In fact, the 2009 TMMPF Football Tour kicked off two weeks ago with a sunny Saturday afternoon at Notre Dame Stadium and continued last weekend with a rainy Saturday night in Knoxville, Tennessee. Why Knoxville, you ask? The fighting Bobcats of Ohio University vs. the wobbly University of Tennessee Volunteers, of course. **
The view from our seats at Neyland Stadium.I’m sure MPF will write a more detailed recap of the game, but as a proud alumna of Ohio’s first university I feel it necessary to give you some of my thoughts regarding our weekend in east Tennessee.
About the football:
After spending four years in Athens, I can promise you that I honestly did not believe we had a chance to even be competitive against the Vols. Part of being a Bobcat is being pessimistic about our football team – it’s something they teach at freshman orientation.
So imagine my surprise when we not only completed 1 pass but 30! Also, conspicuously missing from our playbook in Knoxville was the ever popular fumble play. In fact our quarterback (MAC East Offensive Player of the Week, Theo Scott) was so good the Volunteer fans wanted to trade for him. Seriously!
Proof that we were winning (for just a little while at least)...
In all seriousness, before traveling to Knoxville we were told that Vol fans are friendly and knowledgeable. We were not misinformed. I cannot say enough about the hospitality of all Tennessee fans I met this past weekend. It was a good time and a good game. And, as is our custom (see 2008), Ohio came oh so close to the colossal upset... I guess there is always next year.
About the band:
In the interest of full disclosure, I am not only an alumna of Ohio University but also of the Ohio University Marching 110.
Upon convincing MPF to make the 9-hour drive to Knoxville (10-hours if you count the time change) I sprang on him the real reason I wanted to go to this particular game: too see the Marching 110 on the road.***
Just in case the Vol fans didn't know where we are from...So we went to Neyland Stadium and, unsurprisingly, the 110 kicked ass. Even a real rock star said so. The fans at Neyland were really into it and I have it on good authority that they generally don’t stand up and cheer for just anyone.
About the town:
I think the coolest part about our trip to Knoxville was, well, Knoxville.
To quote Mr. Miller "it’s a middle man’s city in an almost town". Only, clever as the line is, I’m not sure I entirely believe him (sorry Scott).
For one thing, an "almost" town wouldn’t have a place as cool as this. I wish we had had time to check out Yee-Haw sometime other than on game day. It was too wet (did I mention the rain in Knoxville?) to buy anything worth buying on Saturday.
Secondly, Knoxville has history which makes it automatically interesting.
Did you know Knoxville hosted the World's Fair in 1982?
Did you even know there was a World's Fair in 1982?
Thirdly, Knoxville has lots of places where you can have a good time, which makes it automatically fun. We ate here on Friday night and it was delicious (I recommend the fish tacos).
In many ways, Knoxville reminded me of Athens, which is probably why I liked it so much. Between the brick sidewalks, the colonial style buildings, the University within walking distance of bars and restaurants, the hills and the rain (becuase, you know, it always rains in Athens) Knoxville sort of felt like it could be my home away from home...
Way to go Knoxville, you win again!
*Shout out to Milton Bradley, Alfonso Soriano and rest of the Cubs for making this year’s transition quick and easy.
**Per the Ohio athletic department, the Bobcats should always be referred to as “Ohio”. The full name “Ohio University” may be used when referring to the opposing school also by its full name. The athletic department respectfully asks that Ohio is NOT referred to OU, Ohio U, The Ohio University or Harvard on the Hocking at any time.
***Obviously it would be easier to just go to Athens for homecoming in October but I’m already busy that weekend because of this and this.