Posts Tagged ‘1998’

2009 Big Orange Roundtable: Week 4

This Week’s Roundtable is hosted by:

Vol Junkies

This week’s Big Orange Roundtable is hosted by Vol Junkies, who has served up another installment of questions burning in the minds of the citizens of Orange Nation.

Thus, here are our thoughts for the week:

Week 4

1) What is your thought on Eric Berry’s Heisman chances?  Should he play on offense in-order to increase his chances?  Is Kiffin being to selfish saying Berry will not practice offense?

bullet HSH: I’m not exactly how real Berry’s chances of actually winning the Trophy—which I deemed meaningless after the Manning debacle.  Not only does he have the obstacle of being a defensive player, he has to basically beat Colt McCoy from Texas, Sam Bradford from Oklahoma and some guy named Tebow.  I don’t think Lane Kiffin should play Berry on offense just to help his Heisman chances.  If our offense is seriously sucking, then sure, desperate times call for desperate measures.

That said, I have absolutely no problem with the University doing the whole campaign thing.  Berry is obviously a special, once-in-a-while player with a great attitude.  Seeing him in person on and off the field the past two years has been something I’m glad to have been a part of—now if only he might consider staying for his senior year…

bullet Lawvol: I have very mixed (albeit not necessarily negative) feelings on this.

First of all, I personally believe that Eric Berry is more than deserving of a shot at the Heisman Trophy.  In two short years he has pretty much become the man-beast of SEC defenses and is, hands down, the best defensive player in the toughest conference in the country.  I personally believe that he is the best defensive player in any conference, anywhere.  That, however, is just my opinion and I will be the first to admit that I am biased.  Still, there is no arguing with the fact that Eric Berry has earned the right to be considered among the top players in the country this season and to be considered for the Heisman.  I am unequivocally behind the Tennessee’s campaign to promote Berry’s Heisman candidacy.

That said, I am less that optimistic about his chances…

I say that because, since only one truly defensive player has previously won the Heisman—which I am sure every Tennessee fan remembers all too well—the precedent is somewhat weak.  Furthermore, given the national media’s love affair with Tim Tebow, I expect that every possible machination that can occur to ensure Tebow winning the trophy for the second time will be brought to bear, if at all possible.

There is also the fact that exaggerated hype often leads to less-than-stellar performances since, with everyone talking about how great a particular player is, the target on their back gets even bigger when facing opponents.  That is not to say that I doubt Berry’s ability to produce in the same way he has in the past, but recognizes that opposing teams will be gunning for him … and staying away from him.

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2009 Big Orange Roundtable: Week 2

This Week’s Roundtable is hosted by: 3rd Saturday in Blogtober

This week marks the second edition of the 2009 version of the Big Orange Roundtable and is hosted by the guys over at 3SIB..

Week 2

1)  We will start with an easy one.  Last week, our beloved Rock was relocated across the street to make room for a new building on campus.  What are your thoughts on the Rock’s relocation?

bullet HSH: Being a student, I actually have the slight advantage of seeing the change.  I drove by as the crane was lifting the behemoth out of the ground, and I’ve only seen it once since it’s been moved.  I have to say it’s going be to a little odd driving through the stoplight next to Stokely Athletic Center and the Thornton Athletic Student Center (where all the UT athletes get their school on), looking to my left and not seeing the Rock.  It might take a little bit of time to get used the change come the fall.

For me, it’s just another aspect of a common theme of my years here as a student.  Here’s what’s changed or been built since I came to Knoxville in the fall of 2006: all the recent renovations to Neyland Stadium, the makeover of Thompson-Boling Arena, Pratt Pavilion, a new soccer stadium, a new softball stadium, the brand new aquatic center.

And that’s just the changes on the athletics side of campus.  There’s also been the total change in the old Glocker Building, which has now become Haslam Business Building where all the business majors do their thing.  The Baker Policy Center was risen up on the corner of Cumberland Avenue and 17th Street, replacing the parking lot where my family parked for every game I came to up until I graduated from high school.  Those are two major projects, that I’ve seen started and completed in my days as a student.

Back to the Rock, my only contact with actually came before I was officially enrolled.  I had two of the more enthusiastic Orientation leaders, and late one night during the two-day event we got together and painted the thing.  I would have visual evidence to prove it, but my computer erased my hard drive awhile, thus I have nothing…

The Rock in its new Home

The Rock in its new Home

bullet Lawvol: First of all, I am glad that the Rock did not unceremoniously disappear from campus as a result of the new Student Health Center that is being constructed.  The worst thing imaginable would have been for the university to simply blow the thing up or what have you and cart it off.  I realize the process of relocating the Rock was both onerous and expensive, but I have to give a little credit to university administration (a/k/a “The Big Orange Screw”) for making the right call and preserving this tradition for future generations.

