Archive for the ‘Ramblings’ Category

A Changing of the Guard…

As I mentioned the other day, any of you that have regularly read Gate 21 have probably notice the deafening sound of the silence here for the past month or so.  That silence was prelude to this post.  There is no better way to say it than to quote the words of the legendary John Ward:

It’s Time…

I started Gate 21 in 2007 not really knowing what I was getting myself into.  I really had no concept of what it was that I wanted to do with the site or, in fact, how I would do it.  I just decided one day that I could write a blog as well as the next guy and within 10 minutes, the original version of Gate 21 was live for all to see over at  Within 2 months, I had over 10,000 visitors and had taken the site to a privately hosted (i.e. I had to pay for it) server and debuted the cartoonish looking site that hung around until mid-2009 when I overhauled the site once again.  You are looking at that version now.

Since that less-than-auspicious beginning in 2007 I have spent literally thousands of hours writing, designing, re-vamping, updating, and otherwise working on producing and publishing Gate 21.  Along the way I have had had the help of many, many, people.  These would include writers HomeSweetHome and VolAmbassador, who have both made major contributions to the site over the past several years.  Then there were others across the blogosphere who have both assisted and collaborated with me on articles, memes, roundtables, Power Polls, BlogPolls, and running jokes.  These would include folks like Ghost of Neyland, MoonDog, LSUFreek, Will, Hooper, and of course—the best of the best—Joel at Rocky Top Talk.  These are but a few of the many with whom I have interacted and with which I have had the pleasure to become acquainted.

Then there are those of you out there across the blogosphere and the wider arc of the internet that have visited my humble site and read a bit of what I had to say.  There are even those of you who have taken the time to leave a comment here and there.  To each and every one of you I offer my sincerest gratitude for more than 2 years of interaction across the divide that is the internet.  I have not always been right about things, I have not always been seriousI have not always been couth, but I have always tried to be honest about my views and perspectives on the world around me and my love for the Tennessee Volunteers.  All I can say is that these last 2 1/2 years have truly been a pleasure.

All things, however, must come to an end…

Thus, while it pains me on many levels, this will likely be the last post on Gate 21, at least for the foreseeable future.  And, now it is time for the Gate to close.

The thousands of hours that I have spent on this site have been a labor of love, as blogging always is.  While I may have advertisements here on the Gate, the fact of the matter is that I have lost money on this endeavour from the outset.  The cost of hosting the site alone has been substantial.  Yet, this exploration of “Life, the Universe, and the Bounce of the Ball” (Thank you Douglas Adams) has been a welcome and wonderful creative outlet for me, and one which has been far more “therapeutic” than I ever imagined.  And to those of you who have visited and taken the time to comment all I will say is that you never know just how much a single sentence left in the comment box or via Twitter really means to folks like myself who are blogging their lives away.

There’s really nothing that makes a writer feel better than knowing what they wrote was interesting enough that someone felt compelled to respond…

Now, however, the demands of my “real” life are such that I simply cannot maintain the Gate in the way that I have in the past.  It is hard enough to run a site with substantial help and a bevy of free time.  It is next to impossible to do that alone while trying to maintain a job, a family, and some semblance of sanity.  As I have said before, the informational cycle on the blogosphere lasts approximately as long as the attention span of a hyperactive 4-year-old who just ate 5 bags of Skittles and washed them down with three cans of Red Bull, and I simply cannot keep up with that.  My lack of timely comment over the past football season stands as a testament to that reality and one which I simply can no longer ignore.

I know, Frank, shocking isn't it?

These sorts of conclusions are not always fun, but they are necessary.  I think Lieutenant Frank Drebin probably said it best:

A Spoonful of Drano sound bite

Okay, enough of the depressing stuff, now for the good news…

For those of you who have enjoyed my writing—though I am certain there aren’t that many of you—take heart!  I am not abandoning my devotion to Tennessee athletics only to go gentle into that good night.  While I may not be able to justify continuing on here at the Gate, I fully intend to continue writing about the Vols.  Why?  Because, in the words of Clay Travis, I simply cannot imagine not doing it.

