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. Or, in this case, a Thursday.
There were no thoughts of doubt or concern at any point for fans during the 59-10 blowout against Ball State. Even with the score being so high, Rocky Top was sung just as loud for the final touchdown as it was for the first one. Home openers always have that sense of excitement for the rest of the season, however this season in particular feels different. After the hiring of Coach Josh Heupel, fans were worried, as a change in coaching staff is always scary. With the 2021 season’s 7-6 record being a major improvement from 2020’s abysmal 3-7 record, a positive record was a breath of fresh air everyone needed. This year, expectations are high for the Vols, and the hype for another year under Heupel is even higher.
I wasn’t alive for the 1998 National Championship run. When I watch highlights of that year on YouTube, everyone in the stands always had a smile on their face and expressed zero concern or doubt, the same exact look I saw during the game against Ball State. It might be a while before the Vols are at the same level they were twenty-four years ago, and there will always be games where fans take things a little more seriously. However, fans are the most optimistic they have ever been in my four years. It may be the performance of the players on the field that actually wins the game, but hope is what drives a team to do great.
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.