All that said, the last time I painted the Rock was 1997.  I say “painted”—my involvement actually centered more on leaning up against the Rock in a near catatonic state as drool fell from my gaping mouth and I uttered various slurred obscenities at my cohorts.  You see, I was completely pissed drunk overcome by a multitude of circumstances at the time and my recollection of that particular evening of frivolity is fuzzy to say the least.  Still, the Rock does have a special place in my mind due to its tradition of announcing great events, lurid innuendo, and Gameday proclamations.  Considering it is directly across the street from where it used to be located, I doubt there will really be all that much difference.

Of course, I do wonder whether some students may be confused by the relocation—in particular, those suffering from the same … mental confusion … that afflicted me the last time I painted the Rock.  If so, the university may be faced with a long road of maintenance as the drunken masses repeatedly paint the front of the new Student Health Center.

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Remembering John Ward: Ten years since “Give Him Six!”

Tennessee Football Regardless of how things turn out for the Tennessee Volunteers this fall, the 2009 season represents so very many milestones—it really isn’t even worth the trouble to try and count them all.  There has been so much change lately and so very many new looks and faces that everything seems as if it is in flux.  Some feel this near c-change is long overdue, others decry it as a loss of tradition, others still reserve judgments and simply point to the inevitable movement of the hands of time.  Still, no matter how great the changes may be, the echoes of years gone by still ring in the air around Neyland Stadium.  Thankfully, this will never change.

Vol Network In addition to all of the “obvious” landmark events that have or will occur as part of the 2009 football season, there is one more that may go unnoticed by many.  Though it hardly seems possible, the 2009 season marks Bob Kesling’s tenth year as the “Voice of the Vols.” Since the kickoff of the 1999 football opener against the Wyoming Cowboys, Kesling along with color-commentator Tim Priest, and sideline reporter Mike Stowell (who succeeded Jeff Francis in 2007), have brought the sounds of Big Orange football into our homes via the “Statewide Stadium” that is the Vol Network.

As have I pointed out in previous posts, since I was a child, I have always been a dedicated fan of live sports radio broadcasts.  I learned at an early age that television broadcasters, no matter how good they may be, simply cannot match the style, flair, color, or excitement that a gifted radio sportscaster can bring to a game.  There are few on television that come close—Ron Franklin and Mike Gottfried being pretty much the best—but even they cannot quite stay in step with the great radio broadcasters of the game.  Of course, for every Franklin and Gottfried, there are a bevy of lackluster talking suits which do little more than get in the way of the game rather than actually improving your understanding of what is taking place.

Thus is the curse of television…

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Remembering the “Tee” from Tennessee

Headlines, Links & Lies | Gate 21

Tee Martin vs. Florida State

Tee Martin vs. Florida State

This Saturday, the University of Tennessee will kickoff its celebration of the Tenth Anniversary of the Vols’ 1998 National Championship. As part of that celebration, immediately prior to this week’s game against UAB, the Tennessee Volunteers will honor the first in a series of former Vol footballers who played a role in that championship — quarterback Tee Martin.

Martin was truly one of the unsung heroes of the 1998 squd, who deserves far more credit than he ever received. I found a really great piece by Marvin West which looks at all of the comparisons that were made between Martin and Peyton Manning, which concludes that Martin deserves all the praise he gets this weekend. West writes:

Peyton was the quintessential quarterback, a genuine thoroughbred, great arm, marvelous reads and checks, flawless form. If you look up quarterback in my dictionary, Manning’s mug shot is the illustration.

Tee was just a winner. He wasn’t a perfect passer. He was a fine leader but never glorified as a great strategist or field general. What he did was good enough. Effective.

His ring says national champion.

I sincerely hope that all the Vol-faithful will show up to Neyland Stadium a few minutes early, take a moment to remember the “lunch-bucket brigade” that was the 1998 Tennessee Volunteers, and send a big thank you to one of the great players who made the magic of that season possible.

– Go Figure …Email lawvol

Image Courtesy of:
Marvin West writes for the Knoxville Shopper-News and is the author of “Legends of the Tennessee Vols

Flashback: The Great Games — Florida 1998

Flashback | Gate 21

The Great Games |

19 September 1998

Florida Football vs. Tennessee Football

(2) Florida 17(6) Tennessee 20

Neyland Stadium

Due to exceptionally bad planning on my part, I graduated from the University of Tennessee in four years — making my trip across the stage to collect my diploma in May of 1998…


Cartoon Courtesy of the Detroit News

I say it was bad planning because, as fate would have it — after traveling across the country with the Pride of the Southland for four years, following the Vols to every game — when Tennessee’s 1998 “season of destiny” rolled around, I was living more than six hours away in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. I was a student at Tarhead State (UNC) engaged in my “Trade School” studies (I call law school that mainly to annoy all the Tarhead grads who infest the area where I now live) and quite far removed from my passion for Tennessee Volunteers Football.