VolNation Thus, it is my distinct pleasure and honor to announce that, effective immediately, I will be joining on as a writer for the VolNation Blog.  Thus, any of you who wish continue to read my mindless prattling, I’ll still be around.  I cannot overstate how lucky I feel at having the chance to jump on board at VolNation, and I hope to see some of you over there in the near future.  While my time at Gate 21 is now at an end, I am extremely excited about what the future holds in store for me at VolNation.

In the meantime, the Gate will not be disappearing (though, after the next few days, I really won’t be monitoring comments any longer).  It will still be here and you will still be able to send me hate mail via the contact form here on the site, at the email address listed in the sidebar and on the Ushers page, or via Twitter.  For those of you who have subscribed to the RSS feed here at the Gate, you can now follow me via the feed at the VolNation Blog.  The Gate will now take its place among the so-called “dotsam and netsam” that floats across the web.  Everything will stay right where it is—most notably, my tribute to Sam and Andy’s.

As for me, I am on to a new home on the web and new challenges.

So, for the last time, I bid you farewell from Gate 21.  To each of you out there with whom I’ve come in contact as a result of my time publishing Gate 21 over the past 2 1/2 years, I say thank you for reading, best wishes, and Godspeed.  Now, more than ever, I suppose my signature “tagline seems appropriate.  Thus, I will end this final post as I have ended those that came before it.

Until we meet again … Go Vols!

– So it goes …Email lawvol No McAlisters

New UT Student Ticket System

The View From the Hill | Gate 21

With football season right around the corner, the University of Tennessee has made a second change in as many years to the system of selling and distributing tickets to its students. They just released the information on it today, and I just wanted to share some quick thoughts on the changes, because it’s fairly different from last year’s system.

The highlights and lowlights of the new system and a brief history of my own student tickets experiences after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry

ESPN and Poor Journalism

The View From the Hill | Gate 21

For those that might have missed it, ESPN’s Outside the Lines ran a feature story on Lane Kiffin this morning. In case you did miss it, take a moment and watch it.

Now, I think most of us can agree on the quality of that report in terms of a positive portrayal of Tennessee’s football coach and the confidence (outsiders will say arrogance, of course) he has in his plan. What he says about rivals’ fans and coaches at the very end might be my favorite part of the story – other than the parts with the lovely Layla.

In case you were not aware, am I currently a student at UT, entering my senior year. I am majoring in journalism/electronic media here in Knoxville, and as I get closer to having to go out and start working, I find myself watching all kinds of TV – the local news, SportsCenter, highlight shows, the Tonight Shows with Conan/Letterman – and noticing different specific journalistic and production aspects that most of you probably don’t, simply because I have a better understanding of it (I am studying and doing some of this stuff, after all).

Put another way, what lawvol is to law, I am to journalism – except much less of an expert, obviously.

Anyways, this is a really good piece from a journalistic point of view, and credit Wendi Nix for doing a good job. It covers the recent stories surrounding Coach Kiffin and the program very well, and gets added input from other sources – the Raiders, Ed Orgeron, Mike Hamilton, Layla, and USC head coach Pete Carroll. The piece is very visual, with clips from Kiffin’s various public appearances to shots at the spring game and spending time with his daughters at World’s Fair Park in downtown Knoxville.

However, the part in question (and where I find issue with ESPN) comes with just under two minutes left in the story. In Coach Kiffin’s office, you see him and assistant coach Eddie Gran speaking with a couple of recruits. It isn’t in the video linked above, but after the completion of the feature, Bob Ley, the host of the show and longtime ESPN personality, says that the clip is actually a secondary violation. Media members cannot witness the contact between a coach and a recruit.

Read the rest of this entry

Lawvol back from the dead … and vacation

Well, after taking the better part of two weeks off here at the Gate, and enjoying a little vacation in my “real” life, I am back once more.  If anyone noticed that I was gone, that is.

