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VOLUNTEER VOLUMES: Vol.2, Ch.1. Callie

The story of Callie, aka: vol_uh_tile on X

Behind enemy lines in Alabama, young Callie bonded with her grandfather over their love for the Tennessee Volunteers. In the first installment of Vol. 2, she shares some of her favorite memories. Still a die-hard Tennessee fan, she sees exciting days on the horizon for the Big Orange.

"My Tennessee pride began at a young age when I learned to embrace the rivalries. My entire family, minus my grandpa, were lifelong Bama fans. All born and raised in southern Alabama, my mom, aunts, uncles, and grandparents moved to East TN in the mid 80's, so I am the only one born here. I spent weekends and summers at my grandparents house, my bedroom was down the hall from the “Bama Room” complete with hound's tooth curtains and framed Bear Bryant photos. Football was not taken lightly, and Saturdays were a war zone.

When every TV and person in the house was tuned into RollTide, my grandpa would ask if I wanted to ride up the mountain to the state line store for some ice cream. I have very special memories riding in his truck, listening to John Ward, The Voice of the Vols. I think it’s very important that you are first introduced to Tennessee Football on the radio. It’s a beautiful thing to see on TV and even more so at Neyland, but you learned to love the game and bleed orange from John Ward.

I couldn’t wait until Saturday mornings when I would sit on the couch in my pigtails and Shuler jersey surrounded by crimson and see my grandpa smile. He would take us to games, of course, it was only when Bama came to town. My first game was Oct 15, 1994 and even though we lost that year and I barely remember it, that was the beginning of my unwavering loyalty and the beginning of the golden years of football. The fans, colors, fireworks and just the sound and feel of a Saturday on Rocky Top is something felt no where else.

I’m very fortunate that I live less than an hour from Knoxville. All through high school and my 20s, that’s where you spent your Saturdays. I played basketball through school, and being so close, we attended several camps at UT. Had the pleasure of meeting Pat and experiencing the whole phenomenon that was her career. Every little girl in Tennessee that played ball wanted to be a Lady Vol.

I didn’t go to UT, but had several friends that did, so my weekends were spent on and around campus, immersed in the whole atmosphere. I began my fandom when things were good. Greatness was all I ever knew until it wasn’t. Once I was of age to make decisions to go games on my own, and I still chose to go every weekend I could, even through the dark days, that’s loyalty. Going to a football game in 2008 was brutal but you went because you are Tennessee. It’s in your blood.

I’ve always watched Tennessee Men’s Basketball, but Barnes era has me really exited about it again and happy about everything he’s accomplished. And we all know I chose the best year ever to embrace baseball again. Couldn’t have picked a better year and a better team. National Champions.

I was not able to attend the ‘22 Bama game therefore, October 11, 1997 (vs GA) was my favorite football game I saw in Neyland. Tennessee Football at its prime. I was young, but not too young to understand these years were special. Those years made me who I am today when it comes to Tennessee athletics. I will forever be grateful for the ability to have felt that feeling and recognize that the fall air on Rocky Top is starting to feel that way again. GO VOLS!"

Follow Callie on Twitter (X): (@vol_uh_tile)


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