Because it's snowing here in Canada and because it's snowing down in Atlanta I'm going to tell you all about the great state of Tennessee. I promise I'm almost done reliving our trip down south. Almost.
Now I'm going to tell you something shocking. You should probably sit down for this.
The Canadian has never been to a college football game.
I know. How is this possible? I don't know either.
To remedy this situation we took a short little road trip up to Tennessee. In case you didn't know, Tennessee is my favorite state. I spent eight glorious years in Knoxville. It may have been nine years, actually, I lost count. The majority of those years were spent as an undergraduate-which means student football tickets. In the south, this is the main reason we all go to college (Canadian translation: University). This is also a consideration when choosing what school to attend. I didn't realize that when I was in high school, but luckily my mom pointed it out and made sure I went to a major football school. Thanks, Mom!
I was so excited when I realized my Tennessee Volunteers would be playing the North Carolina Tar Heels at the Music City Bowl in Nashville. Somehow, in all my years of living in Tennessee, I had never visited Nashville. This was the perfect opportunity to take my naive husband to a game to help him realize why we southerners are so serious about our football and to check out the country music capital.
We went down the the game early to get in a little tailgating. But when we got to the field we realized that all of the excitement was across the river from where the stadium sits.
So we walked across the bridge right into the bar scene on Broadway. The streets were closed down, a stage was set up and the Tennessee band was getting ready to march. Our timing was perfect.
After we watched the Pride of the Southland Band we headed to the nearest bar to get a drink and hear some country music. I don't care if you don't like country music, it doesn't matter. The sheer amount of talent in these bars was astounding.
As we headed back to the game we stopped these courageous guys to get their photo. Keep in mind, it was about 40 degrees outside. Brave souls, they are. For those of you who aren't in the loop, Jonathan Bray is Tennessee's quarterback. We love him.
When we finally made it into the stadium The Canadian was impressed. There were 67,000 fans wearing mostly orange. It was quite the sight. It's not exactly a home game of 100,000 fans, but it was close enough. Enough, at least, to impress a Canadian who has never seen such a crowd.
The game was exciting. We were up. We were down. The refs made bad calls. We did the wave. We sang Rocky Top a thousand times. We ate pretzels. We drank beers. It was everything a football game should be.
And then we won! If you look really closely the scoreboard clearly reads UT 20 - UNC 17 with no time. Look. The Vols were on the field celebrating and everything.
But our joy didn't last. UNC had too many players on the field during the last play. Do over. They kicked a field goal to tie the game. After double over time the Vols lost.
But, hey. It's not everyday you get to experience a win and a loss all in one game. For a guy that's never been to a game I'd say he got the overall experience of being a Tennessee fan.
So we joined the other 67,000 folks and headed back out to the bar scene.
We went from bar...
Every single one had fantastic music. We drank whiskey and acted like good ole country kids.
And do you know that these bands work only on tips? Apparently they do quite well too. It cost me $5 to request "She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy." It cost $10 to hear Rocky Top. It cost $20 not to hear Rocky Top (for the Carolina fans).
The atmosphere at the bars was great too. They each seemed to have a different theme. One had cowboy hats covering the ceiling. One had record covers as wallpaper. One was decorated with different instruments. But they all had a No Spitting sign. Truer words were never spoken.
One high point of the night was when a young guy sitting next to us fell asleep sitting strait up. The lead singer of the band called him out and asked for someone to take his picture. Ever ready with my camera, I obliged. As I was about to snap the photo someone balanced their beer bottle on his head. After a minute of the bottle still sitting on his head another guy came up to get in the photo. It was Zac Brown. He just happened to be there having a beer. The poor drunk kid eventually ended up with a scarf around his neck, lipstick on his cheek and was licked by Zac Brown. And he slept through the whole thing. By the time the bouncer kicked him out it was all over. He never even knew he was up close and personal with Zac Brown. If anyone knows this guy, please send him this photo. I'm sure he'd like to see it.
After our fill of country music we headed home. But not without stopping at a fireworks super store.
I'm not sure what The Canadian was more blown away by - the sheer amount of orange at the game or Big Daddy's Fireworks store.
Gotta love Tennessee. It's a special place.
Bye, Nashville! I'll miss you.