For a while I thought we were the Chicago Cubs, but it turns out we’re the Cleveland Browns.
In 2015 the Vols suffered loses to Oklahoma, Florida, and Bama in damn near Bartman-level soul-crushing fashion. Well, those days felt dark, but looking back at least they gave us a degree of hope and excitement. There’s an old adage that its better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all. And since Texas A&M 2016, forget a win, Tennessee has not given their fans a single performance they could be remotely proud of.
Tennessee’s game against Florida last Saturday night firmly places us in Cleveland Brown, 1-31 level-bad territory. After this upcoming stretch in October, Tennessee will be 0-14 in their most recent league games. Now that the Browns have won a game, it wouldn’t surprise me if Bud Light gave free beer to the city of Knoxville the next time the Vols win an SEC matchup. God knows we deserve it.
To be honest, I didn’t want to write this article. I don’t want much to do with this team right now other than taking my obligatory beatings on Saturdays when I dutifully sit my ass through more brutal performances. But I was asked to write something by a few people and maybe talking this out will help us all feel a little better…
We all went through the stages of grief this past weekend.
Denial: As a fanbase we really talked ourselves into this one. When will we learn? We couldn’t beat the Gators if we were 3 times as good as them.
Anger: When Austin Pope’s fumble took off with the force of a SpaceX rocket on its way to Mars, I witnessed my mother choke slam a UF frat boy directly into the concrete steps.
Bargaining: My friends and family held an open debate on which SEC team we were going to switch our fandom to, knowing full well we are in way too deep. For those of you with small children, consider what kind of influence you are having on them now, its not too late for them.
Depression: Hello darkness my old friend.
Now I’m here to help us usher in the most vital stage for sustaining our mental health:
Where are the thugs?
Trust me that when I saw thugs, I mean that with a very positive connotation. And no I don’t mean thugs as in bad people. I’m talking about guys that don’t give a damn about who’s lined up against them, openly taunt opponents, and sure as hell aren’t helping a single opposing player up off the ground. Where was the brawl last Saturday night? Florida straight disrespected our guys in Neyland Stadium and they just took it without an ounce of fight. Unless you’re Bama, every team experiences bad losses from time to time. But if my teams getting whipped, I want to see some attitude. Albert Haynesworth was at Tennessee during the good years and when he was with the Titans, he straight up stomped on an opposing players face when they didn’t have a freaking helmet on. I’m not saying I condone that level of brutality, but there’s a reason we were winners when we had guys like him on our roster.
The kids we have right now have zero pride and aside from Jauan Jennings, they’re a bunch of Charmin soft losers. The talent level at Tennessee right now is well below par but we aren’t 0-14 in the SEC level deficient. The team has no soul and its gonna take a 180 degree culture shift from Pruitt and bags of cash to high level recruits to get this thing headed in the right direction. Its gonna take a full on commitment from everyone on campus to get this ship turned around and if you’re not cheating you’re not trying.
Why do we care?
I’ve asked myself this question a lot. Apathy is worse than rage. This fanbase has been ticked off for a long time but a large portion has already adopted a policy of detachment. And you know what, I can’t blame them. Its easier to distance yourself than to keep enduring the pain. Sometimes I wish I could detach but my personality is too damn stubborn to let me do it. I was born into this and from a young age I was taught that when the goin gets rough, you go down with the ship.
Lesser fanbases would already be dead. Florida brought maybe 2,000 fans to that game and they’ve had a hell of a lot more to cheer about over the past few years than we have. Do you think Bama would still pack the stands if they experienced the same level of futility Tennessee has this past decade? I have my doubts that they would. They say the Lord gives the toughest battles to the strongest people and if the football god’s do test programs, then we are in the middle of a ghastly one.
It’s darkest just before the dawn
Sometimes we have no control over the difficulties we face in life, but we do have a choice in how we handle them. Positivity is the single most important factor in being a happy person. As far as being a Tennessee fan, times have never been worse. And to tell you the truth, there is no guarantees that the fan experience is going to get better anytime soon. But I will say that the universe has a weird way of righting wrongs and making things right in its own time.
Sunday afternoon we witnessed what many thought would never happen again. Tiger Woods finished a PGA Tour event at the top of the leaderboard. The Brownies have been gifted one of most exciting players in sports and won a game last Thursday night. I’ll tell you this. I have no idea when Tennessee football gets back to prominence. It might take 2 years. It might take 5 years. It might even take ten-plus years. But whenever the day comes that they do… Its going to be f***ing nuts.