At any rate, now that I am back I am hoping to get a few features back up and running while we wait for football season to finally get here.  Apparently the mainstream media is feeling the same pressure to find something … anything … to write about at present.  Hence the News Sentinel’s in-depth focus on some old Tennessee football photographs (which are pretty cool, I must say) and observations on Lane Kiffin’s meteoric rise to prominence in the world of college football.

Slim pickings…

Since my other team, the Carolina Hurricanes, lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the NHL Eastern Conference Playoffs (ouch) I can’t even talk about hockey anymore.  I guess we’re just going to have to depend on HSH for any real substance until the season rolls around (no pressure or anything).

The good news is that, as the little tell-tale countdown in the right sidebar ticker confirms, we now officially have less than 100 days until kickoff.  Furthermore, things are heating up in the race to win the Fulmer Cup.  Still, football season has a ways to go before it arrives.

Needless, to say I am counting the days…

So, you might ask, is there a point to this post?  Well, in short, no.  Then again, I have never been one to sweat the small stuff such as accurately and succinctly conveying a message.

fail owned pwned pictures

Minor details, minor details...

Sometimes we all fail, no matter how hard we try.  I think this is one of those times, not that I tried all that hard.

Anyway, go check out the old Tennessee football photos I mentioned above.  Oh, and make sure you go to see the new Star Trek movie, it rocks!  Other than that, I’ve got nothing for you today.

Yeah, this off season thing is a killer…

– So it goes…About Lawvol

Image(s) Courtesy of: The Fail Blog

Friday Already?!?

Well, here it is, Friday, and I’ve got very little to show for the week…

I have been tied up the latter half of the week, and have been unable to get anything of consequence posted.  Even now, I am writing during a break in the action at a deposition.  Sad though it may be, I think Orson over at EDSBS may have gotten things right in his “football reads” assessment of the path most lawyers take in finding their career—especially the whole lack of math skills part.

This is all very simple once you've lived it...

Anyway, since I’ve pretty much been absent lately, at a minimum, I wanted to pass a long a great video I stumbled upon. This is a pre-game pep-talk from the chaplain at Georgia Tech.  Great line in there about “We gonna fight, till we cant fight no more, gonna lie down, bleed a while, gonna get up, fight some more!!!

Video: Gonna Fight Some More!!!

• HT to: Her Loyal Sons

Bring it!  I’m ready to bleed a while…

– So it goes…About Lawvol

Image(s) Courtesy of: EDSBS

Peace Out, 2008

The View From the Hill | Gate 21

A List of Reminiscing…

Well, it’s New Year’s Eve, the final day of 2008. Yes, I know, I’m asking “Already?!?” just you like may be doing. It seems like last month I was standing in Times Square in NYC for nine hours (without any food, drinks, or bathroom breaks) with five of my friends ringing in 2008. But here it is, the start of another year is less than 24 hours away.

My new logo

Now hopefully you have yet to bail on me because of that terribly mushy opening, and if you have I thank you. I’ll get to my little list of what I’ll most remember from the past year in sports in a minute, but first I need to say that I began this whole blogging thing back in June, when the looming monster of summer school was at my doorstep. When I started, I didn’t really know what I was doing, and I wasn’t sure how long I’d be blogging or any of that. I really enjoyed it at first, mostly the posts following the NBA Finals games and my amateur, yet rather extensive, coverage of the Rocky Top Summer League (yes, I skipped studying for tests and doing schoolwork to do those). However, at first I underestimated how much work blogging actually can be.

So when lawvol approached me (figuratively) about joining forces with him, it was a no-brainer. I have enjoyed writing here at the Gate and I just want to give some props to lawvol for having me on here and for helping me when I bug him about the simplest of issues. And of course thank you to yourselves, the readers (if you’re still actually reading this). Who knows if my blogging will actually help the journalism career I’m hoping for/working towards/trying to gain experience for, but I’ve certainly enjoyed it and I’m glad I decided to begin with it.

