I remember when they lost to Vanderbilt in 2005. It had been almost 30 years since Vandy had beaten Tennessee, and to make matters worse they did it at Neyland Stadium. I said things louder than I should have during some of my "exhortations" toward the team. Some things I said that should never really be said, especially loud enough for children to hear. (Yeah, found out about that later on.) I remember leaving the house before the game was over just to drive and try to shake off the feeling of shame that Vandy had actually beaten UT.
I remember the 2001 SEC Championship game. UT knocked out LSU's starting quarterback and it looked like we were going to skate right to the national championship game. But we let their backup quarterback beat us and make us look foolish in the process. The bad thing about that game was that I had some of my office staff over for a Christmas party and they didn't leave until after the first half was over. I had plenty of time to throw pillows and scream in the second half.
But the time I got the most out of hand was the Orange Bowl game in 1998. Peyton Manning's senior year. Nebraska. UT went into the game as the #4 team in the country. Had they beaten Nebraska, they might have ended up ranked #2. I went into the game with 100% optimism. By the second quarter I was losing it. Nothing went right. Sometime during the second quarter the bride had had enough. I don't remember all that happened, but I watched the second half in our workshop. It was January. And cold. And the workshop didn't have cable. But that's where I watched the rest of the game. I think our chocolate lab, Cocoa, was glad to have someone out there with her, but I wasn't much company. Not even for a dog.
I wish I could watch UT football without getting so emotionally wrapped up in the game. I wish I could watch a careless fumble and respond with a "tsk, tsk". I wish I could watch a 10-point halftime lead dissolve against Florida and say, "oh, well, that's just how it goes". I wish I could watch as Jamarcus Russell throws a touchdown pass to beat us with less than a minute to go and react as if nothing had happened. I wish I could watch a referee blow a call and reply, "he's only human". But I've not been able to do that up to this point.
So here's my resolution for this year - I resolve to tone down my reactions during UT games this season. I'm going to do my best. Will I sit there and not react? Nah. But I will try my hardest not to go over the top with it.
I've talked to some friends about this and they don't see me making it through the Florida game.....