Hoos find love in Hokie land
NARROWS — Sometimes in life, the strongest relationships are those forged while navigating enemy waters.
Such could be said for Clay and Amanda Crumpler, who discovered each other bleeding navy and orange while swimming in a sea of Chicago maroon.
Both diehard UVa fans, the two lifelong New River Valley residents bonded over their passion for the Cavaliers and today plan to attend their first Virginia versus Virginia Tech football game as man and wife.
“It was a rare find, to find a UVa fan around here,” Clay Crumpler said.
Clay, a 2010 graduate of Narrows High School, said he first met Amanda, a 2011 Pulaski High School grad, through a group of mutual friends just more than a year ago.
Their first date was a walk through Randolph Park, which he said went well, but not nearly as well as their conversation a few days later, which drifted to the topic of sports and revealed their shared passion.
“It was kind of like we were perfect for each other,” Amanda Crumpler said.
Televised Cavalier sporting events soon became a staple date for the couple, who celebrated their first Valentine’s Day by attending Virginia’s 61-59 men’s basketball victory over Tech at Cassell Coliseum. About two months later, they tied the navy-and-orange knot, quite literally.
“We had a Cavalier wedding,” Amanda Crumpler said of the occasion’s decor.
Today as the two enter Lane Stadium for the first time as Mr. and Mrs. Crumpler, they aren’t exactly expecting a joyful reception from the home crowd and would prefer not to have rice, or anything else, thrown in their direction.
Rather, the two kindred spirits expect the same ribbing from their rivals they have experienced their entire lives.
Clay Crumpler said his fandom began around age 9 as a result of the influence of his cousin Aaron McCroskey.
“When I was little, I pretty much copied everything my cousin done,” Clay Crumpler said.
So when McCroskey began to pull for the Cavaliers, Clay Crumpler followed suit and never looked back.
Much like her husband, Amanda Crumpler’s Wahoo obsession stemmed from her cousins, who she said were always trying to be different from the home crowd. Unlike Clay Crumpler, however, Amanda Crumpler said her loyalty began in kindergarten.
Though joyfully dedicated to their team, the couple admitted that growing up in love with Mr. Jefferson’s university, fewer than 30 miles from Blacksburg, wasn’t always the easiest of scenarios.
“We’re in Tech territory. It was rough, especially during football season,” Clay Crumpler said.
“Everyone at Pulaski is pretty much a Tech fan. Everybody rubbed it in your face,” his wife added.
Clay Crumpler said even one of his favorite teachers in high school, Tech alumnus and former Hokie football player
Joe Fraley, frequently reminded the student of his chosen team’s shortcomings.
“Every time UVa lost and I had his class the next day, I never heard the end of it,” Clay Crumpler said.
Fraley admitted that was the case, but was quick to point out that the pupil who once changed his teacher’s computer screensaver to read “UVa is # 1” could dish it out as good as he could take it.
“He never tried to hide the fact that he was a diehard UVa fan,” Fraley said.
Not making the climate any more endurable was the fact that only once could either Clay or Amanda Crumpler remember witnessing their favorite team come out on the winning end of the gridiron rivalry, the Cavaliers’ 35-21 victory in 2003.
That lone bright spot, along with the bragging that following Monday, was something Amanda Crumpler remembered as her proudest moment as a Cavs fan.
“I wore all my UVa stuff to school, and I got to go to school and brag to everyone,” she said.
Fraley said he always enjoyed the back-and-forth taunting with Clay Crumpler and that depending on the game’s outcome today, he fully expects Clay Crumpler to do some similar bragging.
“I’m sure if UVa wins, he’ll look me up,” Fraley said.
With the Cavaliers having an opportunity to deny the Hokies a sixth win and bowl eligibility for the first time since 1992, both Clay and Amanda Crumpler admitted the outcome of this year’s contest felt more significant than many in years past.
“Getting them [Hokie fans] to shut up for a year — that would be extremely satisfying,” Clay Crumpler said.
Both Crumplers have also spent some time thinking about just how they would like to celebrate a Wahoo victory amidst their Hokie neighbors.
“One of the first things I’m going to do is go door-to-door to all their houses … and rub it in their face like they do me every year,” he said.
Amanda Crumpler said she also plans to have very little mercy on her Tech-loving family members at this season’s holiday gatherings.
“I can tell my family that are Tech fans during Christmas, we won and y’all lost, so y’all don’t have nothing to say till next year,” she said.
Though the couple acknowledges that having such passion for Virginia while living in Hokie country is a bit like swimming against the current, they will gladly tell you they have no plans to set sail.
Amanda Crumpler is working toward becoming an RN, with hopes of one day working at a New River Valley hospital, while Clay Crumpler plans to continue his pursuit of teaching and pastoral degrees.
“I want to teach and preach. My ultimate dream is to do all that at Narrows High School,” Clay Crumpler said.
Albeit in a classroom completely decked out in navy and orange, he added.
The Roanoke Times | 381-1643
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