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Surviving in rival territory

Tomorrow morning, like every Sunday, I will wake up and go to church. And probably, not unlike many Sundays, the choir, the song leader, the preacher, and many in the congregation will be wearing orange. 

Yes, I live in Knoxville. Rocky Top. Smack dab in the heart of Big Orange Country. I moved here to attend graduate school at UT for free almost ten years ago. God, indeed, has a sense of humor, but I figured if my brother could go to graduate school at Indiana, I could survive at UT.  

 

Folks around here don’t like Kentucky. Not our colors, not our teams, not our coaches, not our fans, not even our bourbon. (Well, I’m not 100% sure about that last one, but they are awfully proud of that guy Jack Daniels.) Nevertheless, I have survived and have even learned a few things while living here: how to dodge construction barrels on the interstate, how to sing Rocky Top (woooo!), and how to hate Lane Kiffin. But most importantly, I have learned just how much I love the University of Kentucky. I must confess that I attend many UT sporting events and cheer for the Vols and Lady Vols. It’s hard not to (when in Rome, I suppose...), but my mood is hardly affected by their wins and losses. On the other hand, I have realized that when Kentucky wins, life is as it should be and when Kentucky loses, it is best not to talk to me about it for a few hours or even a few days.

 

Though I probably know more details about the ups (Lady Vols) and downs (Vols) of Tennessee’s seasons this year than I do about Kentucky’s, there is no question who I will be cheering for tomorrow. One UK-UT matchup makes my stomach churn and my heart palpitate. Tomorrow there will be two games. Pending the outcomes, I just might not make it to Monday morning, but if I do you can guarantee that I will be wearing blue. All week long.  

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