So this years' matchup between the University of Tennessee Volunteers and the Alabama Crimson Tide... The Third Saturday In October, as it is known... actually falls on the fourth Saturday in October. Kind of lame, really, but them's the breaks. However, this year, the game falls on a very special date in history. Octobery 25. This day is known as Saint Crispin's Day. Many a battle have been fought on this day, most notably the Battle of Agincourt in 1425 AD. This battle, which pitted approximately 10,000 Englishmen against as many as 50,000 Frenchmen, is immortalized in Shakespeare's play Henry V.
Just before the battle, Henry V gave a rousing speech to his troops. This speech is known as the Saint Crispin's Day Speech. Against all odds, the English were victorious that day.
So too today do the Volunteers face overwhelming odds. I'm going to attempt to recreate the Saint Crispin's Day Speech in an effort to apply it to our time. It's not going to be anything mind blowingly creative, but hopefully I can add in a litle relevance without destroying the underlying power and meaning of the speech. You can read the real speech in its entirety here. (I strongly encourage you to do so).
JOHN ADAMS: O that we now had here
The vastly superior third string of Alabama
to play on our side to-day
COACH FULMER: What's he that wishes so?
My critic John Adams?
No, my fair sir;
If we are mark'd to lose, we are enow To do our program loss;
and if to win, The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
God's will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if my khakis fit too tight;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires.
But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith, my sir, wish not a man from Bama.
I would not lose so great an honour
As one man more methinks would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, John Adams, through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his records shall be transferred,
And money for gas put into his gym bag;
We would not play in that man's company
That fears his fellowship to play with us.
This day is call'd The Third Saturday in October.
He that wins this day, and comes proud home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam'd,
And rouse him at the name of Neyland.
He that shall win this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say 'To-morrow is The Third Saturday in October'
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say 'These wounds I had on Rival's day.'
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words-
Philip the Coach, Berry and Morley,
Stephens and Moore, Ayers and Foster-
Be in their flowing mugs freshly rememb'red.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And The Third Saturday in October shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that gives his all for Tennessee
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall ensure bragging rights;
And riff-raff of Bama now-a-benched
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not Vols,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That carried the fight this Saturday!
Whoo! Go Vols Beat the Tide!