The Hokie Effect

Nick Flaherty's official game-day Hokie fan attire From Z. Kelly Queijo:

Officially, the Hokie Effect is a program designed to promote school spirit while raising money to support Virginia Tech's Student Government Association and related projects. But, if you've ever worn the school's colors of maroon and orange or VT-emblazoned clothing outside of the RNR – the Roanoke and New River Valley of Virginia - then, you've most likely experienced the “Hokie Effect” first-hand.

Nick Flaherty, an Edward Jones financial advisor, found himself elevated from ordinary business traveler to Hokie Superstar in just a matter of minutes while on a business trip in the fall of 2008. Like loyal fans who can't attend a game in person, Nick set off in search of a sports bar hoping to catch the Virginia Tech/Miami football game on TV.

Wearing official game-day fan attire – a Hokie cap and shirt – Nick hit the streets of San Francisco. Not long after, a group of people, similarly attired, yelled “Go Hokies!” and crossed the street to join him. A few introductions later, they headed off to a small, unassuming place called The Bus Stop Bar.

When they arrived, Michigan fans packed the room, engrossed in the end of the Michigan/Ohio game. As soon as that game ended, the room emptied and a tidal wave of Virginia Tech fans washed in, drenching the bar in maroon and orange.

“People were standing on stools, hanging Virginia Tech banners and streamers. They took just over the bar,” Nick recalled. “When they were done, the place looked like an official Hokie Club.”

Nick learned that this is a tradition among many of the Virginia Tech alumni living in San Francisco. One alum told him, “We have a group of people and we meet at this bar for every single Hokies game.” On non-game days, they stay connected through email.

“You couldn't move in there,” said Nick. “I sat with three guys – one who graduated in 1958, one from the class of '72, and a young fellow who had just graduated in spring of 2008. They welcomed me like I was one of them, even though I did not go to Tech.”

Nick officially became “one of them” by getting added to their email list and for winning the prize as the person who had traveled the greatest distance to be there. “They went wild when they learned I was from Blacksburg.”

Sharing something in common with others is the foundation of relationships built both online and offline. Whether draped in maroon and orange or stated in a 140 characters on Twitter, that's how one "gets found." And the outcome? A win, of course.


Z. Kelly Queijo writes about business and technology, people and their passions.  She is a frequent contributor to Handshake 2.0.  You can follow her on Twitter, @zkellyq.

Waterproof Handshake
All-Twitter Handshake


  1. Hans Bernhardt says:

    I am the organizer of the football game watching at “The Bus Stop” in San Francisco, and must say that they have been awesome in making sure us SF Bay Area HOKIES, 2800 miles from home, HAVE a home in SF to watch the games. The HOKIES out here are awesome too! We have averaged about 25+ per game, with as high as 50. Every game has had at least one new HOKIE to the area, or visiting HOKIE. This year we have a group of dedicated volunteers who are planning to help invigorate our Alumni Association chapter out here with more activity, including social and volunteer events! Stay tuned for more! GO HOKIES!

  2. Hans, thank you for commenting! I loved Nick’s story and after he told me about his trip to SF, I had to write about it.
    I hope my travels take me to SF during football season!



  3. For more information on the alumni chapter in the San Francisco Bay Area, or on other chapters around the world, go to these links:

    SF Bay Area –

    All Chapters –

Speak Your Mind