I love that time in the summer when you realize that you are less than 50 days away from the start of football season! It seems as though you start hearing all the recruiting noise again… SEC days starts… and for a few weeks, even if your team manages to have a less than stellar record, you can do a little trash talking to your SEC friends.
For those of you who aren’t from the South and might not comprehend why this is so important to me, let me attempt to explain. Football for us is not simply football, it is tradition. It is the pride of walking on the campus of your alma mater, wearing your colors, singing your fight songs, tail-gating with old friends before and after the game, renewing friendships and making new ones. College football is a way of life for us in the south, and one I wouldn’t change in the least. It is something that we look forward to all year. We plan trips, weddings, and funerals even around football season. The running joke is that you should never get married or die in the south on a Saturday… the minister might not be there. We are born and raised eating, breathing and living the seasons of football: Football season, Post-Season / Championship Season, Recruiting, and Pre-Season.
I love when the week comes that I can wear my UT Orange to work during the week and not be thought crazy. I love that during the fall I am able to see so many of my friends at games that I don’t get to see the rest of the year. I love walking into Neyland Stadium with 110,000 other UT fans and cheering on my team to victory (well, sometimes we cheer them to a loss, but a hard-fought game is just as glorious!). I love going to my sorority’s annual BBQ (Going on for 55 years now!) and supporting Arthritis Research. I love seeing the Vol Walk to the stadium. I love when you see a child or person experiencing all the tradition and pride of UT football for the first time, when you hear that slight gasp of breath the first time they enter Neyland Stadium.
I know this may all sound quite silly, but to me it is a way of life. To me, it something that every summer I start getting excited about. I love the smell of football season in the air. I love the camaraderie that accompanies football season. But, most of all, I love the traditions and pride that I take in being not only a Tennessee Volunteer but a member of the SEC. I can almost hear Rocky Top and 110,000 fans singing… I can almost hear the alma mater… only 45 days until its… “Football Time in Tennessee! GO VOLS!”