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BLOGGER CONTEST: Kate Martin on Tennessee


In this round, the “Who Wants to be a Blogger” contestants were each given one of UK’s rivals to make fun of/dissect. Each got a different team and over Monday and Tuesday, you will read each of them. Each judge will pick one favorite to move onto the next round and your comments will be considered by all of them.

I hate it when seemingly innocuous things that I love in my life get ruined by being associated with things that I despise. For example, I used to want to name my future kid “Bryan” but now it would be impossible for me to say his name without thinking, “Stop having such an irrational opinion, dork!”. I used to love my birthday, but sharing it with Christian Laettner ends up ruining it since my hatred of him extends to the point of wishing his birthday didn’t exist. I used to love Dr. Pepper, but we all know how that turned out.

When it comes to Kentucky rivals, this ruination takes on an epic
quality. I have come to dislike Papa John’s, Gym Class Heroes (the lead singer looks eerily similar to a certain former gator), and tall white men (Duke ruined my dating life). But out of all our rivals, no team has created more destruction in my life than Tennessee. The following is an abbreviated list of the simple pleasures in my life that have been destroyed thanks to my irrational hatred of all things Knoxville:

1.The color orange:

Every kid on earth likes the color orange.
Who can resist orange Hi-C from McDonalds or Halloween or orange
popsicles (red are the best though-ah I hate Louisville too!)? But
since I became old enough to realize I was supposed to hate Tennessee
and their delusions of basketball grandeur (matched only by Memphis
fans) and 30-year-plus football win streak, I have developed a
completely insane hatred of the color. I see a pumpkin, I see Fat
Phil’s face. I see a beautiful orange sunset, I see Bruce Pearl’s
sly smile. I see Lindsay Lohan and I immediately want to punch her in
the stomach (though this may have less to do with her fake-orange tan
and more to do with discouraging her to procreate).

Thank heaven the founders of the Kentucky Athletic Department had some
semblance of style. I know they are used to their orange jumpsuits down
in Knoxville, but fashion-wise, unless you’re Halle Berry strutting
out of the ocean in a bikini toward James Bond, no one looks good in
. If the look you’re going for is “lop-sided pumpkin”(I’m
looking at you Mr. Pearl), play on playa. Otherwise this is a terrible
choice for clothing.

And really it’s a terrible choice for a school’s color. “Blue!
White!” has a certain roll-off-the-tongue quality that
“Orange!White!” can never match. And the worst part of orange is,
as we all know, it’s inability to rhyme with any other word.
Surprisingly, according to the Oxford Rhyming dictionary, it is a
partial rhyme for the word “lozenge”,which raises the question of
why their cheerleaders haven’t yet incorporated that into their
routines. I happen to think deep hacking cough and Bruce Pearl go
together quite nicely.

2. Volunteering:

The word alone chills me. Look, no one loves
community service more than me (except maybe Billy Clyde’s lawyer) but
using that word to describe myself kills me every time. Call me what
you will, a giver or a worker without pay or a charit-eer. But never a
volunteer. Please tell me someone else has raised their hand when
people asked for volunteers and immediately reconsidered for fear of
being labeled a Tennessee fan?

Furthermore, how can anyone possibly be intimidated by a Red Cross
? A devil or some sort of really scary animal I understand. I
even get why I’m supposed to fear being washed away in a tide. But I
will never understand why freely giving your time to help otherwise
needy people is supposed to intimidate me. Perhaps it is fitting for
the team, though, since a large percentage of volunteer hours are
court-ordered community service and they do love their rap sheets down
(P.S. I do know why they are called Volunteers, and I mean no
disrespect to our military guys and gals. Call them generals, or
soldiers, or whatever, but the Volunteers sounds really wussy.)

3. Rocky Top:

I think I can speak for every team that Tennessee
will ever play in any sport for the rest of time: Please stop playing
this song. Sure, lots of teams have annoying fight songs. The Florida
St. chant was cool the first million times, but now its kind of
irritating. Every high school in Indiana uses Notre Dame’s fight song
as theirs, and that gets pretty old. But Rocky Top takes the cake.While not their official school song, its comparable to “Proud to be
an American” and “Sweet Home Alabama” in terms of a “Please stop
telling me how excited you are about your heritage-thank your parents
and move on” songs.
By ruining the song for me, Tennessee has indirectly ruined barn
dances, lumber jack shows, and rocky road ice cream. Ironically, the
duo who wrote “Rocky Top” also wrote “Love Hurts”, which is the
theme song for the Pearl wedding this weekend and the inevitably lively
honeymoon thereafter. Come to think of it, I used to love the song
“Love Hurts”. Tennessee strikes again!
In Tennessee’s official license for Rocky Top it states, “The
University of Tennessee has been granted a perpetual license to play the
song as much and as often as success on the field or court dictates.”
That’s funny because I really thought it had been played during their
basketball seasons, which tend to garner less than successful results.
Guess I was mistaken.

By the way, you’re welcome. That god-forsaken song is stuck in my
head now too.

Thank you, University of Tennessee, for ruining so many simple
pleasures in my life
. Take my sweatbands, my Mexican-Jewish national
team t-shirt, and my third-grade Spelling Bee runner-up trophy (it
really should be spelled like the pick-up line “Ten-i-see”) and be
on your way. But please, for the love of home-grown tomatoes, let us
beat them in football this year.

Article written by Matt Jones