Sunday, November 08, 2009

Good Ol’ Rocky Top

It’s official. I am now a full-fledged Tennessee Volunteer fan. Until yesterday, I had only heard of the wonders of Neyland Stadium, the Vol Walk, Smokey and the Pride of the Southland Marching Band. But now? Now, I have tasted and seen. And it is good, my friends, it is good.

{Now, please bear in mind that this in NO WAY violates my loyal and undying devotion to my beloved UNC Tarheels, particularly in the arena of college basketball. I’m a Tarheel born and a Tarheel bred and when I die I’m a Tarheel dead. No matter how many orange shirts I may don.}

The grateful recipients of two tickets and a much valued parking pass near the stadium, Sarah and I headed up to Knoxville for a 7 p.m. homecoming game versus the University of Memphis. Sarah twirled baton with the marching band back in her UT days and I was thrilled to have an alumnus show me around and initiate me into the ways of the Vols.

Having lived my whole life in college town, I was giddy with glee as we drove through the main streets of Knoxville and the UT campus. The fans, the bright orange everywhere, the sounds of tailgating all around- it was a happy soundtrack indeed to a gorgeous afternoon. And then, one turn and then another, and there it was…


The largest stadium I have ever seen, it towered above everything.  The tailgaters were in full effect and everywhere you looked was orange- orange shirts, orange chairs, orange coolers, orange tents, orange cars.


Sarah’s husband played football for Tennessee and so we were able to take a peek into some spots that were closed off to the general public.  I’m not going to lie, I am all about the exclusive-behind-closed-doors tour. Behold, where the magic happens…DSC_0043DSC_0046


{Blurry, I know, but I was so stinking excited about standing on the actual field where the football team has trod!}


  We found a few familiar faces hanging around as well.

DSC_0048 DSC_0060 DSC_0057 {Sarah’s husband, Kyle. Hunka hunka, yes?}


Then it was on to the band room. I could not hardly believe that I was standing in the middle of all these talented musicians, the only collegiate band to have been asked to march in thirteen inaugural parades, more than any other college or university in the U.S.


I love nothing more than walking around a college town on a game day and Knoxville was no different than Chapel Hill. Tried and true fans everywhere and the happy sounds of fight songs, cheers and tailgating music from all directions.


It’s Smokey! Bless him, he was distracted and wouldn’t properly pose for us. Head in the game already, I suppose.


After the Vol Walk {when the players and coaches walk from the bus to the stadium, we were too late to get a good spot and my picture of this is more of the crowd than the team}, as the crowd dispersed, I looked to my left and spotted a familiar face. “Hey, is that Mike from ‘Desperate Housewives’?” I asked to no one in particular.

Yeah, it is,” said a random stranger.

In my twenties, I would have gazed after him wonderingly, wishing I had gotten a picture.

And now? In my thirties?

Are you kidding me?!?!” I hollered and promptly made a beeline for him through the crowd. There he was, James Denton, alumnus of UT and a proud southerner. I caught up to him, stepped quietly to his side and asked, “Would you mind taking a picture with us?” He was adorably gracious and obliged.

p_00013 I am not going to lie. Sarah and I stood in that street after he walked away and jumped up and down like thirteen year old girls. It was awesome. And more awesome was still to come…Tomorrow, the game!



  1. I wish I could tell you I wasn't jealous, but in the spirit of disclosure that would be lying. James Denton? SHEEEW-WEE!! Go Vols!!!!!

  2. I know TN people are CRAZY about their football!!! Love all the orange!

    I love Mr. Desperate Housewife is just hanging out at a game! SUPER COOL!

  3. There are no words. Seriously, NO WORDS. You might have had the best inaugural UT game experience EVER.

  4. Sarah6:35 PM

    What a day! The fans, great company, hollywood stars, Smokey, Neyland, and great TN VOLS football. Aaahhh, contentment. Oh, and I almost forgot the most prestigious award of all-MVC!

  5. Hello new blog design! I heart you!

  6. You were excited!! An English major using double negatives and all.. too funny! Y'all look like kids in a candy store. Yep, that's the guy I was remembering.

    Glad you had fun.. and Sarah sounds like such a cool friend!

  7. What a fun day!!!! Great pictures. Can't wait to hear about the game. Love & blessings from NC!

  8. Oh thank you for sharing the picture of you with the picture of Peyton Manning. I will buy anything that man sells. It sounds like an amazing day. Glad you're still in touch with your alma mater roots, though. (This, coming from a Duke grad who just painted her daughter's room Carolina blue. It's important she's got her basketball priorities straight from the get-go, you know?)


Love me some comments! If you don't have a Google/Gmail ID, please make sure you leave your name and/or email. Also, I moderate my comments so don't be alarmed if it doesn't show up right away. Thanks, y'all!