I broke my lucky hat yesterday.
For 15 years I've worn it to games, and Tennessee events. I let my emotions get the better of me with Tyler's last throw for a interception to Georgia.
As the ball came obviously far from our receiver and the Georgia player dived I grabbed it's brim and flung it to the floor in anguish. The plastic band in the rear that fasten split directly down the middle. Probably from me repeating that action on other occasions.
That's not a complaint. Its actually a backhanded compliment.For the last four years Tennessee football has been comparatively dismal. I'm often seen as a cheerleader, and rightfully so. Last night I was anything but.
I turned on the game thinking we would lose.
My traditional bet with my friend from home of cigars I almost backed out on.
I was cracking jokes that it would be slaughter, having been at the Akron game holding my head in my hands thanking deities for allowing us to win.
I texted a friend of mine who had sent me that he was rooting for us to be prepared for heart ache.
I betrayed the faith.
I expected slaughter. I got trench warfare.
The title is an old Arab saying and if you take the time to get the guffaws out of the way it's very appropriate. As fans we dream of bowl games, championships, wins honors, accolades galore for our chosen team. It is the nature of the cat to want mice, it is the nature of the fan to want victory.
Defeat aside this is the first game we showed true ability in a long time I think. We showed character. We showed talent. We showed heart.
This team did not quit at any point last night. Further while many pundits feel Bray and Company will be heading out their door for their Junior year I think the opposite. When you have been humiliated over and over again, when you know that you are learning, when you have seen nothing but defeat your media endorsed career you want to walk away a winner. You want to give what you got. You want to smash the face of the group who broke your heart on national television and walk away with a smug "I told you I could do it" smirk on your face.
I think Tyler has that desire. I think the others do as well. Because for all their raw talent, for all their ability they have not demonstrated they can win, or perform. For all their ability they have not shown they can work as a team unit. For all of their heralds they have never walked away victorious.
They want that acknowledgement. As much for the dollar signs it will bring them as anything else. They dream of mice.
I also noticed something different on the internet last night. Except for a fringe group many did not lay this defeat at the feet of Dooley. They laid it on the team, and on Tyler. Dooley's seat may be hot, and people may be upset over the win, but no one went home with their tail between their legs last night including Dooley.
That doesn't mean Dooley is off the hook. I tweeted last night that it was possible that the only way Dooley could keep his job if we lost last night was to beat Alabama. I was angry at the time and hadn't thought about the amount of money we are spending on other coaches still. We really can't afford to fire Dooley at this point in time.
But more importantly last night showed that we probably shouldn't. Dooley can coach. The team has to perform.
I apologize to my team for allowing myself to fall to the wayside yesterday. I have grown overly cynical in my old age. Combined with work and school it's a toxic combination at times, aided by scotch.
I put my hat back together with a little scotch tape last night. I'll think of something more permanent during our bye week.
I imagine Dooley will be doing the same with the team.
We'll be chasing mice in our sleep during the week.