MORGANTOWN - The college football season arrives here Saturday and with it all of the traditions and grandeur the fanatics hunger for throughout the seemingly interminable offseason.
The tailgates and watch parties, the marching bands and the mascots, the toss sweep and the deep slant all hit the shore with the sole purpose to party with us for the next four months.
And while it feels like everyone is looking forward to kickoff, and maybe now more than ever at West Virginia, where the Mountaineers are ranked No. 11 in the preseason and ready for the Big 12 Conference debut, not everyone has the same inspiration.
Maybe you want the keg stands in the parking lot or the chants from the crowd in the stadium. Curtis Feigt sees something else.
"College football," he said, "is about a big opportunity."
Feigt is the physically intimidating, intellectually reassuring backup right tackle for the Mountaineers. He is a gigantic man, 6 feet, 7 inches tall and 320 pounds, who happens to know his judo. You know he can handle himself on the outside in an offense that is always protecting against pass rushers.
Yet he's as sharp as a Tavon Austin cut in the open field and his coaches and teammates know he can handle all the concepts and responsibilities thrown his way. Feigt graduated in three years, had a GPA better than 3.6 in criminology and is on his way to a master's degree. Yet he's also been in America for just five years after growing up in Schoenfeld, Germany.
What's cherished in our country on Saturday's in the fall is still somewhat new to Feigt.
"Back at home, we really don't have the fan base or anything like it," he said. "The most people I ever played in front of was about 3,000 people back home. My high school was a private school, so all the fans were people living in the area and obviously the students, but it wasn't more than 300 people. "Now playing for 60,000 or 70,000 people, it's definitely a really big difference and it leaves a big impression on you.
Everything that goes on around football, that's not happening at home. It's a much different culture than what I experienced back home."
Feigt came to the United States during his junior year of high school as part of a partnership program run by Global Football and USA Football.
Feigt, who discovered football back home after a cousin started a cheerleading club and invited him to watch the club in action, played as a junior at Mercersburg (Pa.) Academy.
"I just thought I'd be playing for a year and I didn't even expect to go to college here or even play my senior year," Feigt said. "After my junior year, my high school coach thought I was a pretty good asset to the team and he talked to the administrative guys and the financial aid guys to see if they could get me another year so I could continue high school and help the team."