I am a fan. I cheer and root for my team each game day. If you cut me, I bleed orange. That means that every week I make a huge emotional investment in a game of which I have zero control over the outcome. I don't have the ability to go down on the field and play. I can't coach the players or create schemes and draw up plays to outmaneuver the opposing team. I don't have the athletic ability or the knowledge or experience to do any of those things. Every time they take the field, I entrust my emotional well-being to a group of 80 college students and their teachers.
Except when I am there in person in the stadium. At that moment, I have the ability to make my presence known. I realize that this is usually a very negligible effect. Many times the teams are used to the noise and hostility that comes with playing in a large stadium on the road. But we've all been there when the team we are playing gets affected by the noise and gets confused and loses a play or a series. Or when our teams gets energized by a big play and the fans screaming. Whatever small power I have on those days, its the most control I have.
This Saturday the team ranked #1 in the nation comes to Neyland Stadium to play and I have a ticket. There is every reason to think the game might not be close. Our starting quarterback is out. Our top wide receiver is out. Our starting running back is injured. We have issues on offense, defense, and special teams. But no matter what happens, win or lose, ahead or behind, I will do everything I can to make that visiting team as unwelcome and uncomfortable in that stadium as I possibly can. Whatever power or control I may have, I will use it. I will scream and stomp. I will clap and cheer. I will sing. I will boo the opposing team. I will not walk out of that stadium until the clock says 0:00 (and sometimes not even then as I learned at the Music City Bowl last year). I don't care if the score is within one point or one hundred. I have never left a UT football game with my voice intact.
Even worse than losing, I hate the feeling when it is perceived that the players or the coaches quit. I will not quit on them. I will not leave or stop yelling. I will give my all for Tennessee.