From Kingsport, Tennessee to Flowery Branch, Georgia I encounter fellow Vols everywhere I go. I spent a little time traveling and even managed to see orange "T's" in Singapore, Berlin, and Glasgow. Needless to say, for a Tennessee boy seeing orange in a far off land warms you up a bit, and you can't help but hum Rocky Top to yourself.
The Vols now embark on a new decade where everyone will re-invest themselves as fans and loyalists. The orange is still out there, but we will have to be patient for it to bloom, much the way it did when Phillip Fulmer took over for Johnny Majors and re-awakened the Volunteer fanbase.
Our new pigskin general will weather the storm and find his way to sunny skies, you can see the determination in his eyes. New recruits will come, you can see the ambition in theirs. You can also see the reflection of the Vols that came before them; Reggie White, Bill Bates, Heath Shuler, Peyton Manning, Peerless Price, Tee Martin, Jason Witten, Eric Berry...the list is endless, and remains that way as new faces forge their names as Tennesee legends.
Today and tomorrow I inventory my closet as I thumb through a field of gameday shirts, Volunteer apparell, ballcaps, and even an orange sportjacket. This is a routine that has taken place since I was old enough to recognize Neyland in the passage of conversation. It's the pride that has no expiration.
The filth of former betrayals has almost washed away and things are beginning to feel right once more. It's that feeling you get when all of your family is home for the holidays.
For now we will be happy with close wins and narrow losses and remember quotes like, "Tennessee fans can look forward to a team which will display a world of fight every minute on the field. The attitude of the players indicates opponents will spend one long day in the brief sixty minutes they face the Vols."-Robert Neyland and "I can honestly say that I have the best job in America, serving as an ambassador for the state and university that mean so much to me,". "There is no place I'd rather be than on our campus and on our sideline teaching our young men."-Phillip Fulmer
This is what we love and what we crave, it will be back. Myself, I am taking a sabbatical as Featured Columnist to pursue my inner Vol, quit laughing I'm trying to channel General Neyland.
I appreciate all of my readers and those that have chosen me as favorite writer. Thank you to the staff of B/R , Joel Barker, and Michael Lindsey. Again thank you for the privelidge of pounding on my keyboard and providing you with a couple of minutes of distraction in your day.
God Bless, God Speed, and GO VOLS!!!