Breathe deep the gathering gloom....
Cold hearted orb that rules the night, Removes the colours from our sight,
Red is gray and yellow white, But we decide which is right.
And which is an illusion
Pinprick holes in a colourless sky, Let insipid figures of light pass by,
The mighty light of ten thousand suns,
Challenges infinity and is soon gone.
Night time to some a brief interlude, to others the fear of solitude.
Brave Helios wake up your steads,
Bring the warmth the countryside needs.
90 days give or take. For many the clock starts now.
At some point we all question how far we have come.
In military parlance it is often referred to as Bingo....the point where once you drive one more mile, take one more step, move forward just a little more, and you won't have the fuel to make it, the will, the ability: the distance simply to great.
How far have we come?
Some would say that we have fell to far, that we can not recover without someone else at the helm of our craft.
Others will argue that we are doing the right thing, holding the good course and all will be well.
It can be argued that we are all fans no matter how position. However G.K. Chesterton once wrote,
"My country, right or wrong," is a thing that no patriot would think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying, "My mother, drunk or sober."
Are we not patriots of our school? Most assuredly so. There are few fence riders in this debate. We are all for or against our Captain, our Captain for better or worse.
Time is a interesting concept. We can measure it in days, weeks, months years, decades and so on. Depending on ones point of view we have never been as bad as we are now. Others may point to years gone by, like 1891 when our fledgling team lost to every single opponent it faced.Or 1909 when the Volunteers won only a single game.
In my own time I have seen several droughts prior to one many consider our "recent downfall": two 5 game win years, 1978 and 1988. 1982 was only marginally better at 6 wins.
For certain our fan base is torn asunder currently, the fields are cold as are our fellow Vols hearts. We need the warmth of victory for inspiration, and purpose.
We can make the journey, it is the motivation that we as fans lack, a motivation that could be found within if we simply chose. However like children we must be shown, we must be led, the water presented to us. We must then choose to drink or not.
I wrote once that Knoxville was not the capital of the SEC but that it should be.
That still holds true today. For it is not victories alone that create a myth. It is not simply the successes of an individual that put them down in to the pages of history as the things of legend.
But rather it is the trials, the tribulations that that individual, that group pushes through forward and conquers when all else falls upon them and around them.
General George Patton said ti best.
"I don’t measure a man’s success by how high he climbs but how high he bounces when he hits bottom.""
So the question comes back again...just how far have we come? We are certainly no worse than we were last year or the year before. In fact this may be the first year we have seen even a whisper of stability in almost 4 years.
I wager you: no amount of grumbling, cursing the night, railing at the sky or balling of fists will change the current status quo. Love him, or hate him Dooley is our coach for this season.
You can dislike him all you wish, however do not discount the drive of those men who follow him.
In August on the field that so many have played and bled on before the Volunteer T will part, and that Captain will shout
"Forward the Light Brigade! Charge for the Guns!"
Will they be victorious? Or will they fall?
Only time will tell.
But until that time, win or lose, succeed or fail and after; count me Volunteer.