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Jackets fans flock to the Mason Building

Tommy and Julie OrrThough the result was not what we'd hoped for, the celebrations that preceded the September 26 match-up between the Jackets and the Hokies lived up to a long tradition of lively tailgating events at the Mason Building.

Starting at about 3 p.m., the parking lot came alive with current and longtime Jackets fans, who brought all manner of food, fun, and reminiscences from past games.

"We are rabid Tech fans. We bleed yellow," quipped Tommy Orr, a season ticket holder who married his wife, Julie, during a pre-game tailgating event in 2009. (Their union was officiated by the associate pastor for the Georgia Tech Athletics Department of course.)

"My dad used to take me to games here when Bobby Dodd was the coach, and my son [Alex] didn't apply to any other school. He said 'If I can't go to Tech, I'll go nowhere.'"  

His son, Alex, graduated from Georgia Tech in 2010. Julie's son, Corey Tomala, graduated in 2006.

Young and old, almost everyone who showed up to support the Jackets heeded the call to wear white. Fourth year Georgia Tech students Alyssa Nordin and Kaitlyn Johnson were resplendent in their sun dresses, while  Larry (GT '73) and Dianne Wylie  went for the ever-popular Jackets t-shirts. Dianne made her outfit "pop" by donning a Buzz choker necklace.

"I've had it for years," she said. "It used to be a ring, so when it broke, I turned it into a necklace."

Did we mention that Jackets fans are resourceful?

Though he couldn't make it to all of the many tailgating events on Thursday, Georgia Tech President G.P. "Bud" Peterson did don the Institute's colors for a stroll to the stadium. His walk was gleefully interrupted by cheers from enthusiastic fans who were stuck in traffic on 10th Street.

Proving Jackets fans are nothing if not big-hearted, Steve Lavy, ChemE '96, continued a perverse  tradition of bringing his old friend, Mike Hayes, a Hokies fan, to the game.

"Every year we do this," said Lavy. "I go to Blacksburg and he comes here. We just try to make each other miserable."

From the smiles on their faces, it looks like both men were failing that goal.

If you missed this opportunity to cheer on the Jackets, don't forget that the Homecoming game is Saturday, November 2. There will be tailgating and a special celebration of the newly renovated Mason Building that day. Check the ESPN listings a week before the game to get the kickoff time.