OK, enough of those little bits of business, now onto this little list. This will be a little different than the other two I’ve done, as in I’m writing this, I’m not limiting myself to what pops into my mind when I think back of the past year in sports. I was able to narrow my hatred for Alabama down to five and the hope of the Vols’ hoops season to 10, but this is a whole year we’re talking here. I’ll try to keep it as short as I can. Anyways, here goes…

Thanks Coach

1) Good-bye and thank you Coach Fulmer: Well duh. The only Tennessee football coach I’ve pretty much ever known fell victim to a failed replacement of David Cutcliffe and the second losing season in the last four years. It’s been the toughest year as a Tennessee fan I have been a part of by far, but it ended very sweet with the home win over Kentucky.


2) Hello, Lane Kiffin: Fulmer’s replacement has me excited, and I know I ain’t the only one. Some are skeptical, but the Blackjack General (kudos, lawvol) has the fire that I think this program needs. He and his staff have plenty of work to do to return to the level of competing with Florida and the growing empire in Tuscaloosa, but so far, so good…


3) Being #1 for less than two days is still better than never being #1…: This goes way back to February, and the 66-62 #2-over-#1 win by Tennessee at Memphis. I had to cover/get audio for this game for the radio station sports show I was involved in last spring, and it was just fun to watch and see in person. That, and being in the middle of the aftermath right outside the locker room and on the FedEx Forum floor trying to be “professional” is undoubtedly a highlight of this past year.

4) 2008 SEC basketball champs: Need anything else be said? And to do it in Gainesville after getting blitzed in the first half was icing. I also covered that last home game against Carolina, so watching the whole net-cutting and t-shirt deal was a highlight.

5) Fan apathy: Honestly, this was probably the biggest factor to Fulmer’s firing. I have made my thoughts on the student attendance and the whole paying for tickets well known through this site (try this). This video (I wouldn’t dare actually post it) was the lowest point for me as a Tennessee fan in my life. I must admit, I left well before it, but I didn’t want to be a apart of that. I commend you if you did…

Thanks Chris and JaJuan

6) Chris Lofton: Seeing this guy get to play in person for two years was a treat. Talk about a role model, he had cancer, didn’t tell anyone for completely unselfish purposes, and still had a pretty good season and was an integral part of the SEC Title run for the Vols. I have his #5 jersey on my wall of my room in my apartment, and it will be hanging in TBA’s rafters soon enough.

7) JaJuan Smith, too: Walk-on to nearly making the Mavericks. The best part of watching Juanny the past two years of college was that he made it look so fun. From his rainbow threes to pestering defense and occasionaly bonehead turnover, I’ll never forget this guy and what he was to the Tennessee program.

Championship #8: I have to give Pat Summit and the Lady Vols some love. I never go to any of their games, but I do know they exist. That senior class dominated and Candace Parker, well, she’s just awesome.

9) Eric Berry: The dude is just a BAMF. My four years of college may be four of the worst in Tennessee history, but at least I got to see this guy play. Seriously, he was reason enough to watch as the awful 2008 season went down the toilet. His pick-six against Mississippi State might have been the craziest moment of the student section this past year (yeah, indicating how bad the season truly was…). List of guys he almost killed in 2008: Tyler Donovan, Taylor Embree, Knowshon Moreno, Marquis Maze, and that’s off the top of my head. If a team had 22 Eric Berrys, they would never lose. Maybe, just maybe, he’ll like playing in Monte Kiffin‘s defense enough to stay for his senior year…


10) Monte Kiffin: Sweet! Most respected defensive coordinator in the NFL? Yes please.

11) The Streak: Tennessee has now won 37 straight home games in Thompson-Boling Arena. A couple of teams nearly broke it (Ole Miss, Kentucky, Belmont), but it’s still going strong. I still have never left that arena having seen Tennessee lose. It was empty four years ago, now this streak. Could Gonzaga end it a week from tonight?