Thus was my lot…

For what it is worth, I blame all of this on Joel at Rocky Top Talk since, as he and I both realized a few months back, he was my “teacher” in a crib-course on how to do well on law school entrance exams, and thus Joel is totally responsible for my entry into this sordid profession and my departure from East Tennessee exactly one year too early (This all makes perfect, well-reasoned, and orderly sense in my mind, in much the same way that Alabama coach Mike DuBose ultimately concluded that “Jesus wanted us to lose to Tennessee”).

Anyway, Tennessee opened the season versus the Syracuse Orangemen, and managed to hang on to victory by the absolute narrowest of margins — namely, Jeff Hall’s foot. The Gators, on the other hand, had beaten the living hell out of some school whose name eludes me, but I am sure it has “North“, “South“, “Central” “Left“, “Up“, or “Sideways” in its name.

After the 34 to 33 victory in the Syracuse game, I was somewhat less than hopeful about the Vols chances of winning against “Lord Spurrier and his Reptile Renegades.”

Nevertheless, given my incurable and uncontrollable addiction to traveling great distances, at considerable expense, to have your dreams crushed and your soul scarred, I climbed in my Volkswagen and headed back toward Knoxville for the showdown between the Florida Gators and the Vols. This was the first time I drove from Eastern North Carolina to Tennessee for a football game — it was a new experience. Now, however, I have made this journey so many times that I have all but memorized every single exit along Interstate 40 between the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area and Knoxville, and now I can (and on occasion do) drive it while sleeping.

As you might imagine, when I arrived in the Volunteer City, I didn’t have a ticket. After searching up and down Cumberland Avenue for an hour-or-two, I finally managed to find a single ticket, in return for all of the remaining money I had to eat on for the rest of my first semester of law school (making sure not to repeat my 1992 mistake of buying student tickets).

Left to Right: My Ticket to the 1998 game • My friend’s ticket to the same game • My infamous student ticket from the 1992 game when I wasn’t yet a student

Despite the fact that my ticket told me that my butt was supposed to be planted in Section ZZ15 in the North Endzone Upperdeck, I chose Row 18 of Section D — the heart of the student section — as my vantage point for the game, since all of my friends were on the “5-year plan” (or 6, or 7, or …) and that is where they were situated. Considering that there were somewhere between 250 and 5,000 people crammed into that row, and each of those around it, apparently I wasn’t the only one bending the rules — or the bleachers on which we all stood, until they finally gave way and broke off of the concrete risers in the 4th-quarter.

The contest opened with the Challenger,” the bald eagle soaring his way down from the North endzone across the Pride of the Southland during the National Anthem. How exactly that beautiful bird could find where he was supposed to go amidst the screaming of nearly 108,000 fans with flashbulbs turning the stands into a bank of strobe lights, is beyond me. What a way to start a hot and steamy fistfight.

And boy was it hot and steamy that night…

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Sam & Andy’s Forever

Those of you who lived, worked, or went to school in Knoxville at any time during the latter-half of the 20th Century (that’s the 1900′s for any of you who are chronologically challenged), will doubtless remember the greatest haunt on the strip of dilapidated buildings known to the Tennessee faithful simply as “Cumberland.”   While I know there will undoubtedly be some of you who swear by Old College Inn, The Last Lap, The Library, Spicy’s, The Varsity, or (for some ungodly reason) the Torch, and say that I am crazy, this is my ship and I decide where it goes (even if that is straight on to the rocks).  Yes, in my opinion, the greatest loss suffered by the Tennessee community in the last … well, pretty much since the Civil War, was the closure of the venerable eatery known as Sam & Andy’s.

Sam & Andy’s (circa 1998)

Due to the pressures of time, the almighty dollar, and the rise of crappy, half-assed, uppity chain restaurants, Sam & Andy’s was replaced by McAlister’s Deli (one of the aforementioned chains, this one owned by some dentist from Oxford, Mississippi) in 1998.

Sam & Andy’s was my kind of place.

Sam & Andy’s was as much a part of the university as Neyland Stadium and Ayres Hall.  It was a tradition for over sixty years on Cumberland.  It had been the job of Sam & Andy—both of whom retired or died many years before I first walked through the door—to oversee the nutritional well-being of generations of college students.   They served classic college food at reasonable prices in a surly and smug atmosphere.   Sam & Andy’s was actually three different restaurants housed under one roof: Sam & Andy’s Tennessean, Sam & Andy’s Roman Room, and Sam & Andy’s Deli. Each of three restaurants were connected (to hell with the fire code!) and served, more or less, the exact same thing for the same price.  Each of these restaurants, however, had completely different personalities and customers.  In fact many frequent patrons, such as me, rarely if ever ventured into any of the other areas; that is unless they needed to use the restroom or buy condoms from one of fourteen different machines on the wall in the single set of restrooms which served all three.   That building was a living tradition.

