"To the winner, there is one hundred percent elation, one hundred percent laughter, one hundred percent fun. And to the loser, the only thing left for him is one hundred percent resolution, and one hundred percent determination.
It’s a game – and I think – a great deal like life, in that it demands a mans personal commitment, be it toward excellence, be it toward victory; even though you know that ultimate victory can never be completely won. Yet it must be pursued with all of one’s might. And each week, theres a new encounter; each year, a new challenge. But all of the rings and all of the money; all of the color and all of the display; they linger only in the memory. "
– Vince Lombardi
There's no denying it.It may be said that our opponents may not have been in the same category as ourselves, but they battled and fought for pride, for ego, for self just as we did. The days, and weeks leading up to the game we may have derided the words "easy win", FCS, Cupcake, and may have even said such games should be beneath us. However there is no way to ignore or refute the elation as the clock ran down and our Vols were declared victorious.
There is but one winner, one loser, one victor, one loss, and there are no points for second place. We may look at individual stats and say one played harder than another. We may look at team stats and say another out performed one. But in the end it does not change that mark on our score chart for the season, or the mark on theirs.
How many times have we been the dejected ones? Walking away, hands hung in misery, and agony? Pained not just for ourselves but for the men on the field who represent us and our way of life?
How often have we felt thus pulls at our emotions, where we want to run on to the field screaming at any who would listen "It was ours! We earned this!", the injustice of it all?
Not this time.
For this time we walk proud, and assured. The upcoming season is bright. There may be thunder in the distance but for now the skies are clear, the sun bright. We know that at the next turn it could be us, but for us, for this moment, all of that is gone.
We want this feeling again. We want the exuberance. We want to be part of that adrenaline, that excitement, to have that crushing weight lifted from our shoulders and hearts as we roll over our opponents like so much debris.
The critics will howl. They will attempt to diminish our victory. That is the nature of carion, to attempt to raise their own place in life, to deny the success that was given in suplication to their own failures as the one in the arena.
This moment is ours, forever more. The decision was made, the fates smiling, and our opponets found wanting.
Winston Churchill said that "When you are winning a war almost everything that happens can be claimed to be right and wise."
Its true we went for fourth down conversions. It can be argued we struggled with our punts.. It can be alleged that we had interceptions. Nevertheless, we won the war.
Will we feel the same at our next loss, should the events unfold similarly? Who knows. For now none of this matters, and the elation we have has yet to subside by time, or analysts cold rationale.
We will cheer, and light the fires. We will hold up our success for these days and relish the appearance of our next challenger. We will chant, and shout our heroes names, sing our songs loudly, and with vigor. Will inspire fear in the hearts of those would be usurpers and show them that Neyland Stadium is not home to one man, one team, but an army off those who call themselves Volunteers.
The ground will shake with our feet, and the heavens will roar for our applause. The past transgressions are forgotten for now, and the moment is alive, vibrant, this time, this moment, held forever strong.
For we are Volunteers, and we are Victorious.