Me and Dad
Me and Dev
Me and Dev waiting on the Vol Walk
So, it has become a father/daughter tradition for me and Dad to go to the Orange and White game (every team has their own version of a Spring game....Faulkner's is the Blue and White game, Alabama's and Auburn's in "A" Day, ect., ect.) in Knoxville every year. We have gone the last four years, one year the whole fam went, two years Dev went with us, and this year Uncle Ted (Mom's brother) and his stepson, Braden, went with us. We got there in time to walk around on the practice field (usually it's done on the real field but, due to construction, that was impossible this year), where all the players and coaches were taking pictures and signing autographs. I really wanted to meet Coach Ed Orgeron and see if he really talks like that (search him on YouTube, it's hilarious!) and get my picture taken with him for the guys (they love him too...the only person the wanted me to get my picture taken with more was Layla Kiffin, just google her and you'll see why pretty quick) but it was hot and Dev was hungry so we didn't stick around to wait in VERY long lines.
We went and met Uncle Ted and Braden, who were already waiting on a hill for the Vol Walk and got a pizza. We also met up with Michael Rainey and his girlfriend Anne Marie, who goes to UT and is a huge Vols fan too! I really hope he keeps her around (he's a Auburn fan)! It was fun just getting to hang out and visit with friends and family right outside Neyland stadium. Finally it was time for the Vol Walk, where the Vols and the coaches (and during the Spring game, recruits) walk from their field house to the field and THOUSANDS line the street to cheer them on, bump chests, and high five them on their way.
To give you an idea, last year there were about 30,000 there. This year there were over 50,000 (due to the construction, the fire marshall would only let 50,000 in and there were some very unhappy fans outside the stadium when the game started) people there! Before the game they honored Coach Phillip Fulmer with the Neyland award and I am happy to say that he got about a five minute standing ovation from the crowd. I was so glad, I still don't love the way his "retirement" went down and I am glad that he and the University and him and Coach Kiffin are all getting along. I hope he never speaks to Hamilton again. Dirty old butt deserves it.
Once the game started we saw REALLY excited and spirited coaches and players, some better than expected Offense and some AWESOME Defense! Lane doesn't play around and Coach O and "Dad" Monty REALLY get into it! It was real hot and we all definitely got some sun but it was a GREAT day! It is just enough football to help you get through to Fall. It was great to spend time with Dad and Dev and it feels SO good to have a renewed hope about Tennessee Vols football! After the start the Braves are having (losing five in a row, with the last two being shutouts!), and the way the Vols and the Lady Vols ended their MORE than just disappointing basketball seasons, I need some renewed hope for one of my teams!
Thanks Dad and, IT'S GREAT TO BE A TENNESSEE VOL!!!!!!