HEADING HOME FOR HOMECOMING
I’m a proud graduate of the University of Tennessee where I obtained my Bachelor of Conservative Arts degree with a major in football appreciation, and a minor in miscellaneous extracurricular activities.
Next to my faith and my family, the University of Tennessee is the most important institution of my life. Actually, for me the University of Tennessee is family. My father graduated from UT in 1948, attending it on the GI Bill after he literally saved civilization in World War II.
I met my bride, Claudia, at UT. She is a UT legacy as well, as both her parents were graduates of the UT Law School Class of 1949.
My closest friends are the friends I made during my years on The Hill.
And like most Tennessee graduates, I love the Tennessee Volunteers football team! My blood indeed runs Tennessee orange.
The Volunteers are now experiencing one of the worst football seasons in their history. Indeed, the best football team in the state of Tennessee this year is the University of Memphis Tigers. The Tigers are 6-1 and if they win out, they will play in the Peach Bowl on New Year’s Day. You read that right, Johnny Majors breath. On New Year’s Day, we Tennessee fans may be at home watching the Memphis Tigers on our TV as they play in one of the nation’s top bowl games. If that happens, I intend to be wearing blue and grey and pulling for my hometown team.
This weekend is Homecoming at the University of Tennessee, and my bride and I are headed home … to our home in Knoxville that is, where we met some 40 years ago.
There is a movement afoot in Knoxville these days called “#emptyNeyland”, encouraging us Vol fans to boycott the Homecoming game and the Vols’ remaining two home games this season in order to demonstrate how badly we want Coach Butch Jones fired.
Well, in the words of a former President, let me make this perfectly clear: I have no intention to join “#emptyNeyland” and boycott my beloved Volunteers. I was with them in Tempe, Arizona on a January night in 1999 when they won the National Championship, and I will be with them Saturday night in Neyland even if they end up with a losing season.
My cousin, Johnny Haltom once told me, “There are three people I intend to always support in life. They are my President—whether I voted for him or not—my minister, and the head football coach of the University of Tennessee.”
Well said, Cousin Johnny. I will support Coach Butch and my Volunteers until the last dog (preferably a Georgia Bulldog) dies.
Robert Frost once wrote, “Home is the place where when you have to go there, they have to take you in.” I’m headed home this weekend, and I think they’ll have to take me in at Neyland Stadium.