Wednesday, September 21, 2005

 

The Born A Vol Story

On a dark April night in 1951, I was born only 15 minutes after my mother arrived at St. Joseph's Hospital in Memphis, TN. making me the first person in my immediate family born in Tennessee. The reason I was born so quickly after arriving at the hospital was that my father was doing his internship in clinical psychology in Memphis but at the time was back in Knoxville, 400 miles away, visiting his professors with another student when I decided to come into this world.

1951 is also the year the the University of Tennessee won its first national championship in football.

The other sutdent's wife drove my mother to the hospital but the problem was neither knew the route to the hospital. Cruising the streets of Memphis in a Model A Ford, the two finally found the hospital after consulting with a couple of drunks on a street corner. A few months later we moved back to Knoxville and I never saw the hospital I was born in until I was 33 years old.

I first became aware of Volunteer football at the age of 5 when Johnny Majors was playing. My father would listen to the games on the radio and frequently comment, "Wow, that Johnny Majors is something." My father had played high school football in Hamilton, Ohio. His team was runner-up to the state champions his junior year and won the state championship his senior year. Unfortunately, he had quit the team half way through the year because practices were too rough.

Because I was tall and skinny, until after high school, I always played basketball. But football is my favorite spectator sport. I virtually get shivers up my spine when I think of cheering on the Volunteer squad in with 108,000 other fans in Neyland Stadium.

When I was born my father was a student at the University of Tennessee where he earned his M.A. and Phd. in psychology. Upon graduation the university hired my father as an associate professor. He spent his entire career as a professor at the University of Tennessee. When my youngest sister entered grade school my mother entered the Univesity of Tennessee while in her mid-forties. She eventually earned a B.A. and M.A. My older sister earned a B.A. and J.D. from U.T. I earned a B.S. and M.S. from U.T. One of my brothers earned a B.S. from U.T. My youngest sister earned her Phd. at U.T. after getting her B.A. and M.S.W. from other schools not worth mentioning.

That's a lot of history at one school. In 1990, I moved to Maysville, Ky and currently live just across the Ohio River from Maysville. People often asked me if I was going to root for the University of Kentucky Wildcats and all I could say is, "Go Vols!" For many years I endured harassment and hardship living in this strange land. Last year redemption came.

Chris Lofton, a native Maysvillian, first string all-state basketball and first string all-state football player signed a basketball scholarship with the University of Tennessee after not even being recruited by U.K. Now, in Maysville, KY I can go into the Wal-Mart, a couple of sporting goods stores and several other stores and buy Big Orange hats, shirt, sweats, and other paraphenalia.

Chris, a truly good kid, earned Freshman All-American honors at Tennessee. Tubby Smith apologized to Chris and his parents for not recruiting him. I'm sure Tubby is truly sorry because Chris is one of the top three point shooters in the country. Tubby is going to have to watch Chris sink 40 footers against him for 3 more years.

Go Vols!

Comments:
Volunteer fans & Florence South Carolina.

Well, I do have links on my blog to the Florence County Democratic Party, where many of my very good friends are quite active.

What does this have to do with the University of Tennessee? Well, my boy from Florence and I both went to the University of Georgia, and as you know, UT had been whoopin' up on the Dawgs since the late 80's, especially in Athens. Then came October 7th, 2000. A big win for the Dawgs, and the (ahem) students (ahem) brought down the goalposts. We didn't actually have any part of actually bringing the goalposts down (we had upper deck seats), but we did get souvenirs from the game much later that night.

So now, we pass our particular souvenir from his home in Florence, South Carolina to my home in Georgia every two years, keeping track of wins & losses, SEC championships and bowl games.

But we try not to pay too much attention to Georgia basketball...
 
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