12) Construction: If you visited Knoxville this past year, you know what I mean. The stadium. Glocker. The Baker Center. Neyland. The TBA facelift. Lindsay Nelson. Heck, even I-40 has been closed since May…

13) Losses I witnessed in person: Louisville (Sweet 16 game in Charlotte), Florida, Auburn (nearly fell asleep in the third quarter), Alabama, Wyoming…

14) My love for the NBA: It gets a bad rap for the most part, but you can’t tell me you’re a true fan of the game of basketball and not like the NBA. Before this past season, I never really followed it other than the playoffs and the handful of Grizzlies games I saw in my high school days. Now, I just plain love it. These guys are ridiculous. I could watch LeBron James play every night. The Lakers-Celtics finals capped off an amazing playoffs and it’s shaking up to be a great season this year too.

15) Wyoming: I saw them beat Tennessee 13-7 in Knoxville. They were 1-7 in the Mountain West and fired their coach. Ouch…

16) UCLA: Kevin Craft is worse than me for Heisman! really wasn’t as good as we made him look. The beginning of the end…

17) This play:

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18) These dunks:

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19) Redeem Team Wins Gold: The highlight of the Beijing Olympics for me. Yes, I watched every minute of every one of their games. They were not going to be denied and watching these guys play together and with a serious sense of urgency was well worth it. Thank you, LeBron, D-Wade, Kobe, CP3, Bosh, Howard, Boozer, D-Will, Melo, Redd, Tayshaun, Coach K and staff.


20) The tornado that almost killed me: I’m getting lazy, so just click here. If you’re too lazy to do that, you’re worse than me I was in the Georgia Dome for the SEC Tournament when that tornado owned downtown Atlanta.

21) Michael Phelps: Second best part of the Olympics. The relay the U.S. stole from the trash-talking French and the race he won from nowhere had me up and yelling at the TV.

22) Scotty Hopson, Bobby Maze, Emmanuel Negedu, Renaldo Woolridge: They’re only going to get better…

23) This NFL season: I don’t get too pumped about pro football other than for fantasy purposes, but this was a fun season to watch. It came down to the end and I can honestly justify about six teams going all the way. Miami went from 1-15 to the playoffs and nobody’s laughing at the Falcons now. And those drama queens in Dallas are watching it all…

24) Jerod Mayo: Any time a Vol gets drafted in the Top 10…and then dominates as a rookie, I’m pumped…

25) Shaun Ellis: This was just plain funny…

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26) Tyler Smith and J.P. Prince: Two transfers are huge parts of Tennessee hoops in 2008 and going forward. Thanks to Tyler for his clutch makes against Ole Miss and Memphis State. This year’s team is his team, and it took Prince hurting himself to make us see how important he is to this team.

27) The Olympics: Yeah, they were about all I watched for that two week stretch this summer.

28) VolQuest/Rivals: I can’t lie, I have spent countless hours procrastinating and wasting time on the message boards. If you have done it too, you know their addictive powers…

29) Jonathan Crompton: Well, there’s not much to say, but most of the Tennessee fanbase thinks he’s the worst QB to ever wear orange. Hell, he couldn’t even hand the ball off against Florida and Auburn. The Auburn game might have been the worst game ever played by a QB – my goodness was it ugly. When he entered the South Carolina after Nick Stephens threw an awful pick-six, ESPN showed his stats for the year – he had thrown for 666 yards. Yikes. Yet, that pass to Denarius Moore against Kentucky…reason for hope? I mean, he’s got an equal chance of starting next year as the other QBs Tennessee has. I’m just saying…

30) And finally, Mario Chalmers: Tiger High/John Calipari = EPIC FAIL…

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Images Courtesy of: Michael Patrick / KNSMichael Patrick /

A Thought in Passing

Just in case you were considering it…

Don’t Become a Lawyer!!!

Not really a post, just a small bit of advice (sigh).

But I do feel a bit better now…

– Go Figure …Email lawvol

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