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Trash Talking TJ Welcomes a New Football Season

The UVA "Founder" has some unkind words for this weekend’s opponent...and the marching band.

A Journey Through Hallowed Ground Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

Dear Sirs,

The days have begun to grow shorter upon the mountain that overlooks our fair institution. My bedchamber windows are illuminated by the torches that make night into day at Mr. Scott’s Stadium. When the weather conditions are most unfortunate, I can hear the infernal racket of that so-called “Marching Band” that is anything but a musical conglomeration worth lending an ear to. I have written many letters demanding that those students take up proper drum and fife music as is the custom of the times, but have heard no progress in this regard.

Has my letter carrier gotten lost on his way to the Rotunda? Are letters to the Visitors being sent to an alternate location while the building was under repair from what I assume was yet another fire? Is the Rivanna no longer able to be easily forded on horseback? Must I appear in person to make my entreaties heard - which at my advanced age would be quite an undertaking?

All of these are indications that we are beset by the commencement of another academic year, and the great, violent contests that occupy the time of a select few gentlemen-scholars on the field, and a great many more in the surrounding gallery.

I understand that we have dispensed with the prior leader of our team and brought in a frontiersman named after a horse. These are extraordinary times at our dear university. While I confess my knowledge of the affairs of the athletic directorship is limited these days, I will apply renewed attention to this matter. I have always been a firm believer that the gentlemen at our fine university should be guided by members of the landed gentry. I am willing to look askance in this situation, however, given the previous years have been filled with untold consternation and misery. If this horse-whispering wild man and his band of merry rogues can do the job, we will be better for it. Do be sure that the students are not distracted from their lessons in Latin and Greek, though, by wild stories of fur trading.

In perusing the news of the day, I have come to know that this weekend our fair university shall host the team from Richmond College, a fine school for the training of Baptist ministers, but no match for the learned men that toil in the service of our great university. I remain suspicious of these young gentlemen from the Commonwealth’s capital. They take in their lessons far too close to the statehouse, and its corrupting influences. Keep your eyes upon them, for I would not suffer any amount of shock if they were to resort to diabolical chicanery. They must be turned aside with all due haste and returned to the pit of deceit that is their home.

I will train my ears upon the glowing horizon tomorrow evening, and do expect to hear much shouting from our devotees. Hopefully enough to drown out the hullabaloo emanating from the marching band.

Your humble servant,

Thomas Jefferson