In the middle of “Hog Nation” is a lonely place for a Vol fan that shows it so proudly as my wife, a Vandy graduate and proud of it, and I do. This move was not by choice as many military personnel will tell you about their current location. A Volunteer welcome mat greets you as you walk to the front porch. A sign that states Volunteer Fans live here hangs on the door, and inside our house it is hard to find a single area larger than a 3 foot radius that isn’t orange or has a Power T stamped on it. Growing up in East Tennessee has embedded the Vols into our DNA. It’s who we are. That will never change.
Today, as any other day that I am not in uniform, I donned my favorite Tennessee hat and departed to my daily events. I often get the snide remark of, “Boy, you’re in the wrong state”, or “Ill forgive you for your poor choice of teams”. All I do is smile and say proudly, “GO VOLS!” and be on my way. I am not about to get into a defensive conversation over something so petty. I know that they are simply showing their team spirit. The tough times come with the rude fans notice my Orange pride and very disrespectfully have nothing else to say, or yell, “Tennessee Sucks! You guys shouldn’t be in the SEC!” There are other examples but no need in going any further.
It’s sad how quickly people have forgotten our history, our status as one of this nation’s greatest athletic programs. Can you blame them? I know it has not been THAT long in the whole scheme of things that we have been “down” or “re-building” but are we moving in the right direction? I have no answer for this. But I wish for nothing more than to be at least relevant. Is a coaching change the answer? I don’t know the dollar and cents strategy to it all but I am more than willing to do the homework to have a more educated answer. I want to believe again and not just hope and pray during games. Tennessee is not a team that should have to rely on luck.
The wife and I are moving back home to Johnson City in a few short weeks and will have tears of joy in our eyes to see our beautiful mountainous home and know that we are home to stay. I can’t wait to spend fall Saturday’s with family and friends all proudly wearing our Volunteer jerseys. Whether at home with the grill fired up or in the middle of some of the greatest fans in the world at Neyland stadium cheering, for better or worse, we are Vols for Life. Go Big Orange!