It was fall 1992. I was sitting in that Colosseum of a structure called Neyland Stadium for the first time. Late in the fourth quarter as the Big Orange was about to clinch a victory over Arkansas Razorbacks I started to feel for the first time connected to something, something natural and real.
I was becoming a Vol fan.
Arkansas eventually pulled out the defeat but it was too late—my blood was turning orange. Since then I have gotten chills at the changing of the leaves from bright green to those beautiful shades of red, yellow, burgundy, and yes—Orange. I knew that just around the corner the glorious Pride of the Southland marching band would be splitting into the Power-T and my mighty Vols would take the field.
There has been excitement—an undefeated 1998 Vols team accompanied with a National Championship.There has been frustration—the vicious bite of the Gators that seem to always have teeth that sink in deep. But this year, is the year of being utterly underwhelmed and even embarrassed.
The dismal performance of the Vols this year was unacceptable to those of us who know only two colors, Orange and White. How could this happen? Many times I wondered this as heard statistics of how "good" coach Fulmer was. I became bitter. I wanted him out!
I started to recall the inability to defeat Florida, the continual conservative play, the ho-hum aggression seen in Fulmer when something went wrong. So, I called my friends and had them to pile up in my bandwagon. We rode the wagon all the way to the execution.
When the trap-door switch was pulled and the rope tightened, I started to wonder what I had done.
Had it been that bad? Will it ever be that good again? In the days since good ol' Phil spilled his guts to the nation, and tears filled his eyes, I have often wondered this. With much less than I expected turning up on the prospect search I just wonder....Is there light at the end of the Power "T"?