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First of all, thanks to Wes, Ryan, and Kevin for giving me the green light for this. For those of you new to the board, you'll be reading this as I'm preparing to fly from Anchorage, AK to Knoxville to attend both the NC State and Georgia State games. If you wondering why someone from Alaska is going to the game, let me state that I was born and raised in Chattanooga, so I'm actually coming back home as well. This will be my first UT game since 1992, and to say I'm looking forward to it would be a massive understatement.
Even though I have been a lifelong fan of the Vols, I have been in the odd position of viewing the program (and the SEC as a whole) from the perspective of an outsider. Alaska is very much a PAC-12 state, and they think that football outside of that conference is inferior. You hear more about USC/Oregon/Washington than you ever hear about Alabama, LSU, or even Texas. There are a handful of Volunteer faithful up here, and I think I've met most of them (it's easy to spot that color orange from a mile away).
I've watched this program go through some amazing highs (Peyton leading the band, the 1998 championship run), and I've seen the lows (the Majors/Fulmer transition, Kiffin's "Midnight plane to Cali", and both the 2007 and 2011 seasons), but I've stuck with the Vols regardless. Some people might call me a "fanboy", but I honestly don't care. You don't have to have played for UT to consider yourself a Vol for Life.
Compared to last season, I find myself much more optimistic about this team, despite recent personnel losses. I think this team has finally grasped the concept of "team first", which will pay huge dividends in the Georgia Dome and beyond. Having a significantly easier schedule this year doesn't hurt, either.
For me, this trip is about getting to relax and enjoy myself. I look at the NC State game as being roughly equivalent to a bowl game, and the Georgia State game is the home opener, so you know that's gonna be rocking and rolling. I'm looking forward to meeting some of y'all in Atlanta, and hopefully some others back in Knoxville. Flying 5000 miles (and four time zones) to watch some football may seem strange, but it will be worth it the moment I hear the Pride of the Southland play "Rocky Top"
I've been thinking about how to end each of my posts in this thread, and only one thing seemed to fit:
(Next: Day One)
This post has been edited 2 times, most recently by Wes Rucker 20 months ago
You were a good luck charm for the baseball team this spring, I'm hoping that streak continues. Safe travels!
Ditto and +1 to you both.
I've already started writing "Day One", since my last day at work and the flight to Knoxville will blend into one long day for me...
Awesome and I look forward to reading your posts. I am a transplanted Tennesseean in Texas the last 17 years so I feel distant but not as distant as you. I always enjoy your posts and I sincerely hope you enjoy your trip and handle your business (leave with the Vols 2-0)!
Godspeed my friend!!!!
Awesome post..look forward to the others. Being a Vol in Baltimore, I know what a treat it is to come back to UT. Truly a second home.
Be safe flying and look forward to your trip and meeting you
Any chance of pinning this so I don't have to dig through the board for this thread when I post the next update?
OP is why the NFL will never touch college ball.
Here's wishing you safe and speedy travels. Looking forward to meeting you at Stats.
Can't wait to read about your adventures.
I'm looking forward to your updates on your Orange Adventure. God bless you with safe travel. Looking forward to shaking your hand at STATS. GO VOLS!
BUTCH IS NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART. GO VOLS!
Senior Writer, govols247
The Final Countdown
It's 9:30am and 50 degrees outside on Sunday morning, with a cold rain falling. Fall has already started to come to town, and I'm literally watching leaves fall off a tree across the street from my place. This will make for a crappy day at work, because people always call in and complain when the weather is poor. "Just one more shift before I fly out" has become my mantra for the day, since my vacation begins the moment I leave work this evening. Just ten hours of listening to people yell at me and my staff because they don't know how to do a Google search or they forgot their email password for the eleventh time. It's not a job for everyone - you have to be a little eccentric, even crazy - to last in this environment.
I get to work about 15 minutes before my shift starts, and we're already backed up on calls. We've tried to get more staffing on weekends, but it has fallen on deaf ears every single time. Oh well, it's not my concern for the next two weeks. This would be a long day even if I wasn't flying out tonight, so I'm just going to survive it as best I can.
The only way I will get through today is to stay focused on the fact that I will be flying to Knoxville tonight. I've actually brought my luggage with me, since I'm going from work directly to the airport. Some of my coworkers are openly bitter that I get to leave state tonight. I find this quite humorous, actually. While most of the people I work with are PAC-12 fans, they know that my desk is SEC/UT territory.
Finally at the halfway point of my shift, and things are still pretty busy. This rainy weather isn’t helping us or the moods of the people calling in, either. But we’ve done everything we can to get these customers taken care of as quickly as possible. I use my lunch to write some more of this blog/piece/whatever you want to call it, and double check one last time that I have everything I need for this trip. I realize that I left my external mouse for my laptop at home, so I’ll just pick up a cheap one in Tennessee to use for the time being. Most importantly, I verify that I have my tickets for the football games with me, because those are critical to keep a hold of.
Now that I’m done with all of that , I’m gonna put my iPad and iPhone back on the charger so I can make sure I have a full battery for the flight down. I can charge everything in the airports on the way down, but I’d rather make sure that I have enough of a charge to survive the 5 hour flight to Salk Lake City. My plan is to put any TV shows, movies, etc that I want to watch on my iPad and just use the MBP for internet (in flight WiFi might be slow, but it’s better than nothing).
My desk is a mini shrine to all things Tennessee. I’ve got a Peyton Manning bobblehead, two bears in UT gear, and a mini helmet, along with a Vol network cup and a set of UT coasters on my desk. I also have a set of UT decals on the plexiglass that makes up one wall of my workstation. There’s also some Predators, Titans, and Chattanooga stuff on my desk, but it’s clearly centered on the Orange and White. Knowing my coworkers, they are gonna pull some sort of prank while I’m gone, just to mess with me.
This post was edited by tntoak 20 months ago
Safe travel. We need more die hard VFL fans like yourself. What has taken you to Alaska? Military ? I too, have supported the Vols from outside the state borders for many years.
Have a safe trip!! Can't wait to see you in Atlanta!!
Actually, it was a situation where I could go to either UT or UAA (Alaska-Anchorage) and get in-state tuition, and UAA was significantly cheaper. My parents had moved up there already, so I had family in the area.
Side note: despite leaving Anchorage late, we actually got to Salt Lake on time. Now I'm gonna run and get my Krispy Kreme fix (there's one in the airport) and kill the next three hours until the flight to Atlanta.
As another Vol in AK, I'm eagerly looking forward to your posts. Have fun & I'm really jealous.
There's a guy who works in a different department for my employer who is from Elizabethton, and he's bitterly jealous that I'm going to two games. There's also one poster on this site who lives in North Pole.
I always new Santa Claus was a Vol fan!
247 Brew Master
The elves are all former Vandy players who didn't make it to the NFL (that's also why he never runs out of employees).
Safe travels tntoak!
stay safe. GO BIG ORANGE!!!
GO BIG ORANGE!!!
I'm currently on the plane from Salt Lake to Atlanta. Just one more layover, then I hope a puddle jumper to Knoxville after this. Amazingly enough, I still have 57% of my battery remaining without having charged it once since leaving work over 12 hours ago. I did get my Krispy Kreme fix in SLC, and met a VERY attractive woman in the process - unfortunately, she disappeared into the crowd in the terminal as quickly as she showed up...
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