The Men’s Bathroom Wall

I always frequented the deli which was in the rear of the building.  It was a simple open room with a chest-high white wood and formica counter running the length of the back and right-hand wall.   Near the door, the counter dropped down to waist level, and a small collection of little baskets containing salt and other condiments sat next to a neat stack of napkins, all of which sat in front of an old cash register which appeared to have come over on the Ark with Noah.  The left-hand wall was completely obscured by a floor to ceiling beer cooler like the ones found in convenience stores.   The front wall was home to a much smaller Coca-Cola cooler, several racks of potato chips and snacks, and a TV suspended on the wall which was always on but rarely seemed to be watched.  In the middle of the room were nine or ten plain white Formica tables with simple yellow vinyl covered chairs.   The walls, or at least the parts that could be seen, were light brown wooden paneling, and were covered with old newspaper clippings, pictures, awards, and beer posters.

The Deli Entrance

Over the grill, in the back, hung the menu boards.  From these boards a student or anybody who was hungry could order anything from a Hoagie, a Vol or Pizza Burger, to a Sub, or anything else in between.   It would always be served up in the same manner- on wax paper in a small red plastic basket with a pickle on the side.   In all of the hundreds of visits I made to Sam & Andy’s, I don’t think I ever ordered anything other than a Kielbasa Sandwich on dark bread (and it was really dark) with provolone, spicy mustard, and mayonnaise; well, except for a brief “angry” period in my college years when I ordered a few Ribeyesteak sandwiches.  While my coronary arteries are probably still reeling from these meals, my heart sure loved them.

The place smelled of meat and cheese. It was always hot in there because they steamed the sandwiches, which meant the room was pretty much constantly in a fog.  God, how I loved those steamed sandwiches.  Over here in ACC country where I live now, if you ask the guy at the sandwich place to steam your sandwich he looks at you like you just introduced the topic of nipple-piercing while having a conversation with the Pope.

Sam & Andy’s was the kind of place that understood customer service and where they knew how to treat people right.  They tended to treat out-of-towners and uppity types like they had a contagious case of desiccated rectal cancer, the regulars—like myself—they simply ignored.  That said, once during my sophomore year I went there with my roommate, and realized I didn’t have any money to my name. My buddy ordered his sandwich, and I just sat.  Then the heavyset guy behind the counter (I never learned his name, but he wore glasses and had blondish-brown hair parted in the middle if anyone knows who he was) asked what I was having.

I’ve got no money, man.” says I.

Ahh, you’re in here all the time. Just write us an IOU.” came the response from behind the counter.

Thus, that night I ate purely upon the value of my name written on the back of some old business card.  Now in the 1950′s that might have been common in a small college community, but this was 1995.  I made sure to stop by the next day and settle my debt.

Best I could ever tell, George Captain owned the place during my years in Knoxville.  He was always behind the bar in the Tennessean part of the building. I think he was Sam or Andy’s nephew.   I also know that a few other establishments around campus (Vic & Bill’s Deli behind the law school and Gus’ Goodtimes Deli on Melrose), were owned by other cousins.  I guess their philosophy was keep the competition in the family.

George Captain

Anyway, in 1997, McAlister’s Deli bought the land and Sam & Andy’s closed.   I grabbed one of the last take-out menus before I left on the last day of business.

Sam & Andy’s Menu (circa. 1998)

Sam & Andy’s re-opened in the old Swensen’s building across the street a few years later, but it wasn’t the same.  The atmosphere was all wrong, and it was more like a “normal” restaurant.   They seemed to do a good business, but a year or two ago they lost their lease and Moe’s moved in.  I hear that they still have places in Fountain City and out in West Knoxville, but I haven’t been.

On the day that McAlister’s opened in 1998, I chanted a hex on the restaurant that I learned from some voo-doo panhandler down in New Orleans in return for $5.00 for a bottle of Ripple.  I think either I said it wrong or got ripped off, because McAlister’s hasn’t burned down, I haven’t seen un-dead zombies trashing the place, and there haven’t been any swarms of locusts around the joint.  Still, I hope it gets hit by a bus, burned to the ground, and Mr. McAlister—whoever the hell he is—gets a chronic case of piles.

So next time you’re on Cumberland, lift a glass to Sam & Andy’s … and empty your bladder on the front door at McAlister’s.

— Go Figure … lawvol

(c) 2007 “lawvol”

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