I haven’t written anything since Saturday.
I wanted to, I just couldn’t.
I have been a Tennessee Volunteer fan for as long as I can remember. Despite my partying days in college, I can remember a lot further back than most of my friends give me credit for. As a Tennessee fan, I have been blessed with many great memories.
It’s only been recently that I have started to appreciate things a little more.
I watched a Johnny Majors led team waltz into New Orleans and upset Jimmy Johnson and the second-ranked Miami Hurricanes.
I saw Phillip Fulmer travel out to Arizona and beat Bobby Bowden and the Florida State Seminoles to win the National Championship.
And unfortunately, I watched the Wyoming Cowboys come into Neyland Stadium and beat the Vols last year.
There are good and bad times to any relationship, which is exactly what the Volunteers are to me in many ways, a relationship. Only my family and a couple of friends have I known and loved longer than the Volunteers.
It has been a beautiful ride and one that I would not trade for anything.
As I grow older though, an eerie reality has started to set in. I remember the losses more than I remember the wins.
I don’t think that is how a true relationship should or does work, but it is undoubtedly what this one has come to be.
Saturday against Alabama was difficult to accept.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think Tennessee should have been awarded a re-kick for Terrence Cody removing his helmet after his second and most important blocked kick of the game. I know the rule wouldn’t have allowed for that.
In addition, I am also thrilled that Tennessee was even that close to begin with. It says a lot about the coaching staff and the preparation they put into the game plan. It also speaks volumes about how the players have bought into the system, and philosophy, that Lane Kiffin has implemented.
It’s just difficult because the moment was so surreal.
I watched as Daniel Lincoln lined up for that fateful 44-yard field goal attempt, and thought to myself “how special is this moment?”
Only months removed from a program scrambling to find a way to win a ballgame, the Volunteers stood a field goal attempt away from beating the top-ranked Crimson Tide on their home turf.
The crowd was electric, the game was a classic, yet to Tennessee fans, the result was heart breaking.
I will remember that game for a long time.
Sometimes we remember the girl that got away with more affection than a heartbreak deserves.
When a moment so surreal goes anyway but the way we want it to, it stays in our memory. We massage that memory, interrogating it, attempting to mold it into our own more rewarding memory.
The reality is that we can’t change them. We wear those moments, those losses, on our sleeves as a badge. It is a badge no bandwagon member will ever, or can ever wear. It is a patch of service for having lived, and in that instance died, with our team.
It’s been said that to appreciate something, you have to lose it first.
Cody may have blocked that kick, but the moment was still there. That moment can never be taken away, and it is special for a reason.
Look at how many times we think about the girl that got away and smile. It broke our heart at the time, but looking back it makes us stop and think, shake our heads, and smile.
Those little moments in life shape our character.
They try our patience, test our resolve, but in sports they are a prerequisite for earning the title “die hard."
I am thankful for moments like the one on Saturday. They make the moments when the field goal does go through sweeter, more rewarding, and more fulfilling.
As for the girl that got away, all I can do is shake my head...and smile
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