College football is rich with many awe inspiring and unique acts or symbols that signify a school's history and tradition. Be it dotting the `i' at Ohio State, running Ralphie at Colorado, or the flaming spear at Florida State, each school has their own traditions, and today we take a look at those of the Tennessee Volunteers.
The athletics teams of the University of Tennessee use the nickname "Volunteers." Its actual origin has been lost to time since, being predominantly illiterate, the peoples of eastern Tennessee rely on a crude form of folk storytelling to preserve their history. The most popular tales concerning it's origins revolve around a mysterious, long haired young man visiting the hills around Knoxville sometime in the late `60s wielding a magical "God Sound Wheelie" that produced sounds of music and singing when rotated under a needle. The stranger was heard calling it "Vah-Lun-Teers" before he was murdered in his sleep by a fearful citizenry that suspected him of being a revenuer, and their fear of and respect for the "God Sound Wheelie" caused them to not only enshrine it in a secret place of worship deep in the hills, but to take it's name in an attempt to wield some of it's power on the playing field.
Behold, the God Talk Wheelie!
The Volunteers can be seen each Saturday sporting an orange and white color scheme on their jerseys. They claim that the color was chosen in honor of the daisies that the campus is apparently lousy with. Since anyone not suffering from the blindness that can occur from the consumption of moonshine can tell you that the hideous color of orange the Vols sport is nowhere close to a color found on a daisy, the old "Why does UT wear that ugly color of orange?" joke is really probably closer to the truth than the Vols would care to admit.
So they can wear it to the game Saturday...
...hunting on Sunday...
...and to work the rest of the week.
The Volunteer Navy:
The Volunteer Navy is truly one of the great sights to behold in all of college football. It's a tradition that began in 1973, after missionaries revealed to the peoples of eastern Tennessee that the "river dragons carrying doomed souls to their destruction" they lived in fear of were actually boats, and their main purpose was transportation. Once the mountain folk realized that they, too, could construct water vessels and travel down river with them, the Volunteer Navy was born. Unfortunately, tragedy ensues each game day when warring clans take the opportunity to burn their enemy's "boats" to the waterline, or the more backwards of the fans become convinced that their "old smell hound" is water worthy and proceed to drown themselves, their families, and the beloved family pet in an ill conceived and vain attempt to get to the stadium.
One of the more luxurious members of the Vol Navy
Smokey, the blue tick hound, is a smelly dog that wrangled a winning bark and some well placed bites in the ass into a position as both mascot and Athletic Director at the University of Tennessee.
Responsible for both hiring Fulmer AND "huntin' up dinner."
The Pride of the Southland Band:
Probably the stupidest tradition they have, since calling the Tennessee marching band the "The Pride of the Southland" is a terrible bit of hyperbole. They only know one song (and they don't even play it right), compared to the dozens played each and every weekend by the rest of the marching bands in the SEC.
I don't see a banjo in that picture...