By Dr. Paula Bloom
I just got back from a weekend trip to Knoxville to watch a University of Tennessee football game. We enjoyed going up the Tennessee river on our friends’ boat to Neyland Stadium. There was a chill in the air coupled with bright blue skies and big puffy clouds. It was relaxing and lovely to be on the water. There were very few other boats and the shorelines were lined with old, densely wooded forests. There was green and blue all around us. That is, until we docked and began to walk to the stadium. The calm blue river turned into a sea of orange.
If you’ve never been to a University of Tennessee football game it is probably worth going at least once. The amount of orange clothing coupled with the intensity of the fans makes for an interesting afternoon.
At this game I decided to let go of my “I’m only here because you went to grad school here and I’m being the supportive, yet reluctant, wife” attitude. This time I sat back and watched the fans. I felt like some kind of anthropologist getting an inside look at a foreign culture. Letting go of my judgment (well, there was the guy with the white and orange checkered pants and suspenders that made it hard to totally let the judgment go) and replacing it with curiosity made the experience much better. There were a few things I had never really noticed before and jotted down in my notebook. Here is some of the fan behavior I found most interesting:
- The belief that yelling at the coach from the stands (when there might be over 100,000 people) will somehow affect how he chooses to run the ball on the next play
- Celebrating your team’s success while booing the opposing team’s success
- Stomping your feet on the floor in hopes of distracting the other team’s kicker
- The wave
- Clapping when an injured player from the opposing team gets up and is able to walk off the field. (That one I really liked.)
Most human beings have the need to feel like they belong. As we walked back to the boat, I realized that while I sat in those stands I felt a sense of community and connection to all the people in that stadium. There was an energy. A oneness. Next time I might even be willing to wear orange.
Shoe Note: I wore the perfect shoes for the day.
- It was cold and I avoid wearing socks whenever possible. These shoes were faux fur lined and very cozy.
- We were on a boat. These shoes are rubber on the outside, therefore not slippery.
- We did a lot of walking up and down the steps of the stadium. These shoes are unbelievably comfortable.
- We went out to a nice dinner. These shoes have the look of nice clogs.
Check out the Crocs Cobbler EVA clogs (I wore the black/walnut color). One of the most versatile shoes I’ve bought in a long time.