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Diane Tarantini: I bleed green – and blue and gold

To me, living in West Virginia these days can feel a bit like Civil War times. Because of the division between Marshall and West Virginia University sports fans.

As I sit in my 106-year-old Sears “kit house” and scroll through Facebook, I see a rivalry that can be vicious, especially during football and basketball seasons.

My stance on the subject is complicated. I was born in Huntington and grew up there. My father taught psychology at Marshall for decades, first in Old Main, and later in Harris Hall. Whenever he took me to basketball games in the Field House, I brought along my green and white pompoms from Dan’s Sport Shop. I remember the Marshall plane crash all too well.

Not only that, but two of my older brothers graduated from Marshall. My oldest brother, though, graduated from Concord College and later from the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine in Lewisburg.

When it came time for me to pick a college, my mind was set on attending Miami University of Ohio. Not only is the campus lovely, but, more importantly, it was three-and-a-half hours from home.

However, at the end of my freshman year when my grade point average was abysmal, I asked my parents if I could transfer to an in-state school. For some reason that I don’t remember today, I chose WVU. Maybe because it was three-and-a-half hours from home.

After graduating, I went away, like so many folks do. Briefly to North Carolina. Then to Washington, D.C., for a few years, until the crime rate, high cost of living and terrible traffic caused me and my forever honey, Tony, to relocate to Cincinnati.

Three years later, Tony asked me to consider moving back to West Virginia, to take over the family business located in Morgantown, so his parents could retire.

Believing myself a big city girl, I balked at the idea. To sway me, Tony came up with a compromise: “If either of us hates it after the first year, we’ll move somewhere else.”

His suggestion seemed reasonable, so I agreed. That was 24 years and so many pepperoni rolls ago.

It seems the time I spent away from West Virginia made my heart grow fonder for it. In every season, these mountains are gorgeous. And in my opinion, you won’t find finer people anywhere. Every chance I get, I tell folks I live in the “Best” Virginia. If you don’t believe me, check my Instagram account.

So really, I don’t care who wins when Marshall plays WVU in football or basketball. Since I’m a fan of both schools, I’m happy either way. Then there’s the fact that my Tony is a Division I college football official. For this reason, during football season, the only game I really care about is the game he’s working.

Lifestyles columnist Diane Tarantini is a freelance writer and blogger who lives in Morgantown. Check out her blog, “Diane Tarantini: Feeding Women Wisdom,” at www.dianetarantini.com. She can be reached at writingdianet@gmail.com.


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