he's chasing dreams hitting seams.
she's chasing dreams talking sports.
I went to my first Vols game when I was in the womb.
I’ve probably said that too many times in my life— some take the line as a joke. I see it as a big part of trying to get people to understand the point I’m about to make.
You know who else took his first trip to Neyland in the womb? My brother.
My Grandaddy has had four Tennessee season tickets since 1985. Row four in the corner of the north end zone with a perfect view of the Running through the T.
My grandparents co-owned Big Orange Kountry — a Tennessee team store — for most of my childhood. I remember loving when new gear came in, and my Memaw would say we didn’t need it. But would usually get it for Christmas. One of my favorite days of the year was “The Big Day” where orange tents would be outside Big Orange Kountry. Food, drinks, sales on Tennessee gear, friends and family flooded the tents outside.
My brother, our two cousins and I grew up getting to choose which Tennessee games we wanted to go to each season. We’d make the trek to Knoxville from West Tennessee in the white van with orange stripes, Tennessee flags on the windows and Tennessee magnets on the sides. We’d get to our parking spot and set up our little tailgate with sandwiches, chips and dip, you name it. Then the Vol walk. We would be in our seats a couple hours before kickoff, and that’s just how we liked our game day to go.
If we weren’t at the game, we were over at my Memaw and Grandaddy’s watching the game as one big orange clothed family.
I’ll get chills every.single.time I see the Vols Running through the T.
I’ll shout Rocky Top every.single.time I hear it played.
Orange is my favorite color.
Growing up I couldn’t wait to have my own “Senior Shirt.” Orange with Tennessee pattern in the letters.
I used to say my wedding dress was going to be Tennessee orange. Well, that didn’t happen. But my dad wore orange pants. My granddaddy wore an orange blazer with a Tennessee tie. And orange was in the color scheme.
I bought our dog a Tennessee shirt to wear.
And my love for Tennessee expands beyond the football program. Pat Summitt and the Lady Vols were a bring part of my upbringing too.
Do you get what I’m saying yet?
For the past almost week now, Tennessee football has been in the national spotlight. Ever since #VolTwitter (Vol Nation) decided Greg Schiano was an unacceptable hire for Tennessee and made their voices heard.
And it’s about dang time.
My entire life has been spent a Tennessee fan, but you know what? I don’t remember a lot of winning. Sure I was alive when a lot of the winning happened. But the last 10 years, which I really remember, have been mediocre to bad.
And a lot of that falls on the coaches who have been hired… I’ll give a little run down.
Lane Kiffin – 2009 – 7-6, left after one season, fans burning mattresses
Derek Dooley – 2010-2012 – three consecutive losing seasons
Butch Jones – 2013-2017 – overall record 34-27, two mediocre seasons, brought in top recruiting classes but didn’t produce with that talent like he should have, 2016 season absolute spiral out of control that leads us to where we are right now…
I won’t recap all the mess that has happened with the Tennessee coaching search because honestly it has made my head spin and has consumed my life (just ask Matt).
But I will touch on why Vol Nation has done what Vol Nation has done.
We just want to win. We just want to be relevant again. We just want our swagger back. We just want the passion, fire and rich traditions we continue to take part in season after season to be returned by wins, good coaching and some BA leadership.
Now would I have done/said/tweeted some things that some members of Vol Nation did. No. But ya know what I get it. I’m frustrated and just sad too.
Vol Nation has been called an angry-mob, clueless, classless, the problem, pathetic, embarrassing and on and on by national media. And quite frankly — they can shove it.
They don’t understand. National media members who have said positive/rational things about Vols fans through this have spent time around the Tennessee program so they...hmm...understand.
We aren’t like a bunch of bandwagon Alabama fans just riding the high of winning championships but don’t say a word when we lose. We freaking care. And we’ve probably cared too much these last 10 years. But we were – seriously – born into this.
Vol Nation is making sure to do everything we can to make sure another mediocre coach doesn’t step into Neyland. So you want to call us those names because we want to win. Fine.
Tennessee is in the top 10 in all-time wins. Some of the richest traditions in all of college football. The talent will come. And the program just needs a good coach to do something with it. And I promise fans will get behind a good coach 110%. But we’re done doing that for mediocre coaches.
I tried not to care as much. I tried to keep my mouth shut. But I couldn’t.
Bowl Cut sassy Jes sitting outside of Neyland deserved to be heard.
Call us crazy. Call us pathetic. I don’t care. And neither does the 102,455 that fill Neyland…even when Tennessee has been terrible.
But you don’t bleed orange so you wouldn’t understand…
Matt & Jesica Beaty
Welcome in to dreams and seams! A tell-all blog about our career dreams and path to reaching those dreams with some commentary about sports and life plus some videos too.
"Strive for the impossible because it makes the possible seem effortless." -Matt Beaty