A Tennessee Tradition

I couldn’t have been much more than 10-years-old, standing on my feet in Neyland Stadium. Buried in a crowd of University of Tennessee fans. Standing beside my mother. She loved UT football. So did I. Her passion for this rich Tennessee tradition – my inheritance.

“Please join us in singing our National Anthem.”

You would think that in a sea of 100,000+ people no in particular voice would stand out. Well, meet my mother. I remember shying of embarrassment because of her singing. People, at least ten deep, would turn to find the face with that Aretha Franklin sound. She was stunning. I was too young to appreciate.

Last Saturday, I again stood, twenty-three years later, blending in a sea of orange and white. This football tradition just as rich today. The Pride of the Southland Band just as powerful. Rocky Top just as exciting.

“Please join us in singing our National Anthem.”

Now, I have come to numerous games since my mother’s death. But something this night left me lonesome in a stadium of thousands. Missing my mother. And overwhelmed by my love for this place. Overwhelmed by my affection for this incomparable Tennessee tradition.

Tears in my eyes, I turned to my mother-in-law, “My mom loved this.”

What I would give to hear her voice just once more.

I recall the day of Freshman orientation, July 1995, my dad and I sat on the front lawn of the University Center. Sharing a lunch in the shade of historic trees. He looked at me a said, “Never leave this place. Remain a part of this University your entire life. This is a good place to be.”

Prophetic statement?

My timeline is tied to this University.

* Mother worked here my entire life and celebrated her retirement.
* My sister, a member of the Pride of the Southland Marching band.
* My dad bleeds orange. I have seen him cry he loves the game so.
* I spent five years here earning two degrees.
* My husband introduced himself to me. Spanish 211.
* I met Jesus at this school.

Now we serve here….on staff with Campus Crusade for Christ.

My heart beats for The University of Tennessee.

As does His.

My family passed down a passion. A fervor for UT football. A crazy love for the color orange. An affection for this school. A passion for this city.

From one generation to the next to the next, I have inherited a deeply rooted pride in this Tennessee Tradition.

And the Lord wants to use it for His glory.

One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts. Psalm 145:4

I believe God has his hand on Knoxville. It is a healthy place to live and to raise a family. I am thankful to be providentially placed here. To proclaim his works and make known to the children of man his mighty deeds and the glorious splendor of His kingdom. Psalm 145:12

I am thankful today. Thankful to the God of this city. Words do not suffice.

Can I ask you take a moment to pray for Knoxville? To pray for the 35,000+ students, faculty and staff at the University of Tennessee? Will you pray that the lost would come to know Christ? Will you pray that the Lord would rally an even greater passion for Him? A passion even greater than UT Football?

Wow. That’s some big passion.

Love you all today….
…and GO VOLS!

Neyland Stadium

Julia and Benito (Our Spanish class names)

2010-11 UT football team
Walking to the Stadium, they stopped to pray at the Torch Bearer. Awesome.

Power T

The Pride of the Southland

The skills behind the camera. Tracie Ancelet. Love this girl.

6 thoughts on “A Tennessee Tradition

  1. 1. made me cry….love to listen to your heart!2. steve and I have wanted to go to a UT football game for 8 yrs. now and you just made us want to do that even more. we're determined to be able to go THIS semester! (Lord willing). LOVE these pics! 🙂

  2. You just made this Georgia girl want to trade in her red and black….for a moment anyways. 🙂 I am continued to be blessed by your blogging. Please keep it coming! I don't comment all the time-I don't even know how to join as a follower yet- but I read every time. I love SEC football so much and every fall I yearn for Saturdays…but I love Jesus so much more and He satisfies every craving. 🙂 Good stuff!

  3. My heart just touched yours again today! I can relate so much in your love for UT. I grew up too going to games and then watching my sister in the band. I was determined to follow suite. Being in the Pride of the Southland was indescrible- the energy, enthusiasm, as close to 'worshipping' our Lord as I could get before knowing Him. I just love you and the pics are awesome. – Cynthia 🙂

  4. I love that memory of your mom singing the national anthem. every time it comes on the radio my husband makes us stop what we're doing and put our hands on our hearts. What a special place with wonderful memories for you!

I means so much to hear from you!

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