On Friday night, a completely unremarkable college football game produced something extraordinary. The Virginia Tech Hokies didn’t do much to write home about on the field, but on the sideline, a robot celebrated the few points they scored in its own way.
ESPN’s broadcast of Friday night’s Virginia Tech-Duke matchup captured footage of a robot that does pushups for each point Virginia Tech scores. When the Hokies kicked a field goal to go up 3-0 in the first quarter, the robot peeled off three quick pushups to show support for the home team.
This is either a neat, futuristic gimmick or a case of rampant automation claiming another human job. As ESPN’s commentators pointed out, sideline pushups used to be the realm of cheerleaders and mascots. Kansas State University’s mascot Willie the Wildcat, for example, is the king of the touchdown pushup.
Unfortunately, Virginia Tech’s robot didn’t get many other opportunities to strut its stuff in that game. Duke quickly took control over its Atlantic Coast Conference rival and blasted the Hokies to the tune of a 45-10 final score.
But on a night when not a lot went right for the home team, at least we got viral clips of a quadrupedal robot clumsily doing pushups.