire undergraduate student body has experienced seven total wins. The sophomore and junior classes have only watched the Pirates win home games against Army and Tulane last season.

It is up to a select few diehard students to turn the lackadaisical attitude around. These born and bred Pirate fans know what the atmosphere was like and can be again. They long for it to be that way again.

Of course, winning solves everything. But in order to really make the change, people have to be ready when the victories do occur. Finally, that is starting to happen.

Students have realized it is time to make a difference. I spent all yesterday (and probably will do again today) trying to sign people up for the Student Pirate Club. Luckily for me, I didn’t have to say much.

There was a constant line of both new members and old, picking up their season tickets, decals and t-shirts. The volunteers couldn’t keep up with the demand. The people in line bought and were wearing Pirate Nation bracelets.

These freshmen are ready for big-time college football. There are 2,500 members expected to become student members. Of those, over 1,000 students are expected to attend the social on Thursday night at 6:30 p.m. where Skip Holtz will be the featured guest.

Holtz made an appearance at Pirate Palooza last night. Before classes even start, he was already busy swaying the minds of mostly on-campus students. He mingled with the same kids that will serve the future of ECU athletic funding.

That is, of course, after they go to class and graduate. Maybe then, they can laugh at their kids driving that shagwagon.

Eric Gilmore