Back To UT's Good Old Days

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Maybe it’s just me but was Saturday night’s trash throwing spectacle not just a thing of pure beauty?

I mean, come on people, some water bottles, mustard, and one golf ball came raining down on an opponent in Neyland.  That sounds like a normal game night to me.  But then again I was at UT in the mid-late 1990’s.  I bore witness to the 1998 rush of the field which produced two downed goal posts which were carried down Cumberland Avenue and thrown into the Tennessee river respectively.  Only when they carried them out, they broke windows on the ambulances on the field.  People were stacked on top of each other with pure joy.  ESPN lost a couple of very expensive cameras mounted to the goal posts.  The school paper had a cartoon of this.  Everyone laughed.  Nobody thought anything was wrong with it.  We had yet to beat Florida in five years and back in that day, Steve Spurrier was fond of saying you can’t spell Citrus Bowl without a U and T (a reference we could never win the SEC East and always went to the second-place bowl game).  Maybe I just beckon to the old days when wins were easy and life was simple. 

So, I started thinking about all the points that were being made about this trash thing this week and wanted to give an old middle aged woman’s perspective to how things have changed so the rest of the world and our younger generations understand that things didn’t used to be so rigid and life was a whole lot more fun.

Player Safety
Give me a break.  All the players had on helmets. Water bottles-come on. Nobody died, nobody got shot. The fine for this, if anything, should be for littering, not for anything serious.  And while I understand the coaches were not wearing helmets maybe next time they come back to our stadium they should consider it.  We want opponents to be nervous in our stadium.

Referee’s bad call
The truth is that Tennessee has had a recent history of bad calls. From athletic directors to coaches who have come and gone, our prestige has faded along with our opponents' fear of coming to play us at home.  We would come so close to that win, so close to that first down, only to lose in the end and be disappointed again and again, year after year.  The fans are tired.  We are tired of losing, tired of getting our hopes up, and ready to excel again.

I view the trash incident as hopeful that our fan based has reawakened to a new day in Neyland and it looks a whole lot more like 1998 every game.  Perhaps some deep pocketed alumni who had a big laugh last Saturday could donate some money to make up for the fine.  Or have the students do a fundraiser for everyone’s bail and the fines. 

The idea that safety was in jeopardy brings me back to thoughts on required car seats until our girls start their periods, bicycle helmets, and that damned seat belt alert that can’t be disabled but eventually goes off.  A society that wants to control everyone’s safety all the time.  The world and life just doesn’t work this way.  And to teach our young people that having an emotional response and exhibiting behaviors in which no one was hurt, is wrong and is purely unjust.  But then again, I am just an old middle-aged woman.

Jennifer Blair


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