Georgia Tech

The Inspiration Behind 'White Outs:' Cool Video and Blog Revisited...You Inspired Yet?

OK, the time has come. It's GAMEDAY, Week 2. Georgia Tech, on what has felt like the shortest of turnarounds in the history of football (even Paul Johnson admitted Wednesday, this is the first time he's had to prepare for a game on just five games rest), is back for action at Bobby Dodd Stadium. The good news for you Tech fans, is that Clemson is forced to do the same thing this week, so the level of football could be about even on both sides. Either way, I think we're in for quite an emotional Thursday night, ESPN-broadcast, ACC rivalry game. I know I've been ready for this day to come for some time, and it's finally here. As defensive line coach Giff Smith said he told his linemen Sunday: "Now the real season begins."

As you know -- and you most definitely should by now if you're a real die-hard Yellow Jackets fan, if not, I question your fandom...Kidding -- tonight is the second consecutive "White Out" the Institute has planned. The Athletic Association has deemed it a "student sponsored" white out, promoted by the students and organized by the students. But alumni and other fans are greatly encouraged to go on and get decked out in all white, as well. Be it white T-shirts, white dress shirts, white body paint, white hats, white wigs, white sunglasses (yes, even for a night game; they should make you look cool), white jackets (it could get a little chilly)...I think that's about all you'll be able to do with white clothing.

To help you get inspired for the White Out, I'm revisiting my blog post from last November, when the Yellow Jackets held a white out against Miami in what was a 41-23 GT win, and one of the most prolific offensive outings of the year for the Jackets. (The white out has a good track record on The Flats).

Before I get too deep into last year's post, check out this video from a white out at Penn State (the undisputed kings of the college football "white out") from last year. Keep watching because eventually, you'll see the coolest looking wave, ever. I mean, awesome stuff, seriously.

OK, and now for last year's post on the unofficial history of white outs. Enjoy:

Written 11.19.08:

As each of you know by now (You should know this by now, and if you don't, your status as a card-holding member of the Georgia Tech fan club may be revoked. Jokes, of course) Thursday night's ACC/home-finale at Bobby Dodd Stadium will be a "White out." Which means, as the Miami Hurricanes get ready to head out and face the Yellow Jackets, they'll be doing it amid a sea of some 40,000-plus Georgia Tech fans draped in nothing but white clothes, white hats, fake white hair, white body paint and holding white signs which will likely have a plethora of unique acronyms for the letters E.S.P.N. Yes, a White out is descending upon Atlanta late Thursday night, and I'm here in the TechTalk to help you get ready for it.

Announced several weeks ago by athletics director Dan Radakovich in his blog "The Good Word," the White out was designated to occur on Thursday's game with Miami as the intended victim. A home game nationally televised on ESPN, the contest seemed to be the perfect time to unveil such a bold action to unify the entire Georgia Tech community. Ironically, whispers of a potential White out against Miami had actually been circulating on the blogosphere this offseason, with some Georgia Tech message boards reaching a fever pitch of White out discussion in August as the season was beginning, and the Yellow Jackets' new uniforms unveiled. So where did White outs come from? Will this White out work to help Georgia Tech win? How exciting will the atmosphere be? Leave your pregame Comments about the White out, and continue to read along for more about White outs...

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Now, of course, this is not quite the White out that Georgia Tech officials have in mind Thursday, but with temperatures hovering in the mid-30s all night in Atlanta, it could get cold enough for snow. Fans who flock to Bobby Dodd for the White out better come prepared with mittens, gloves, parkas, hats, scarves and the like, because cold weather and Atlantans do not go well together. Having spent four years in the Chicagoland area myself, this Atlanta native can attest to a Georgians' hatred for sights like those above. Sure, it may look all nice and pretty, but come on, it's 30 degrees?!? That's cold!
The True 'White out'
The picture above is the perfect segue into this little history lesson on the true definition of White outs. As you may or may not know, White outs actually refer to the effect that blinding snow storms or blizzard conditions leave, as they blanket everything they touch, covering the earth ... white. Thus, "White-out." To learn even more about traditional White outs, go here and here.

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This, as you can read, is a picture from Penn State's Beaver Stadium, where the students and fans bleached the entire place for a game against Notre Dame. Can Bobby Dodd look like this Thursday?

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....Or what about this?
The Original 'White outs'
While White outs are naturally-occurring weather phenomenon, there have been instances before when the term has been used in sports. We'll look at football usage first.
While it hasn't really been documented, the unofficial king of hosting 'White out' celebrations is Beaver Stadium at Penn State. In Happy Valley, fans, students and boosters find a way to routinely cover the facility in white, providing for an intimate and sometimes intimidating feel for certain key ballgames. While it's not the blackout which fans of Georgia seem to be fond of in recent years, it is still an event that carries certain significance at Penn State and has almost become tradition. Which do you think is better? The blackout or the White out?
But even if college football White outs had a start in Happy Valley, the birthplace of all sporting event White outs is Winnipeg, Canada, where the old Winnipeg Jets began the tradition in 1987. As fans looked to create an intense, energetic atmosphere during the 1987 NHL playoffs, the Jets fans hosted a 'Winnipeg White out' to counter the 'C of red' event fans hosted earlier that postseason in Calgary for the Calgary Flames. You can read a little bit more about the Winnipeg White out here.

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Boy, you've got to love that logo. Check out the airplane there. Solid 70s/80s imagery. It reminds me of the graphics on Georgia Tech's 1980 Media Guide (yes, we have a 1980 Media Guide wandering around the newsroom here. Why? I have no earthly idea, but it definitely shows it's a piece from its times; the early 80s that is. Gotta love it.)
So there you have it. The White out. A time-honored piece of sports, and nature's traditions. If you need any ideas of what to wear in support of the White out tomorrow, check out some of the pictures from a few of the links, and talk to your nearest Penn State fan (as if they're running all over Georgia). Take care Yellow Jacket Nation, I'll see you all tomorrow evening. I hope to see some outlandish White out costumes at Bobby Dodd. I promise you, you'll end up in the blog in some fashion.