I have waited for this game for years. WE have waited for this game for years. And when I say years, I really mean a lot of years. Carolina had not played UT since 1961. That's 20 years before I was born. The Geer/Edgerton - UNC/UT roots run long and deep. Let me explain...
I have both aunts, uncles and multiple cousins that live in Knoxville. Die Hard UT fans. They feel about UT just the same as we do Carolina. They go to every football game, every basketball game, baseball games and they travel where ever the team is. They are either alumni or current students, big time members of the Tennessee Fund and are very close with several members of the coaching staff. They love UT and I love that about them.
Ed's parents both worked for UNC so he and his brother both grew up die hard Carolina fans. They were the kids you saw crying in the stands when Carolina lost. When Ed's brother got a scholarship to play basketball for East Tennessee State University, he left Chapel Hill in 1987. After graduating, he moved to Knoxville...where he lives only a few miles away from my aunt and uncle. He is a Carolina Fan surrounded by a sea of orange, much like anybody that comes to live in Chapel Hill is surrounded by Carolina blue. He has been waiting for 23 years for this game to take place.
I was born in Hampton, VA. Not very close to either UNC or UT. BUT, my dad has been a Carolina fan since he was a kid. He was the only Carolina fan in a house with 8 people...all of whom were NC State fans. Plus my cousin was the quarterback at Carolina during the late 70's-80's (during the time I was born) and my mom's brother was a UNC graduate and he lived in Chapel Hill so naturally I was just born a Carolina fan too. We have instilled this in our children.
Again, this game was a long time in the making. Carolina/UT have been scheduled to play each other for awhile now, in Chapel Hill in 2011 and in Knoxville in 2012. Our families had been planning the tailgating and all of the family happenings for these games forever. Then before this season started, UT pulled out of the contract, cancelling both games. We were so upset. So when the season was over and the bowl games were announced, I don't need to explain that tickets were purchased to the Music City Bowl within minutes of the announcement. Even better, the game was in Nashville, close enough for us to stay with the family in Knoxville. We love Knoxville. We love that when we go up there we can see both my family and Ed's. We love that my Aunt Rita & Uncle Jeff are so welcoming to Ed's family that we all do everything together and avoid the "we have to do this with your family here and my family here" thing. We jump on every opportunity we have to get away and go to Knoxville.
I must say, I loved Nashville.
Love country music = Love Nashville
I want to go back. Soon. For vacation. When we have time to visit places and when I have the chance to drag Ed around to try and find Tim McGraw's house. He would do it if I wanted to. He is that good to me.
We started out the day at the Wildhorse Saloon where we met up with some fellow Chapel Hillians.
This place was awesome. Not so sure if everyone else liked it but this country girl did. I even participated in the line dancing with Deuce on my hip, a la Gretchen Wilson's Redneck Woman. It was so much fun.
Then we walked across the river to the stadium. It was beautiful. The Titans stadium was on one side of the river and the Nashville skyline was on the other.
This was Deuce's first collegiate basketball game.
Me, Ed & Deuce sat with my cousin Ricky while TJ got special treatment and got to sit in the coach's box with Aunt Rita & Uncle Jeff. He had a blast.
|John Fields & Kenny Hall|
|Kenny Hall & Jeronne Maymon|
Jeronne was so nice and kept saying how beautiful Deuce was. He told me & Ed that we "made a beautiful baby."
TJ told me "his string was in my face but I didn't want to be rude."
I guess his manners are starting to kick in.
|TJ with Melvin. He liked Melvin because "he plays the point just like me."|
|TJ & Tobias|
|The boys with Coach Pearl. We didn't get the chance to talk with him that day. I don't think he was too happy, they had lost and he had been kicked out of the game with 2 techs. TJ thoroughly enjoyed talking to his parents and his wife though...lol!|
Thanks to Aunt Rita & Uncle Jeff for making TJ's day. He will never forget this. And of course Deuce will love looking at the pictures when he gets older (and the fact that i had his UNC paci clip on him in every picture, hee hee. Sorry Aunt Rita!)