Saturday, September 17, 2011

Life is Orange and White

Orange has never been one of my favorite colors, but I am changing my tune.  I do believe that I have now been to the orange-iest place in the world, Knoxville, Tennessee on a football weekend.  College-age son invited us for Family Weekend, not quite at the last minute, but close.  However, we managed to get a hotel room and two football tickets, the two things we had to have in order to make the journey across the mountains.
We left Durham very early and arrived in Knoxville in time to find a parking place downtown.  Son was busy with fraternity stuff so we made the most of our time wandering through the farmers' market held in the space appropriately named Market Square.  Orange was definitely the color of the day.
From flowers
to food
(note the tomatoes named Rocky Top)
to fashion
even on little-Vols-in-training
and on dads-of-Vols.
We figure that since we are now paying tuition we can respectably wear all the orange we want.
What a great morning!  Everyone was having fun.
On our walk to campus, we decided to stop for a cup of coffee at the Hilton because there is a cool little outdoor patio. 
I bought this orange Longchamp bag in Paris a few years back and wondered why on earth I chose the color.  Now I know why.  So that I could carry it to UT football games.
Here are some random orange sightings from our post-coffee stroll.
Knoxville's World's Fair Park
Serious tailgating parties.  We passed by several parking lots just like this one.
A tailgating necessity-- an orange port-a-potty

 This is not the only pair of checkerboard pants we saw, either.
They match the end zones of the stadium, by the way.

We finally met up with Son.  A sight for sore eyes.
His orange necktie has little hound dogs on it.  The UT mascot is Smoky.
The guy sitting behind me during the game was way more concerned with the dog than whether Tennessee won or lost.  I could keep up with its whereabouts just by listening to him.  I never heard him say a word about the quarterback or the score.
The Parents' Association put on a picnic.
And another picnic was going on across the street.
Son headed back to find his friends and their seats in the student section and we headed into the stadium.
With 95,000 of our new best friends, the majority of them wearing orange.  For the record, there were a few Cincinnati fans.  (I googled distances to Knoxville and found out that we had to travel further than the folks from Cincinnati.)
Oh yes, I was decked out in orange, too.  Cool sunglasses courtesy of the Parents' Association.
We arrived early in order to experience it all.
Some people arrive by boat on the Tennessee River.  I believe they call that the Vol Navy.
Coach Dooley wears orange pants.  (Son wants a pair now.)
The marching band wears orange, of course.
They make cool formations while playing music-- usually Rocky Top.
Good ole Rocky Top- woooo- Rocky Top Tennessee  (I now know how to really sing the song...)
The huge screen on the scoreboard is great for instant replays (in case you were too busy looking at everyone around you or eavesdropping on their conversations to see the play the first time) or for checking out the coach up close.
Snacks are available, of course.
Fans are showing their support for Pat Summitt, the UT women's basketball coach, after her announcement that she has been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's disease.  Coach Summitt has won more games than any other college basketball coach.
Fans carry orange purses, too.
And have orange sunglass straps.
And wear their family weekend t-shirts.

After the game (Tennessee won), Son decided he wanted to take us to Gus's Good Times Deli, near his dorm, for dinner.  He says it is Peyton Manning's favorite hang-out.  Who am I to argue with legendary Vol quarterback Peyton?

We had burgers and fries.
I am glad they weren't orange.  But they were really good.
We had a great weekend.  Son is happy and working hard. 
We came back to our empty nest relieved and a little sunburned.
I looked up the origins of the Tennessee nickname of Volunteers.  It seems that it all started with Tennesseans volunteering to fight under General Andrew Jackson during the War of 1812 against the British.

Bon appétit, to our Vol and to Vols everywhere.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have never been a great fan of orange either, but your pictures have changed my mind! What a fun week end you had...makes me want to go :-)Dani