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I am an avid supporter of the Tennessee Volunteers. But it hasn’t always been that way.
I was born in Atlanta, and though most kids in the state of Georgia are told from birth that red and black are their favorite colors, I was born into a family more partial to white and gold. Several of my family members attended Georgia Tech, so that became my team. I loved - and still do, but we can keep that on the down low - Georgia Tech and I have many great memories as a Yellow Jacket fan.
But in 2010, I moved to Mt. Juliet, Tenn. - a place I had visited many times to see family, but would have never imagined I’d live. I went through high school having many friends who fervently supported the Vols, but they just weren’t my team. I wasn’t born into it.
But when it came time to pick a college a few years ago, the University of Tennessee just seemed to make sense. It was a good in-state school with plenty of opportunities and major athletics. So I chose to go to UT. And in terms of football and basketball, I didn’t necessarily look to become a Vols fan, but I knew I would definitely attend the games.
My first game in Neyland Stadium was the Oklahoma game in 2015. I had been to dozens of college football games before, but Neyland was just different. The checkerboard in the stands, the Pride of the Southland forming the T, the deafening noise - it was all just mesmerizing. Though the outcome of that game was heartbreaking, I still hold that as one of my favorite sports memories of my life.
After that, it was over. I knew I was a Vol For Life. And in my first two years in Knoxville, though there has been some heartbreak, I’ve had many great memories as a Vols fan - beating Florida, the Battle at Bristol, the Hail Mary, beating Kentucky in basketball (twice) and the list goes on.
I’m very glad I chose to go to Tennessee because it led me to the Vols, and I now cheer as if I’ve been wearing orange my entire life.
My ticket for the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game is in the Tennessee student section. I still don’t know how I’ll feel watching Tennessee and Georgia Tech play football, but I know I’ll be wearing orange.
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