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Tennessee's Rumspringa: today especially, it's good to be home

In stores July 13. <a href="">Pre-order now</a>.
In stores July 13. Pre-order now.

From the opening to Rocky Top Tennessee 2010:

The Amish call it Rumspringa, which literally means "running around." According to the popularized view (a perspective held primarily by the non-Amish, for what it's worth), Rumspringa is a time for Amish adolescents to cast off the culture in which they've been raised and to experiment with the outside world before they choose to either commit to or leave the community forever. Most return home after their period of rebellion.

Sound familiar, Vol fans? At the end of the 2008 season, the Volunteer football program thumbed its nose at some of its most highly-regarded traditions and went for a 14-month joyride with Lane Kiffin. Riding shotgun with the top down and an open container of Red Bull in the back seat, the proud program happily sped down the interstate toward the allure of the West Coast, tossing insults at fellow drivers and laughing off and otherwise rationalizing any and all citations from the authorities.

Tennessee's "running around" with Lane Kiffin ended abruptly when Kiffin ditched the program at a convenience store so he could complete the journey to Los Angeles himself. And now the prodigal has returned home to Good Ol' Rocky Top with a much greater appreciation for the tradition it eschewed a season ago. Mike Hamilton replaced Kiffin with Derek Dooley, a true Southerner with SEC roots and the authentic drawl to prove it, and fans have, so far, embraced the program's apparent return to the Tennessee Way.

Rest assured, the annual looks more forward than backward, but today seemed like an appropriate time to trot that out. It's good to be home, no?

Now grounded from the prom, all dressed up and nowhere to go, Kiffin wants another date on his terms. So sorry, our calendar is full. There are barns to be raised and horses to be fed and furniture to be made. You're certainly welcome to visit, and if you're actually serious about it, you'll honor the verbal agreement that's already in place. So far, though, you've neglected to return the contract and you've ignored our attempts to follow up on it, so we must conclude that you are not serious.

Which really isn't all that surprising. Now if you'll excuse us, we have a program and a reputation to rebuild, no thanks to you.