By Dylan Becker
When I went back home to Maryland over the summer, people constantly asked me how our football team was. Performance wise, my answer has changed over the years, thankfully becoming more positive. But through times of triumph and defeat, one thing that I always bring up is the constant electric energy of a football game at Neyland on any given Saturday.
I think I’d like to change my answer to whenever people ask me how Neyland is on Saturdays. The Florida game was a prime example of how, to paraphrase a certain chant, great it is to be a Tennessee Vol. For seniors, like myself, it was another cherry on top of a memorable last season of watching football. For freshmen, the best is yet to come.
I got to Ayers around 4:15 a.m. to maybe get a good spot for College Gameday. One of the best things about a mutual passion for sports is, despite how miserable and tired everyone was, we helped each other out. Friendships were built, pictures were taken, and by the time the show was over at noon, memories we’ll talk about forever were made. I was physically and mentally exhausted already, but that’s nothing a hearty lunch of gator meat and an energy drink couldn’t fix!
As for the game itself, everyone was hype and on their feet the entire time. I don’t think anyone left at halftime because this was a game people were legitimately excited to see and not some easy steamroller win like the past home games. We cheered when we scored, we booed when they scored, and things were at a positive level until about the last minute when Florida recovered that onside kick to potentially steal the win at the last minute. The stress from those last few moments probably took a few years off my life, but the absolute joy of the clock counting down to zero was one of the greatest Tennessee sports moments I’ve ever seen.
This upcoming bye week allows players to take a few days to relax after having the weight of the world on their shoulders and fans to regain their voices and hydrate after what I’m sure was a long night of celebrating. At the end of the night, I made sure to thank every Florida fan I saw for coming, as it takes a lot of courage to root for the opposing team at Neyland Stadium. The only thing left to do was my weekly tradition of putting on comfy pants, eating some chicken nuggets, and watching a fun and wholesome movie until I fell asleep because after a week like this one, everyone needs a good rest.
Photo by Dylan Becker
About the Author
Hailing from Kent Island, MD, just an hour from Baltimore and DC, Dylan played hockey his entire life and has been a Capitals fan since day one. After 16 years of on ice action, he decided to hang up his skates in 2019, leave Maryland for Tennessee, and switch his focus to radio, talking about hockey whenever the opportunity arose on WUTK. In the Fall of 2020, Rock Solid Sports reached out to Dylan for his hockey expertise, to which he accepted and has been providing the Knoxville area with in depth knowledge of the NHL and reporting on the Ice Bears since. Dylan is also a fan of the Baltimore Ravens, Baltimore Orioles, and Washington Nationals.